Thursday, March 28, 2013

The money aspect

The sometimes silent stress that lurks behind most adoptions.

I'm feeling the pressure more than normal today and am so overwhelmed.  It's just 9 weeks until that first $8,000 is due and even with all our saving I'm not sure exactly how we're going to make it...not to mention the next $6,500 that is due 6 months later (and we won't even talk about the additional 15K that's broken up in increments at time of referral or two trips to Ethiopia) .  Luckily we have a couple of years to save up the second $15,000 that we will need. 

I knew getting into this how much it was going to cost, but it's just not like you can divide the $30,000 into monthly payments over a 3 year period.  I didn't realize how much money was going to be needed so early in the process, and I didn't know there would be a deadline on the initial costs either.  I thought that the longer it took us to get those first funds together, then the longer before our dossier would get submitted (and longer our overall process would take).  I didn't read about the timeline restrictions for payments that start upon your acceptance into the program until after we were already accepted.  We requested (and were granted) a small extension on that deadline, but were told there couldn't be any more leniency on that date.  So...we were given a little over 3 months to come up with the first 8K, and then a maximum of 6 more months before the next $6,500 is due.

Sometimes I just have to remember WHY we're doing all the cutting back, scrimping and saving.

And amidst it all I'm struggling with guilt.  Guilt that I spent $3 for a frozen yogurt with friends last night.  Guilt that my kids are tiring of how many times we're stretching meals on leftovers.  Guilt that we aren't paying down all the debt we amassed over the first decade of our marriage helping to cover time that Mark was in school or residency.  Guilt that Mark and I are taking our long awaited vacation this summer with our tax return, when that money could be so helpful right now.  (If we hadn't already booked our flights I would seriously consider canceling it and using our tax return towards the adoption instead of this trip.)  Guilt that, even though they hold no ill will, we told our next door neighbors last year that we'd go in on a fence between our yards this year and can't now.  Guilt, guilt, guilt.

I even feel guilt that I am overwhelmed by the financial side of the adoption.  I know we are very blessed to live comfortably, enjoy our health and many other blessings.  I don't want to sound all doomsday with the frustration I'm experiencing, it's just that often times if I can write or talk about feelings I have then I'm able to work more quickly through those emotions.  So, that being are some of the up-sides to the money crunch that we've taken upon ourselves with this adoption:
  • With implementing eggs and toast for dinner once a week (it's cheap), we've gotten more protein into Lincoln (our non meat eater).
  • Our pantry is looking more and more organized all the time (because it's getting more and more empty as we utilize what we have instead of buying more).
  • We've been lightening up my coupon drawer as we're using more coupons these days.
  • My wallet is more organized since we've been using up gift cards that I've been hoarding.
  • We've been more organized with dinner schedules in order to utilize things we have, minimize what we're buying, and maximize the number of times that we can use leftovers to cover a meal.
  • We're eating healthier now that we've completely eliminated eating out (unless using a gift card) and drive through meals.  Mark even gave up his daily fountain drink at the gas station.
  • We have used most of our freezer items and our fridge is very organized.
  • I'm getting better at telling myself (and my kids) no to buying something I don't need.
  • We have become more creative with our (free) entertainment lately.
  • Our memberships that we already had (zoo, planetarium) are getting utilized because they are something "free" that we can do with the kids.
  • We've been doing better with re-using or going without.
  • We have forced ourselves to be better at finding creative ways to help people (time, emotional support, service, etc.) other than just donating money.  Even though we would like to do the latter's just not in the cards right now.
  • We have been better about being aware of and shopping sales (something which we got out of the habit of doing over the last couple of years when shopping for food).
  • And the most important up-side is that we chose this money crunch in order to be able to bring our little girl into our family.  This isn't a long term situation, this isn't because my husband lost his job or worse...we're doing this for a wonderful reason.  And that's what I have to remind myself the very most.  
Guilt doesn't get me anywhere, and neither does worry.  I don't want my venting about money to come across to anyone as a pity-party...or as if it's me hoping for money to be given to us.  It's just a stress right now, and sometimes the best stress relief for me is to talk (or write) about it.  Even though nobody else can read this blog yet, and even though this post will likely get buried beneath many more updates over the course of the adoption and therefor may never get read - it still helps for some reason to put it out there.  I have been pretty big about documenting the "story" of how each of our other 3 kids came to our family, and the financial burden is a very real part of the story for this child.  So, to not document some part of it would be to eliminate part of that story.  Someday, this part of the journey will mean very little...but because it means something now I want to record it.

So, bah humbug.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

No coincedences in adoption

With it still being so early in our adoption process, we have chosen to be very private about our journey right now (this blog is still private at this point).  Especially with how long the process is now (about 3 years total), it feels too early to share our news with family and friends.  Maybe when the paper chase is done and we are officially waiting.  However, being the social creature that I am - I sometimes yearn to share what is in my heart.  It can be difficult for me to keep something inside of me that is consuming such a large part of my emotions.  So, that being said, I want to write about something that has been on my heart for the last month.

I don't believe that there are coincidences when it comes to adoption.

While I am a religious woman, and I do believe that God's hand does orchestrate much more than we ever see, I still think there are some things that just happen by chance.  It can be difficult to know which is which sometimes, and sometimes hindsight is the only clear way to see the intricacies that got us from point A to point B.  Like I said though, I don't believe there are coincidences when it comes to adoption.  I'm sure that already being an adoptive parent has influenced the way I feel about this deeply personal conviction, but I stand firm in it.  And here is why I bring that up...

While Mark has always been a huge supporter of pursuing this adoption, it was me that felt the almost urgent push to officially begin the paper chase late last year.  It probably sounds corny to someone that hasn't experienced this feeling (either through adoption, or when having that feeling that it's time to bring a child into their family biologically), but I just felt like our child was getting ready to come and was helping to orchestrate the right timing.  I felt that push that things needed to start very soon, even though it would be a long time before we held her in our arms.

We had serious conversations about what age of child we were open to, and would be the best fit for our family and always came back to feeling that our daughter would be young.  When we decided on the age parameters of one year or younger we felt at peace with our decision, and we moved forward with paperwork with that decision behind us.  We had a couple of minor hiccups before we were able to be officially accepted by our agency, but gratefully we were!...and then only 2 weeks after that our agency announced that for new applications that they were going to begin only accepting applications for adoptions (in the Ethiopia program) for children 3 years and older.  This new agency guideline began only 1 week after being announced.

While we have known that we would adopt a little girl internationally for over a dozen years now, we didn't always know that it would be from Africa...let alone Ethiopia...let alone through AGCI (our agency).  We feel that we have been guided at the right time to the right place to find the child that was meant for our family.  I can't help but feel that the urgency I felt to get going on things was to make sure that we found our way to our baby, and that she wouldn't need to languish living in an orphanage years longer than necessary just for us to find our way to her.

Sometimes timing really is everything.

And I dare say that I doubt this will be the last non-coincedence of our adoption...