Sunday, April 21, 2013

'Cause We're Crazy Like That

Well, we are a'rockin' and a'rollin' our way to becoming homeowners.  I think this is really going to happen! 

Right now, we are just waiting on the termite inspection report to be reworded, sent back to our bank, and then the loan needs to be signed by the USDA, which could take up to a week right now.  We are hoping to close by the first week of May, but we're good to wait until the end of October (when our lease is up), if that's what it takes!

During a meal at our favorite wings' place/family decision-making home base, we started talking about our adoption timeline.  We had originally talked about starting the process in August or September, but we were starting to doubt that, since we aren't getting any money back when we close.  The house doesn't need to have major repairs done, but it does need to have some work done with the roof over the front porch and with some of the electrical work.  So our August plan turned into, "Well, let's see where we are with things.  We can always push it back if we need to." 

Which seems logical, but kind of made me sick to my stomach. 

And I just couldn't shake it.  Usually, if we decide something like that, I feel a peace about it. 

Not this time.

So, before bed that night, I blurted out, "We are officially back on the poverty diet!  WE ARE GONNA START THE ADOPTION PROCESS IN AUGUST!" 

And my dear, sweet husband said, "Okay.  Sounds good."  

Now, I don't like talking about money any more than the next person.  But based on 2007 data from the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, roughly 30% of Americans have considered adoption.  You know how many actually do?  Only 2%!  And you know the Number One Reason that stands in the way? 


So, to break it down a bit and demystify some of this, I want to show you where all this money goes (for an international adoption):

For our process, we'll end up using two adoption agencies.  One will be a local agency that will do our initial paperwork and our home study, which basically asks for every scrap of information from Adam and I, to determine our fitness as parents, and to match us with the kid or kids that we are the best fit for.  After the mortgage application process, Adam and I feel like we're gonna be PROS when it comes to this!

So, with Agency 1, we have the application fee ($300) and the home study fee ($1500 + mileage).  There could also be post-placement home visits, depending on what our country requires.  Those are $225 + mileage.  Lemme tell you that I am SO GRATEFUL that we live where we do, because some states (and some agencies) have rates that are up to three times what I'm quoting here!

So then we move on to Agency 2, which works directly with the agency in our country to help facilitate the adoption.  We start with a $3,000 non-refundable US Processing Fee, which helps to pay administrative costs at both the US agency and the in-country agency.  It also covers any translation services with our dossier (giant packet of paperwork).  There is a fee ($100-$700) with collecting all the required documents for our dossier, which includes our marriage license, birth certificates, things like that.  We have to complete an application with US immigration to make it legal to bring our child home, which can range from $805-$1250. 

Then there's an adoption program fee, which can range from $9,890 to $20,500, depending on which country you adopt from.  I know most people are thinking, "Holy crap!  Why so much?"  This money goes to support a variety of expenses, including the care of our child, donations to the orphanage, translation services, visa services, and a lot more!  Right now, we're eyeing Ethiopia and Uganda, which both have program fees of around $10,000.  This fee gets paid in full when we accept the referral and are matched with a child, which can take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years.

We also have to attend adoption education classes, either in person or online, which can range between $150 and $500, depending on how many classes we choose to take beyond the required minimum. 

So, at the very least, we are looking at around $16,000. 

Oh wait!  We actually have to TRAVEL to go get our kid(s)!  Fortunately, when travel is arranged by an agency, the costs ($3,000-$15,000) tend to be much lower than if Adam and I booked our flights ourselves.  There is such a huge range in possible prices for travel, because different countries have different travel requirements.

If you wanna have your first panic attack, price a round-trip flight to Uganda.  I dare ya.   

So, grand total, we're looking at a ballpark of between $19,000 and $31,000, which kind of makes it hard to breathe.  We have set our goal at $20,000 because it seemed like a nice, round number.

But, since we're crazy like that, we set the goal to have the money we need by the end of the year, which basically means that we need to save $500/week for the rest of the year.  The great thing is that we can start the process in August, and we don't need all of the money up front on Day 1.

We started the week with about $4,100 in our adoption account, which is a sacred account that doesn't get touched, regardless of what's happening.  As of right now, we are at $5,100!  

Not too shabby for our first week! 

 If you are interested in becoming a part of our adoption story, we have a variety of ways that you can contribute, support, and encourage! 

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