Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My dilemma

It's that time again for us to update our adoption paperwork. By law our homestudy has to be updated yearly, which includes 2 different sets of fingerprints, physicals, drug tests, tb tests, etc. and then the caseworker has to come to the house to check it out again. It costs us about $600/yr for the updates, and this is the 2nd year we've had to do updates (we also did all the paperwork to initially become approved to adopt baby #2). So that's 6 times each of us has been fingerprinted, 3 drug tests, 3 physicals, etc. I won't pretend it's not getting old. Yesterday Jake and I sat in the 3rd circle of hell (aka the health dept waiting room) for 2 hours waiting to do our drug screens. It seems a silly thing to complain about, but both of us were really impacted by the verbal filth spewed by some of the others waiting. I really wanted to say something to the teenage girl repeatedly using the F-word with a little girl sitting behind her but was fairly certain I would have been physically accosted had I done so. I was so saddened by the situations I witnessed. I overheard one pregnant teen, there with a very young looking boyfriend, say "I hope its a boy." Her boyfriend replied "I do too, I have enough girls." One teen and her friend came in and were seated next to some of their other friends, one of which was pregnant, who happened to be there at the same time. From their conversations I overheard several of these unmarried teens already had babies at home. So sad. Anyway, back to the adoption stuff. I started researching other adoption agencies to see what other options we may have. Nowadays healthy infant domestic adoption is almost completely reliant on a birthmother choosing you to parent her child, which is a system that seems to work well. But there are no waiting lists, no guarantees. It could take a day, a year, 10 years, or never happen. The upside to us using another adoption agency in addition to LDS Family Services would be to make ourselves visable to more potential birthmothers. More exposure = greater chance of being chosen. At some agencies it is common to wait less than a year, and some even have babies that will be born soon ready to be matched.  Some adoption agencies place many more babies than others, for reasons including that they spend a lot more on advertising and employ a lot of adoption caseworkers. This translates to higher fees for us, the potential adoptive parents. Anyway, as I was searching around I could not find any other adoption agencies that we can afford at this time. There is one inexpensive agency in Georgia that I know of, but it will not accept us because we are LDS. One agency based in Georgia that I called quoted me $38,000. The going rate for adoption of a healthy caucasion, hispanic, or asian baby seems to be $25,000-$35,000, with a couple exceptions of only around $20,000. I'm sure the cheaper agencies have more potential adopting parents, meaning we'd be less likely to be placed with a baby. For $30,000 we could adopt internationally, but there is at least a 2-3 year waiting list for every country I've found. The wait to adopt from China right now is 5 years. We have enough saved for an adoption through our current agency, but we don't want to use our entire emergency fund for adoption, because, you know, we may need that money for an emergency. And Jake's car has over 100k miles so its a ticking timebomb. So, we're trying to decide what to do. Our options: borrow from Jake's retirement fund, take out a loan, save even more monthly by cutting back more, or me working more. There's not a whole lot left to cut back out of our budget. We already don't have cable, use Ooma for our home phone, and have prepaid cell phones. I coupon a lot. We don't have car loans or student loans. As a federal worker Jake won't get a cost of living raise for at least 2 years. I don't have a shopping habit, and Jake is really good about selling his old electronics to pay for his new gadgets. We just don't feel right about taking out a loan to pay for adoption. I can't really explain why, it just doesn't feel right. So that leaves me working more. Not loving that option either, as that impacts our home life, but it's probably the best option. I've been researching travel COTA positions in Florida, where my parents live. I would work full time at a facility there for 13 weeks. Gavin and I would stay with my parents, and they would watch him while I work. Jake could visit a couple weekends a month. A problem is that open positions in their area fill up fast, so there is no guarantee I could get one. And I'd have to pay at least $200 just to get my FL license to practice therapy before I can apply. And I'd have to pull Gavin out of school. And we'd be away from Jake and our regular routine. I could probably find some p.r.n. openings in my area, but most are about a 40 minute drive away. Which doesn't sound like much but by the time I drive Gavin to the babysitters, drive to work, work for 8 hours and take an hour lunch, then drive back to pick up Gavin I would be away from him for over 10 hours (He's usually only awake 12 hours a day!). That's ok once in a while or when he's home with Jake while I work, but I just don't want to be away from him on a regular basis if he has to be at a babysitters. I feel for moms that have to work full time. So I'm not sure what to do. You can't put a price on a baby, and I'm sure whatever amount we end up paying for our next adoption will be worth it, but I'm not sure what do next. I love being home with Gavin every day. He's playing outside in the backyard while I type this, and it is so joyful to watch him. I do believe his current life, which today includes school, lunch as a family, family time, playing with legos, and playing outside is the best life I can give him. It makes me sad to think about sacrificing any part of that for a better chance at another child. A child who isn't guaranteed to arrive, a child I don't yet know but long for, a child I know will bring such joy to our family. That's my dilemma. At the same time I feel guilty for even wanting another kid. We are truly blessed to have Gavin, and I thank God daily for him. A lot of women never even get to be the mother of one child, let alone the two or three I would really like to have. And I know my experience of waiting for a 2nd child is trivial compared to the physical trials many go through to conceive and bear children. But it's a trial never the less. Every time the phone rings and it's an unknown phone number from an Atlanta area code (where our adoption agency is located) my mind automatically wonders if this is the call. An old aquaintance called last night and my mind automatically wondered if this person was calling to tell me they knew of a baby to be adopted. I loathe telling everyone I know to be on the lookout for a baby for us. Several times this past week as we are updating our homestudy I have found myself apologizing to Jake for being unable to bear children. Which is dumb because if I had been able to conceive we wouldn't have Gavin, and I'd rather have him than any other child, including my biological child. I am thankful for the opportunity to adopt again, and count it as a blessing. I am tired of the mental gymnastics I perform, increasingly so lately, to try to figure this situation out. I do have faith that we will adopt another child, and know God will do His part, but am scared I am not doing enough, or not taking the correct actions at the right time. Who knows, maybe we'll get a call tomorrow...

Before I forget

I am constantly amazed at how aware Gavin is of things going on around him, and how he remembers small details from months ago. Last night I made Gavin and myself a smoothie (by the way I added a few handfuls of fresh spinach leaves and I couldn't taste the difference). Out of nowhere, Gavin says "Uncle Tom likes smoothies too," from our Florida trip in October. He's always saying stuff like that, and I need to start writing it down. He's also has a really good sense of direction (very unlike me). Often times in the car he can tell where we're going by what roads we're on. He'll ask "Lowes?," "Brayden's house?," "church?," and "mee maw pop pop?" if we go on the highway.

Go Fish

A couple weeks ago we spent a Saturday afternoon at Go Fish in Perry, GA
It was very cool and well worth the visit. It's a fishing and wildlife educational center and a fish hatchery. It's the type of place you know the government has no business using tax payer money for (and they spared no expense) but enjoy anyway. Lots of aquariums, alligators, hunting simulators, fishing simulators, boats, educational displays, and an outdoor fishing pond.     

 The saltwater fishing simulator pulled Gavin off his seat:

 Gavin sat still for about 20 minutes of fishing outside. It's a nice setup, with free use of poles and free hotdogs cut up for bait. Gavin did get aggravated a couple times because he wanted to cast the line, even though he had no clue how to do so. They didn't catch anything.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Yesterday at church Gavin progressed from nursery to the Sunbeam class in Primary. This will mean more time being taught the gospel, singing, and doing activities and no free play time. I had been talking to him about this change for the last few days, and he was not too happy about it. He wanted to stay in nursery - "No, toys! Wanna pay toys!"
However, when the time came to change classes Gavin did fine. His new teacher brought him a sunbeam t-shirt, and they walked down the hall together as a class to the primary room.

 However reticent he may have been, Gavin did a great job in Sunbeams today. He sat still during the entire time in the primary room. He may have gotten a little wiggly in his classroom. I asked Gavin what he learned from his teacher today. He said "Stop, Gavin. No crawling." At least he learned something.