Friday, January 14, 2005

Adoption information is overwhelming

Last night, I went to an informational meeting about international adoption. Wow. It was so overwhelming. I came home and my head was spinning. It is still spinning today. Of course, that could also be because I have not yet eaten lunch.

Seriously, I learned a lot. First of all, I learned that I would not even pass the home study right now with my one-bedroom apartment. I figured I could start the adoption process and then in the 12 to 18 months it takes things to get rolling, I would find a bigger place.

Nope. I would need the bigger place BEFORE I adopt. The social workers need to be able to see exactly what room the child would live in. So in the next year, I will have to move to a two-bedroom place, breaking my lease in the process. I like my apartment complex but two-bedroom units here start at $950, which is just crazy.

As some of you know, I have dreadful debt problems that will take me another two years to climb out of. This could affect me passing the home study. So the question becomes, do I start making plans now or WAIT the two years. The social worker I spoke to was unclear,

Here is what I knew but was still startled to learn: It could cost about $27,000 to adopt internationally. Yup. Are you gasping? I still am. Considering my aforementioned debt problems, it is not like I have that lying around. Although it is not like I would need all that money upfront. It is paid out over the process. But still, yikes. I DID learn that I would qualify for an Income Tax Adoption Credit of $10,000 after I get the child. But still, I would need the money up front.

Note to self: Hold bake sale to raise money for baby.

I HAD been interested in adopting from China, but it turns out that China has a quota for single moms and the agency I visited has met its quota for the year. But I WAS very interested in adopting from Guatelama, even though the "in-country fee" is $18,000. Doesn't that sound like some big bribe to someone in the country? Anyway, the babies there are mostly Mayan and live in decent foster homes for about six months or so. That means I could get a baby about a year old. The wait time is less if I wanted a boy. Who knew? Of course, I had wanted a girl, but I would make a good mommy to a little boy as well.

The agency also helps parents adopt from Ukraine, Russia and Kazhakstan (none have quotas on single moms). But let's be serious. What would I prefer: A two week trip to the wilds of Kazhakstan or a two-day trip to Guatemala?

Because international adoption costs SO MUCH, I will also keep exploring domestic adoption through the NJ child welfare system. Most of the kids I saw on their website, God help them, are older and have been badly abused. They need a different kind of mom than I would be as a single working mom. But MAYBE there is ONE toddler who has not been through quite so much trauma. As you all can figure, I do not care about my child's race.

Okay, a lot to take in. Head swimming. Need to win lottery. And move. Oh and make tenure! Can't forget about that. Aiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!

Good thing Ellen is on.

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