Birthmom expenses – a cafemom post

So I was on Cafemom and found this question about birthmom expenses:

How much do you feel is appropriate for birthmom expenses and what for? Do you believe everything should be paid to the company/place that needs the money from her or do you believe she should be given the cash? Also what do you think about the money if she backs out? What should happen? Should it be tax deductible or should she re-pay it or should it just be a loss?

As I read the responses I was shocked. Some people had said “whatever is needed” others had limitations but not one person mentioned legal issues. So, since it is late and more and more came to me as I wrote I ended up with this response:

I think this is a very valuable discussion to be having here but I think the one thing that has not come up yet is the fact that your laws need to be covered. The state of Idaho says no more than $500 can be given for expenses outside of medical. This amount can go up to $2000 of there is a need shown but it MUST be approved by a judge. I have heard that other states do not have caps but have certain things that are legally allowed to be paid for. So I would recommend checking on that to make sure that if a baby does come into your home you don’t end up unable to finalize because laws weren’t followed. That is a reason I would recommend that all money change hands through the professional. In Idaho we’ve been told that all money that is changed should go through our attorney in order to ensure that we are covered and there is no risk of us being accused of “buying a baby”.  So you may want to check the laws in your state and talk with your adoption professional whether that be an atttorney or agnecy to make sure everything is covered.

Personally, I have had one experience with someone who asked for $10,000 plus expenses. She was having her 7th baby and said they couldn’t afford to keep it. She was due in 3 months and she offered that we could pay them monthly, but a lump sum would work better for them. We were shocked and I asked what these expenses were for and she said rent, utilities and other living expenses. I felt that was really high so when I asked about that she said, well, my husband is working and we have 4 kids at home and so we have a big house and I”m a stay at home mom so we need the money. When I told her we weren’t comfortable with that because we felt we were “buying a baby” she stopped talking with us. That was an extreme case, I feel.

As for what we are comortable with, I think Idaho has it right. While we understand that there are many people who need help they are going to an agency who can provide them with assistance. The agencies, I feel, should be helping expectant mothers with finding the assitance that they need. I feel that there are many times when this doesn’t happen and instead they say “we will have the adoptve parents pay for that” I feel this is a dis-service because if they helped with getting them set up with the assistance that they needed while they were pregnant then they would be in a good place and set up with some assitance to help them move forward no matter what their decision after the pregnancy is over.  Then the adoptive parents don’t end up with expenses that they’ve paid for and just lose the money if they go home empty handed, too. I personally feel that the agency fee should cover those expenses, especially since they can help the expectant mother get assistance through the state. I mean technically if a person is on state assistance then as a taxpayer I am supporting her financially.

We decided to use an attorney because I couldn’t figure out what I was really paying the agency for. They were wanting $10,000 once the baby was born plus living expenses, plus medical, plus counseling costs. So what was they fee for? Well, it was for the marketing costs and their staff, but when it comes down to it they are advising their clients to market themselves by using facebook, websites, etc in order to get the word out that they are looking to adopt. To us we felt like why would we pay for what they are telling us to do?

I think the hard part about expenses is that there is no doubt that there are women out there who need that but the view of those hoping to adopt is that they are desperate and will spend anything in order to have the family. Well, to some extent that is true, we will spend as much as we can, but this isn’t the same as if we were pregnant. I don’t get to use my medical insurance that I pay for each month and if the expectant mother doesn’t have any then I am expected to pay in full for that. I feel that at some point, maybe after the birthparents sign or the adotpion is final (i’m just brainstorming here) my insurance should pay those maternity expenses as if I had been pregnant. Sure I can put the infant on my insurance after it is born, but why not the maternity? 

We are constantly being told that there are so many children out there who need homes. Well, there are so many people out there who would love to give them homes but financially cannot afford the adoption process.

So now that I’ve given a long drawn out answer I’ll sum it up with personally I think there are a few things that are reasonable to pay for like medical but what it comes down to is choosing adoption is not a way out of money troubles and in todays society there is a lot of assitance out there that can be utilized whether the person chooses to parent or not.

I would never give cash or a visa card directly to a person, I’d go through my adoption professional to ensure everything is covered legally and the less money that changes hands the less negative either side will feel later. This is an emotional process for everyone involved and I believe that you are right Takes_a_village, adoptive families need to be protected too so a repayment would be good. Personally, i think putting back on the taxpayers isn’t right, we all need to take our own responsibility and an expenctant parent has every (and I stress EVERY) right to choose to keep the baby in her arms but if a bunch of money has been given then some sort of repayment is reasonable. Considering, many of those adopting are using their life savings and may not be able to try again. I also think that agencies shouldn’t be able to keep the money if an adoption isn’t finalized but that is a whole other topic!

Please remember everything said in this post is my opinion and I don’t mean to upset anyone with what I have said.

What is came down to is I learned a lot about what is in my head and how I am feeling about the idea of paying for expenses and how I feel like we (adoptive parents) are viewed as those who are desperate and will do/pay anything. Well, Ethan and I have morals and ethically (and financially) could not pay whatever is requested of us and I feel VERY good about Idaho’s laws.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the laws and the whole adoption process. I just might have to start changing things!

Advertisements

Seeing Red

Ugh, another month of cramps, and bloating and back aches. Today it begins, yuck!

But I feel so grateful that it shows up out of the blue these days. There was a time not too long ago when my months were filled with marking everything on the calendar, day 1 and then checking temps and using ovulation predictor tests. Well, that’s a huge money saver, it is so crazy how much those things cost, but mainly it is incredible the amount of stress that has been lifted off.

At times I felt like I was going crazy. The wishing and hoping that my period will be late. Thinking I feel PMS coming on but hoping it’s something else, my period can’t be coming again. We would work around the 2 days that the predictor says I’ll be ovulating and then each month when my period would show up once again, tears would flow. It was awful. From hope to depression with one trip to the restroom. And how to pick up and try again the next month?

My period became a rest. 5 days of knowing that I am definitely not pregnant but knowing that it’s about the start all over again. Watching the calendar, using the tests, and wishing and hoping.  I felt in such a fragile state all of the time and that is no more. With adoption I have said goodbye to those days. My intimate relationship with Ethan is back on track – its all about fun, not work. I am now more in control and filled with a different kind of wishing and hoping.

 

Unlikely Support

We have been flooded with support since we decided to adopt, which wasn’t the case with infertility treatments. We tried our hardest to keep ourselves strong, stay positive and move forward but negative always seemed to return.

We have had friends and family saying “what amazing parents” we will be and liking our Facebook page. We’ve had good response and everyone is saying how wonderful it is that we are now adopting. Yes, it is wonderful and we are so happy to be headed down our yellow brick road.

Today a friend from high school was another amazing source of support. She offered to be a surrogate. She was so kind about it and I was amazed and so touched that she would offer. She truly understands, she wants to give that gift that she is so blessed to have, a family.

So while I told her Thanks, but adoption is our journey right now, I am so thankful to have wonderful friends in my life who will support and offer such wonderful gifts.

This truly is a season to be Thankful.

Reminders on the Wall

On a forum a fellow hoping to adopt member posted that she has been trying to adopt their 2nd child for a few years and she gave herself until the end of 2011 and then she would be done. But she is struggling with this because she her heart is aching so much. It makes me so sad that she is dealing with this decision but when I thought about it we all reach that point. We did it just earlier this year with deciding where to go next. We had some major discussions about where to go when IVF failed and we stopped infertility treatments and decided adoption is the journey for us.

I responded to her that with a sign I have on my bathroom wall ~ in the small matters trust the mind, in the big matters the heart.

I realized that I have a lot of reminders on my walls that I look at everyday and that help me through. In the hall between the kitchen and living room we have ~ God Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change ~ On the way down the stairs ~ Adventure is worthwhile in itself~ and I have been writing things on my wall in the office like ~ keep moving forward and hope.

I didn’t realize how much those reminders on my wall are a motivators when I need them.

 

Our first loss

January 2007, our New Year’s resolution was to start a family. Month after month we tried. Soooo much fun at first and then our birthdays arrived in June, and then the 4th of July, and then Fall crept up on us and before we knew it we were celebrating Christmas without a pregnancy. We had read books and followed the “rules” and found ourselves right in the same spot a year later. Then, out of the blue in February of 2008 I took a test and it came up POSITIVE! That happiness is the most incredible thing I have ever experienced. With that little plus sign my life had all of a sudden changed completely. I was going to be a mother, my dream was coming true. We were so thrilled that we told close friends and family. Sadly on February 14th I miscarried, happy Valentine’s Day to us. We were devastated. I was angry and hurt and felt like my life was all messed up. Ethan was amazing. He supported me as we dealt with our grief. We struggled the most with what other people said though.  We got a lot of “just try again” and all the talk about all the other people getting pregnant. While it was frustrating and hurtful at times to hear comments the most challenging for me was those close to us. I just wanted to scream at them to “shut the hell up.” There were so many times when things were said and I had to keep reminding myself it isn’t about me, it’s their ignorance. I felt so very disrespected at times though.  I would have been due October 27th, 2008, a date that is ingrained in my mind forever, and on that day I was in the store. It just so happened that I walked past the baby section and found myself picking up a newborn outfit. I took it home and wrote a note to my baby I never met. A way of coping with the day. The rest of 2008 came and went and we weren’t ready to start trying again. That was very hard for our families and friends to understand. At one point I was told to “just get over it, you’ll get pregnant again.” Those words will echo in the back of my mind forever as it was not only extremely hurtful there was no sensitivity and understanding. We couldn’t just get over this loss. It was this amazing being that we loved more than anything. A little peanut made from a very special love and just as fast as “she” had come into our lives she had left. This really challenged my relationships and made me look at my life in a way that I hadn’t before. I had to figure out where to go from here. While I truly enjoyed the babies around me I yearned to become a mom (still do) and so in May of 2009, shaking, we were in the only infertility clinic here in Boise…

….we were ready to try again.

Chip-In

We have decided to do something this Holiday season and ask that our family and friends NOT give us gifts but instead give us the gift of chipping in toward the large costs of adoption. We are blessed with stuff and are not in need of anything so we thought this would be an excellent way to get some extra savings toward unanticipated costs that may arise.

Chip-in toward our adoption – helping us have our dreams come true.

This is part of being younger while dealing with infertility and adoption. We are in the early stages of life and while we both have great jobs with excellent benefits that we just can’t cash in on because unfortunately insurance doesn’t cover adoption and only small bits of IVF and other infertility treatments that we tried. Just one challenge of being a baby of infertility

Maybe Next Year – Happy Halloween!

We wandered the neighborhood this evening walking the dog while the children ran excitedly from house to house with their precious little knock and then a cheerful “Trick or Treat” followed by the sound of the candy hitting the bucket. The weather was perfect, everyone was in a great mood and it turned out to be a perfect evening.

As I look back over these past years I find myself once again thinking – maybe next year.

Maybe next year we will be picking out a costume for our little one

Maybe next year we will be pushing a stroller door to door

Maybe next year we will be celebrating Halloween as parents.

We are coming up on 5 years since we started this road to parenthood and throughout the year I find myself thinking maybe next year.

Happy Halloween Everyone!