Ask me now and I couldn’t tell you the final original investment. I can estimate the cost to about fifteen thousand dollars and change. But there was more to it then that, much more. It took more hours upon hours of preparation. Miles of traveling. There were lawyers and judges and courtroom and private meetings - on both side. There were tears and laughter and sorrow. Miles of paper works and fee’s and applications. I (we) had to be approved, we had to be chosen, told we were worthy. It all started with an unexpected phone call that lead us on the path to adoption.
We were told that a decision had been made and yes- my wife and I would become parents. This is something I (we) never thought would happen. After so many year and doctor visits, we all but wrote it off as a pipe dream and, for the most part, made peace with the idea of never being parents. Looking back I think we told ourselves that as a coping mechanism, something to comfort us and make the pain slightly less… painful
A late night phone call
We get the call. The couple (there’s a load more baggage there)has decided that they were to young or to broke or drugged up to take care of another child. We (my wife) was close with the would be grandmother. She was the one who called us with the news. Great news - yes But with problems.
Due to adoption laws in my state the adoption had to be completed prior to the birth of the child. If the adoption process was not completed the child would have to go to “temp home” until the process is completed. That was not acceptable in our eyes. We now had a mission. We had three months to cram in six to nine months worth of paperwork, approvals and red tape.
The next morning I called the adoption agency. We were given a social worker who, by the grace of God, agreed to fast track the process, something that was not done to often we were told. The ball was officially rolling.
I’ll them anyway. The first months were spent mostly in meeting, doctor visits, filling out a massive amount of paper work. Preparing the house. Paying and paying and paying and paying fees.
The closer we came to the finalization date the faster it all seemed to go. The urgency quickened because we had to complete it all and be approved and meet all criteria before the child was born. If was going to be close. The end was in sight but we were running out of time.
And then whatever happened, delays or red tape or it was simply to much to do in to little of time. For whatever reason(s) we simply were not going to make it in time.
We could not accept defeat yet. We had to find a solution. We went to our social worker (amazing social worker)and talk over our options. Given the unusually tight time frame of our case a judge granted up temporary custody. This meant we would be able to take our son home strait from the hospitable instead of weeks later at a foster home.
When one problem is solved….
Of the fifty states in the U.S.A five of them make adoption a pain in the butt. More red tape and regulation. Now out soon to be son, the one who was not even born at this point, had to have his own lawyer(per diem) Someone to look out for his best interest. And wouldn’t you know it, not a single available one to be hired in the time frame.
And….. Once again fortune shined upon us, kind of. Our lawyer was able to find someone who was willing to work us in her schedule. She even gave us a discount rate because she never handled and adoption case before and wanted the experience. Apparently a discount in her eyes as one thousand dollars. And the kicker was she had to be paid right away. As in right a fricking way!to hold her services. Normally I might have fought this but we were running out of options. So we paid. And secured our unborn sons lawyer.
So here we are. We paid the lawyers on both sides, filled out mounted of paperwork, gave blood, criminal background checks, miles and miles of driving, meeting after meeting, close call after close call. Red tape and frustration. Happiness and sorrow. We are so close….
So naturally the next boot in line had to drop. We were waiting for a judge to show up for court. It was the day that the birth mother was to give up her parental rights. (a major step forward for us) now that in itself was important but just as concerning was the fact that this date and hour was the only time everyone could be there: The judge, our lawyer, our son’s lawyer and us and the birth mother. If this was missed it would have thrown our case week maybe months away
Everyone was present except for the birth mother. She claimed trouble getting off of work. She wanted to schedule (not possable) But as lucky was usually by our side… she worked for would be grand mother who by all means gave her the time to come into court and give up her rights in front of the judge.
(A quick side note: a few of these events might be out of order but they are all true, I guess I should have taken notes)
Fast forward to the birth and the awkward two days that followed. My wife and I spent a good deal of time with the birth mother and father who allowed us to call all the shots regarding the baby. (heres where I will skip some details, just some things I do not want to talk about.
Two days later the day came. We were to go to the hospital and claim our son. The birth parents had already left not wanting to be there for the exchange.
I remember the exact moment moment. The exact moment we became parents. It was surreal and terrifying and a beautiful day. We became a family.
The rest of the process went through with ease. A few weeks passed followed by a few home inspections. The final final court day was approaching. So obviously we had one bump to jump over.
Don’t worry, this one was nothing. During the final court day, while in court, the paper work had a slight typo. The judge fixed it. He asked us the standard questions making sure we were ready to take 100% full custody. We assured him we were ready. (as did my mother who wanted to be there with us)
Now I held it back, but when the judge hit the gavel…hearing our sons name matched with my last name (until now he had to hold the birth parents last name) was an emotional moment catharsis nine moths in the making.
Five years later
It is five years later now and this investment is still paying of the greatest ROI ever. I’m not talking financially. This investment has payed of in more ways then I could imagine. It has made us a family, payed in dividends of love and hugs and smiles and laughter. It has given back more then I could have hoped for. I some times forget that.
Sure financially it was a mega loss. I remember our lawyer telling us an interesting fact. He said that going by todays rate (five years ago) it take an average of a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child from birth to the age of eighteen.
After I picked my jaw up off the floor I thought that was well worth the cost.
I’m sure I have left out a good deal of details and drama, that is due to me not remembering everything. No doubt around three AM I will spring up and recall a funny story or yet another close call. As it is this story was mainly an summery. That entire process in detail could fill an entire book.
And there are detail which I simply do not want to share. This is based on my own issues of…. Well I can’t find the right word… inadequacies maybe?
And perhaps I will share all of that in time. After all I have talk/written about more topics on Steem then I have dared on other sites.
I better close this up. This by far has been my longest post to date. No doubt this greatest investment will still pay off in way I could never imagine in the years to come. When they do I will write and share more stories.
I'm going to have a life time of them after all.