Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tuesday's Tears - The "System" is Just Wrong

Yesterday was Little Miss's termination trial.  Things went as well as can be.  Mom & Dad were happy to see her (and made their way to the courthouse - I really was proud of them).  She was a doll - so cute and happy.  I had so much pride in her yesterday watching her talk to everyone.  When we went to take our oath I raised my right hand and she started giving me high fives.  The judge laughed his way through the oath.

I want to say that mom and dad seemed ok.  I'll have to assume that because I hope I never really know what they were feeling.  I think despite the fact that everyone agrees this is the best thing for our little girl it's still sad.  The whole situation is just sad.  Of course, on one-hand it was a happy day for us and hopefully long-term she will see it as a somewhat happy day for her too - it certainly opens the doors to get her into our family forever. 

We also met with our attorney to formalize the agreement for both this little girl and her unborn sibling.  This is where things turned way south for us.  It didn't take us by surprise, it just made it a little more real.

When we first decided to adopt from foster-care we did so because for us it was the most financially feasible option.  We've said time and time again that it's not about the money - but suddenly it has become that way.  We originally decided to adopt a sibling group.  We knew we wanted a larger family and we knew we could handle having that many children.  When we learned that doing that from foster care would be supported through adoption assistance, it solidified our position.  It took money off the table.  So for the past two years as we looked at foster care and adoption we did so under the assumption that we would have a sibling group and if we adopted then it would be with adoption support.  This removed the concern about legal fees, college, and to some degree daily living expenses (which is important considering the age of our kids and the need to put them in childcare). 

When we accepted our little girl we did so with slight reservation.  We already had one single child at the time and we knew a single adoption would challenge us financially.  But with foster care you never know how a case is going to turn out plus we've decided to say yes to placements (with some exceptions) and let God sort out the rest.  (yes, sometimes you say yes and they don't ever come)  As things progressed and it looked like we were headed this way we looked into our financial situation and agreed we could handle another child financially - we knew it was a possibility and didn't back out.  A month or two later we found out there was a sibling to be born and they would in fact be a sibling group.  CPS thought the best thing to do was to bring this child into care upon birth and then immediately place with us - the two would be together and we'd adopt them together.  That was the wish of mom and dad, CPS, attorneys, and us.  We immediately agreed and were wonderfully excited.  What a great opportunity!  And suddenly finances were taken care of once again.

Fast forward to the time mom decided to put the baby up for a private adoption.  No one wanted that except maybe mom.  She had the legal right to do so though, regardless of whether or not that made sense.

Since then CPS has done everything in its power to refuse the sibling group.  They have told us they can't be involved in "baby brokering" so they can't be involved with this baby.  They have told us they will be "out of the picture" when the baby is born...not true - adoption can't take place until much after the baby is born and placed with us.  Apparently, they've threatened mom that if she calls them she will "have another case on her", as if they are going to put her in jail or something.  I'm fairly confident they saw this as an opportunity to get out of adoption assistance, which can be a hefty benefit.

So we're left with tough heartbreaking decisions.  Should we proceed with our little girl but not the baby?  We can't imagine that.  Should we decline the adoption?  That would be unthinkable.  But what do we do?

Let me give you a bit of financial perspective.  We now have 6 weeks (though, if the baby comes earlier probably less) to solve the following:
  • We will no longer receive foster care funds for little miss (-$600 per month income)
  • We will now be responsible for her daycare (+$600 per month expenses)
  • We will now be responsible for any and all medical care (who knows...)
  • We will now be responsible for all expenses related to new baby (+600 per month daycare)
Suddenly we need to find approximately $2K in our budget on a monthly basis to proceed.

I had mentioned before that we needed to save for me to take time off for new baby - we've been able to save $6K, which would have done pretty well.

Except now we have had a car repair - $1200
We've had to put a retainer for part of the legal fees - $1200

So that little savings is now down to $3600.

We don't have anything for new baby.

We'll also need to quickly save enough for both adoptions.  With a sibling group through CPS the legal fees are mostly paid for.  Now we're responsible, and since they are separate adoptions (two different types), we'll have to pay double the normal fee.  If things go smoothly it will beit will be approximately $3K each - another $6K that we'll need to come up with.
We are suddenly more than broke.
So what do we do? We've heard at least a couple times from people in the last few days - "well, you could not go through with it". Right.
I like to talk in "normally..." terms, though I know there is no such thing and it probably doesn't help me much. But I feel like normally you have more than 4-6 weeks to figure this stuff out. Normally when you plan to do a private adoption you plan for that upfront. Normally when you agree to adopt a sibling group you receive adoption assistance from the state. Normally you're not scrambling to come up with $10K at the last minute because of some seriously screwed up situations that you had no control over.
I mean, we're the ones who are willing to take in 4 additional kids under 4 (plus our own 4 year old) to care for them on a daily basis. We've stepped up to the call to deal with kids who vomit on command and never ending appointments from therapists and medical staff and dentists and caseworkers and CASA and court when we weren't the ones who did anything wrong. We were born infertile. We're good parents. Our fault is wanting to be good parents to whoever needs us.
As if infertility doesn't suck enough. As if we don't give and give and give and give as much as we can. As if we don't sacrifice our family "normalcy" on a daily basis. As if we don't constantly get looks and sometimes comments from folks who think that we're crazy (and bad parents) for having "that many" children. Now we're either being asked to bear the financial burden as well or to give up the little girl (and her brother) that we've come to know as our daughter.
Trust me - I roll my eyes at my own self for that. I really do. I know people sacrifice financially all the time to be good parents. I know we are really blessed with what we have (both materially but more importantly immaterially - our kids!). We are really really grateful to have this opportunity. I know I sound like I'm whining and throwing a tantrum. In reality - I kinda am. I know that. I hope I get over it. I'm sure I will. It's just not...well, yet again...what we had planned.
The good news is - whatever happens will be to Christ's glory - you see the yuckiness of my heart at this moment. Here's the truth right now. My husband and I both trust that God will do something - what yet we don't know. We're along for this crazy, crazy ride trying to trust. Sometimes it's hard when you're fallen and you're dealing with a fallen world. Sometimes.
So, though I probably shouldn't, I'm allowing myself a tiny pity-party before I move forward. Hopefully my posts on the subject are all positive from here on out.
Nevertheless, if you are a praying kinda person and you would like to keep us in mind, please do - we're worn out right now and trying to figure this out too is a bit much. On this side of the mountain it appears to big to climb - yet here we go...


Jess said...

My husband and I are contemplating when we are going to start the foster care process. I love reading other people's stories. Especially these type that make me realize that things do not go as planned, so I won't take things for granted!

I am praying for your family. God can work miracles :-)

Raina said...


I hope you're looking up adoption financial assistance. I know there are lots of agencies! There are also T-shirt fundraising sites, jewelry fundraising sites...put it all together and you could at least make a dent!

Praying for you guys!

Anonymous said...

Of course, I will pray God's will over your life and that of these precious children. He, and He alone, will make the decision. "Trust God, and leave the consequences to Him", as Dr. Charles Stanley always says.
And, yes, you sound worn out. Who wouldn't be, going through what you and your family has gone through. I enjoyed reading your story. Please keep them coming.