I will probably be in big fat trouble for posting while I am in a bad mood! (Sorry, honey)
We put in our frequent flier request last night for our flight to Bogota. We found out today that our request was not granted, nor will it be. It is complicated and unfair, but there is nothing we can do about it. Regardless of this shocking and daunting news, we want to give a HUGE thanks to Adam’s friends at work who were willing to donate their miles for our family.
So flights now add an automatic $6000 to our already tapped out adoption account. Why $6000? Because we aren’t bringing home an infant. We have to buy six round trip adult fare tickets (Yeah, I know, the kids are only going one way. My fellow travel snobs know that it is almost always cheaper to buy round-trip internationally, even if you don’t need it.) It is $200/child cheaper to buy a round trip ticket than a one-way. They don’t put that in the adoption addendum. I’M JUST SAYING….
Okay, the day gets worse! We gathered for our last conference call with our caseworker, Raul, before traveling. Most of the hour-long conversation was positive and full of helpful information. I know that Raul loves the children of Colombia, and he tries his best to help things run smoothly. We are very grateful for that. What is the problem then, you ask? Well, remaining financial obligations are always a standard part of this conversation. This is what we learned:
1. We are financially responsible for transportation to/from all adoption related meetings and events. What? Are you kidding me? And again, I know that Raul is just the messenger. But please, I think that for $11,000 transportation should be included just as a translator is.
2. We now have a $1500 cash obligation for attorney fees to CRAN. This is the very first I have heard of this. Apparently, there was a $900 obligation all along that was itemized in our contract. But it just says “estimated attorney fees.” Okay, no one ever mentioned what that was or when it would be paid. But now the price has gone up, in the last two weeks, to $1500. What???
3. Oh yeah, and there is a $200 “document processing fee.” What I gathered from our phone conference is that that fee is for copies that are made of all the paperwork. $200 isn’t the end of the world, but we were just told today that we had to times that by 4…because it is per child. Just so we’re clear–I have to pay $800 to have copies made of my children’s adoption paperwork!!! Shouldn’t that also be included as part of our in-country fees that we paid?
Do you think I could offer to pack my printer and bring my own paper? Perhaps I should suggest it.
I think those are the main shockers for the day. At least I hope so. Poor Adam! He caught me crying on the phone with Raul, on the phone with TACA airlines, on the phone with him, and at lunch. There wasn’t even any good reason. I know the money will work itself out somehow–maybe that money tree we planted will miraculously start producing by Wednesday. Or perhaps some long lost rich uncle will call with a gift on the other end. Maybe we overpaid our taxes one year, and we’ll shortly find out. 🙂 In all seriousness though, I’ve been meaning to post our adoption expenses. A few people have asked what it entails…I’ll work on that so that those of you considering adoption, or are in the early stages, can catch a “real” glimpse of how much it costs. In our experience, it is decidedly more expensive than the spreadsheet that was provided to us in the beginning.
Okay, so the money part sucks! But what makes me sad and weepy is the abrupt fashion in which I have found all this out. It is the idea that even with how close we are to hugging our children–I am still not in control. After all of the money we have paid, paperwork we have filled out, and time we have spent being lectured on how to parent, I still feel like a little girl being told what to do.
Adoption is not the same as pregnancy….not by a long shot. Adoption is not covered by insurance. It is not accepted as a norm. It costs tens of thousands of dollars. It requires rigor, conviction, and motivation to keep the ball rolling. And it isn’t something that can physically and spontaneously occur. We methodically and carefully chose to welcome adoption into our lives.
Please, please, please beloved friends and family, please separate these two cherished events for us. Comparing and contrasting the two makes me feel very sad, and sometimes angry. I do not know if I can put why into words right now. It probably wouldn’t make any sense. I can tell you that thoughts of pregnancy bring back emotionally charged and helpless feelings. Our children need me to be focused on their joy, not the sadness of failed pregnancies. For now, we ask that when we are in Colombia, and when we come home, that this adoption is celebrated as an adoption–with all its 10,000 special and distinct attributes.
Adam and I are completely humbled by the many acts of service–big and small–performed on our behalf. Our children are so lucky–and not because of us, but because of YOU! They have no idea how much goodness and love is about to envelope them.
Okay, Now that I’m crying again I think it is time to sign off. 🙂 I know, I know…tomorrow is always better than today. Maybe I’ll go to bed early then.