All my best,Danni
I just saw your post and wanted to let you know that my husband and I adopted a beautiful 1 year old little girl and her newborn baby brother. At the time, we lived in New Jersey where they have a program called fost-adopt. We had to do a home study and take 30 hours worth of classes, and do alot of paperwork. We were fingerprinted, had background checks, and needed doctors notes along with letters of recommendation from friends, family and neighbors.
The children in the program are considered "at risk" which means that for the most part, right now they are in "foster care" with a very high chance of being placed for adoption. There are risks in that not all the children they place with you will definately be placed with you permanently for adoption, however our 2 children were placed with us the day after we were llicensed, and we adopted them officially about a year and a half later. We did know we would be adopting them for certain about 6 months after they came home to us.
It didnt cost us a penny, in fact the whole time they were in foster care, they sent us a subsidy every month to help pay for things like clothes and toys and other necessities. And because our children are considered "special needs" (a sibling group and/ or certain medical conditions, and/or other factors depending on your state etc) the subsidy will continue until they are 18. They also have full medical benefits until they are 18. The adoption itself was completely free, and believe it or not, we were able to even take advantage of the adoption credit on our taxes ($20,000-which can be used for up to 4 years or until we use it up whichever comes first).
It wasn't always wine and roses however. My children were born drug addicted (my son was 2 months premature), and the mother drank alcohol throughout her pregnancy. My son was shaking for the first 2 weeks I had him home, which was very scary, and my son and daughter both started walking very late. My daughter didnt start talking until she was almost 2. Both of their motor skills weren't what they should have been. We got them help through the early intervention service in NJ (I believe all the states have it) and physical therapists came to my home to assist 3 days a week, about 1 hour each day. They have both caught up in all areas, and are showing no ill effects from the trauma they went through.
My children are now 2 and 3 and they are amazing. They are beautiful, well adjusted, healthy and VERY happy. I had the wonderful experience of picking my son up at the hospital, and my son and daughter are together forever. They have the same biological mother and the same forever mom and dad, and we all couldn't be happier.
I wish you all the luck in the world whatever way you choose/if you choose to adopt. It is the most rewarding thing we have ever done, our children are our whole lives.
I edited this to add that we have never met the birth mother. She hasn't seen the children since she gave birth to them, and that was her choice. Many children in the fost-adopt program do have regular visits with their birth mother that is mandatory until you adopt the child(ren). Then it would be to your discretion. In our situation, we had a closed adoption which means that the birth mother (and father, if anyone knew who he was) have no way of contacting us.HTH,~Dawn
Luckily our state has passed some really strict legislation aimed at stopping exactly what you mentioned parents coming back and claiming parental rights.
Co cl of the Dog Training and Behavior Board
Thanks for the info Vickie.
Hi, Danni, I came to visit and saw this post.
It's expensive and not easy to adopt but who else are you going to spend your money on? No one is more important than my kids. No one. The youngest is 18, away at university back east (pricey private university, but top school according to U. S. News & World Report's annual list and has the major he wants), and the Valentines Day cards and gifts remind me how much I love them and would do it all over again in a flash. I stayed home for a while, jumped off the fast track, trouble is employers seem to feel you lose one (1) I.Q. point for each day you stay at home. After a few years I returned to work and it was not problematic. I did not miss the "firsts" and have no regrets.
One thing about parenthood, you learn you can do all sorts of things you thought you couldn't. Our greatest teachers can be our children.
Thanks for the babycenter.com link - lots of terrific info that I'm sure will help us with many of the decisions that we have facing us in this very exciting and hopeful time of our lives.
Well... I can tell you this... saving money now is a good idea because after you acquire the child you will see that savings dwindle quickly. And, don't worry about the debt, you will go into debt soon enough when raising a child. The cost of raising a child from birth to the age 18 (not counting college tuition) can be anywhere from $2 - 500,000.00.
Believe me, I speak from experience... I was a single parent who raised four children by myself for fourteen years. It isn't easy and it takes a lot of sacrifice. and savings? Save and invest while you can now...
sweetpea I have to applaude you for your courage.
There is a whole lot more to it than sinking into debt. If one must sink into debt up front, well if one has to borrow their money they probably look skimpy on paper with a meager bottom line.
A lot look like this:One line for income. Numerous lines for outgo.
Assets. Got investments? T-Bills or funds which proves you know how to manage your money (like you have a cushion you can tap instead of draining equity from your house which = increasing your financial liabilities ). Any retirement accounts (social security doesn't count) with healthy 5 digits?Savings accounts (helps to demonstrate you successfully save now and can do so for your child).Checking accounts.
Liabilities.List your mortgage(s).Now list the Home Equity Line of Credit.List your credit card debt.List your student loan debt.List your auto loan debts (all of them)List any other consumer debt.List your tax liabilities.
Now look at your bottom line. These are things they look at.
Then the home interviews, background scratch 'n' sniff and in depth scrutiny.
Yes, definitely worth it to scope out the entire process and realistically see what it entails before taking out loans. There'll be plenty of times to sink into debt once you are a parent. You'll probably be taking out Parent PLUS loans when baby hits college and chances are you'll still be paying off other debt you have to incur up front just to pay to adopt and during the first 18 years of baby's life, especially if DINKs drop down to one income and their assets are zip to scant.
There is a nice website to read about getting your family finances in order at http://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/prebabyfinance/index/
Another great post. It has me thinking maybe we ought to start something about rebuilding your personal finances and what the entire concept is about. Those taking advantage of the Fresh Start are usually eager learners huh.
CarolynA Mom and A Working Professional