So far, it has been a complete nightmare! Back when we were in the "thinking about it" phase, we attended an adoption conference on the Air base at which we are stationed. There were several guest speakers from a number of local adoption agencies - some from the local government, some charity groups and some church organizations. However, the opening speech came from an adoption Lawyer, who began by informing us that adoption should never cost much more than $5,000 to $8,000 and most of that should be claimed back in taxes.
Of course, he was referring to the organizations mentioned above, who then stood up and gave their somewhat impressive talks of their organization's work, the support systems, the effectiveness, timeliness of the adoption itself etc.etc. Two of them even went so far as to tell us they were desperate to find good adoptive families for children still awaiting someone to make such a lifelong commitment to them.
My husband and I dared to get a little excited at the prospect of finally becoming parents without a two year "saving up" period, and of course, without leaving ourselves destitute. My husband is rapidly climbing the ranks in his Air Force career and I am a qualified Social Worker, so we did not foresee any issues with the assessment process.
However, as I am actually a British Citizen, I questioned the agencies involved about the complexities of adopting when one Spouse is a foreign National. It was at that point that my dreams were beginning to shatter. The Local government representative basically said that although they were desperate, they were unable to accept "foreigners" in their adoption programs. The charity groups then informed us that as they were closely linked to the government, they had to abide by the governments rules. That left the religious organizations.......and, that's right.....you guessed it......you had to be of one certain religious persuasion or another to even be considered. Personally, I don't think that being of a certain religion is a prerequisite of being a good parent, but, as they say, rules are rules.
So, that was it. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. I looked at my husband and demanded that we leave without staying to find out what the rest of the conference had in store.
It took several more days before I dared to start researching adoption online, but search I did. The list of non-profit agencies is seemingly endless and finding one that you are comfortable with is not an easy task. They all have different criteria; different processes; different levels of support; and varying degrees of risk. The one thing they all have in common however, is that they cost.......a lot!!!!
Don't get me wrong - despite my husbands choice of title for this blog, neither of us view it as "buying a baby"......more as "investing wisely in our family and our future". Even so, saving $25,000 to $30,000 is no easy task when the mortgage and utilities still need to be paid, cars need to be maintained and our two fur-babies (2 year old cockapoo and cocker spaniel) seem to do whatever it takes for yet another expensive outing to the vets office. Still, we live in hope and are currently exploring money making options outside of our normal work. We will keep you updated on our progress.