Monday, September 6, 2010

Big Adoption Series - Chapter 3

In the blink of an eye, the decision was made. We were officially adopting a child - our daughter! - from South Korea. We made that hairpin turn, the inertia of everything pushing us even closer together.

So what happens when two people on a mission fling themselves blindly into their own future?

They miss key things. Like the fact that the vast majority of childless couples adopting from Korea will be matched with a boy. Or the measly ol' fact that Korea is one of the most expensive countries from which to adopt.

We were well aware of the fact that adoption would be a large expense, but knowing is one thing, signing your name to a string of dollar signs is quite another. Some friends who had recently adopted internationally advised us early on that we should not allow the financial obligation to slow us down. The reminded us that God would not lead us in a direction without providing the means to move forward. At that time, Cory had a good job in a Congressional office and I worked full-time, from home, as a researcher for government abstinence education initiatives. We had very little debt, piddly savings and the recent purchase of our first home. Adoption aside, we would have been just fine, financially. But now, the figure loomed large - $25,000. Give or take.

There were no obvious budget cuts to make, so we did what we wish we had been doing all along. We hopped aboard the Dave Ramsey Crazy Train. We inaugurated our envelopes and began paying cash for everything, keeping a detailed monthly budget and watching every dollar like a wily toddler hopped up on Pixie Stix.

The next months were a whirlwind of paperwork as we accounted for every dime we owned, hypothetical and otherwise. We shipped of our first round of paperwork off to AIAA (Bethany had run out of Korea referrals until the following year, but would be doing our homestudy for us), and then we exhaled.

And then, without warning, I received a phone call informing me that my pay rate was doubling.

And we inhaled. And inhaled. And inhaled. And very nearly hyperventilated.

I called my Mom and cried my eyes out. It didn't make any sense. It was a fluke, and even my employer admitted as much.

Provision is what we called it. Plain ol', nonsensical provision.

In the end, we would still come up short. A family member very graciously offered us a personal loan to make up for the difference and we were able to repay it in less than a year.

We cinched our belt a good two to three notches and those habits we would carry with us for years to come.

People always ask, "Why does it have to cost so much?" You would think that after three spins around the track, we would have the answer. The truth is, it's just expensive. No one is getting wealthy. There is much that is involved and I've come to understand something - it's ok.

It's ok to sacrifice for something that will end up meaning the whole world.

In the end, after the waiting and the anticipating, after the showers and the fluffing, you walk into your home for the first time with your child who is a stranger to you, who might even be a little scared of you. Those early months are hard work, plain and simple. You channel every spare ounce of energy into the new growth of love. You trouble-shoot as best you can, you call your friends for Mommy advice, knowing full well that conventional wisdom doesn't necessarily apply.

If it were cheap, it would be all too easy to get caught up in the dreamy idea of a brown-skinned baby and forget the fact that those almond eyes are exotic for exactly one day, then they simply, magnificently become the eyes of your child.

So save up those pennies, trim the fat, remember the big stinkin' tax refund coming your way after finalization ($13,000 comes right back to you!). Find money you didn't know you had. Sell something. Work part-time while you wait. Eat beans and rice. Look into a low-interest adoption loan.

Sacrifice for your child in a brand new way.

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Join me here next Tuesday for Big Adoption Series - Chapter 4

(To catch up on Chapters 1-2, click here.)