This is a post that some of you might have been wanting now for a few months. The reason it has taken so long is that the Adoption Agency finally got us the expense report.
Fair warning, this is going to be rough for the frugal crowd who reads this blog. It was rough for me to comprehend that our hard earned dollars were going to uber rides and poor budgeting and I like to think I'm not that frugal compared to most readers. So lets get right into the numbers:
A grand total of over $45,000!
Now, lets be clear, we knew the costs up front. We knew that we were going to pay $45,000 but what we didn't know was the breakdown of those expenses.
All expenses in gray are Birth Mother expenses. All expenses in orange are agency fees.
The birth mother costs were $13,500.
The agency costs were $30,000.
Obviously I have issues with both of these costs. For now, lets go over the birth mother. These costs were incurred over a 6 month time frame which means that her costs were roughly $2200 per month! As a family of 3 right now, we are averaging $1,500 per month. Granted, if we took out the $550 per month rent cost, her total would be $1,650 per month but that is still $150 more than we spend per month - as a family of three. Not to mention, shes on food stamps which should reduce our out of pocket expenses in that category. As most of you know, food is usually the biggest expense in anyone's budget so if you use government assistance, that cost should be much lower. Walmart cards totaled: $5700, Rent of $3,400, Cash of $1,500 and the final biggest issue I have is: Uber of $650! The Uber trips averaged over $100 per month. My gas costs of driving to and from work every day for an entire month do not even add up to the much. I fill up my tank maybe twice a month - if I drive extra on the weekends. The thing that bugs me the most about uber is that she also received $220 of bus passes. In the state of Florida, the bus passes cost $49 per month. Our savings in that category would have amounted to over $500 if she only received monthly bus passes.
Now onto the agency fees: $30,000
Think about that - if you have a $75,000 per year job, the agency costs alone will take up most of your net income for the entire year! The biggest issue I have is that the agency fees of $15,500 do not have any impact on all the other fees of ICPC, TPR, Finalization, Counseling and the biggest crock of shit: $5,250 for advertising. I would have liked to have known what the $15,500 of adoption services pays for when in my opinion, ICPC, TPR, Finalization, Advertising and Counseling should have been included in that cost. In my mind, the $15,500 is going directly into the lawyers pockets which aggravates me. This company supposedly takes pride in building families but yet they immediately charge an arm and a leg (plus kidney, liver & spleen) to help families build their dream.
Unfortunately, adopting families do not know where their money is going until everything is said and done. Adopting families do not receive weekly/monthly updates on where their hard earned cash is going. The company is not transparent with this information up front and I think that is wrong. $45,000 invested over 18 years would easily pay for the adopted child's college or a nice down payment on a house in the future.
These costs were just for the adoption. Before this, there was $1500 for home studies, travel in July to meet the agency and birth parents: $1000, Travel for the birth and a 28 day stay in a different state: $4000. Post placement cost: $500. Background checks, physicals, fingerprints, miscellaneous stuff: $1000.
Total of: $8000
Grand total of all costs: $53,000
Now, with that being said, we are beyond blessed to have the child that we always dreamed of. There is nothing better in the world to come home to a smiling, laughing, unconditionally loving child. No matter how good or bad your day has been, they make it better!
As for birth mother expenses, I have calmed down over the past few weeks and realized that this woman was so strong and loved her child so much that instead of bringing him into a difficult situation, he is now in a home that he can be cared for and loved beyond measure. We are truly grateful for her. It was a relief to know that she was being taken care of throughout the process and our child was getting the nutrients and doctors visits necessary to make it a successful birth. Do I wish she would have taken less Uber trips, sure. But instead of taking the bus when your 6 months pregnant and its 95 degrees out, I'd rather her get to her appointment safe and sound with less stress.
Overall our adoption experience was better than expected. In less than one year we completed all necessary background checks, physicals, home studies, etc and adopted a newborn! Some people go years without even being matched to a birth family and then sometimes once they are matched, the birth family pulls out of the adoption.
We have an open relationship with the birth family, and we are grateful for them and they are grateful for us. It has been a wild year but I would not change any of it!
If anyone is thinking of adoption, feel free to contact me. I'm an open book!