Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 326

Because there is nothing "normal" about this process, I have no idea if we're walking uncharted territory here or if the complications and frustrations we're experiencing are all part of the game. I hate to even write this post because after my last few, this is going to sound so manic. It's strange how you can have the highest of highs and then days (or even hours) later you're back to the lows. I can tell you this much...this is one rollercoaster ride I am ready to get off.

This story is months in the making and would take too long to scribe every painstaking detail...but here's the gist.

When we first started researching adoption agencies we thought we should go with a national one...larger agency, larger pool of birthmoms, yada yada. But when we realized how much cost (and travel) was involved with an out-of-state adoption, we figured it was better to stay a little closer to home. We then picked the largest agency in Michigan with the most placed adoptions and signed on the dotted line.

[enter irony...we're now in the middle of an out-of-state adoption]

There were things along the way that I wasn't totally impressed with (i.e. finding "Ben and Jessica" in our homestudy), but stuff happens and we were excited to just be moving forward. Our agency frustration hit an all time high when the agency announced their doors might be closing and slapped a $1000 fee on us (due two weeks later). Ben and I walked away from the meeting with the understanding that once we were linked we would no longer have to pay "supplemental" fees, which were scheduled to continue every few months until the end of the year. As irony would have it, Rebekah called our agency three days after I sent our $1000 check in. We were too excited about the baby to care and were happy that we no longer would have to pay them...

[enter menacing music]

Several weeks ago our case worker told us that we would need to get another agency involved (in Rebekah's state) so that she could have a case worker close and to save us money (we pay a hefty hourly rate that would get out-of-control if our case worker had to fly to Rebekah multiple times). She also explained some of the interstate laws (ICPC) and what would be required of us.

I really didn't get hung up on the details. Everything with Rebekah was beautiful and I knew it would all get hammered out eventually. Mentally, I sort of took a deep breath, let down my hair, and boarded the fun train...well, until yesterday.

For a faster read, let's look at yesterday's events in bullet point:

  • We receive a bill in the mail for the next supplemental fee installment from our current agency (I was told we heard wrong at the meeting and could still have $1200 to pay before baby boy is placed with us).
  • Case Worker (CW) emails me all the new contact information for the new agency/attorney, lists the fee schedule ($7,000 more than we expected to pay), and includes many "to-do" items. I wonder what the heck we're paying all these people to do.
  • I call CW and calmly explain my frustration and question the rightness of us paying additional supplemental fees (Remember...Rebekah found us and now we're being handed off to another agency...)
  • CW recommends that I call the new agency to make sure I understand the fee schedule (i.e. don't freak out until you see it for yourself) and reminds me that my adoption is still within the $18,000-30,000 range that they prepare clients for [Gee...that really helps. Thanks.].
  • I call new agency...but, oh wait. CW gave me the wrong agency information and they have no idea who I am.
  • I call CW and rip her a new one over voicemail.
  • In the meantime, the new agency has contacted Rebekah and sent her paperwork to fill out [shouldn't I have given the green light first?] Rebekah has correct contact information that I'm able to use.
  • I ask Rebekah to do me a favor and hold off on doing anything until I can get everything straightened out.
  • I have a mini meltdown and cry out of frustration. Why does this have to be so difficult? I think about all the people in my life that had sex, got pregnant and then brought their babies home without batting an eye.
  • I call new agency and finally talk to someone who knows what the heck they're talking about and is able to answer all of my questions (anyone at my agency had yet to do this). I learn that our hands are completely tied and if we want this baby (is there any question?) then we have to move forward with both agencies...and pay all the extra fees.
  • CW never called me back.
I'm frustrated on so many levels. More money, more paperwork (tons of it...we're pretty much starting over), more meetings....does it ever end?

Be thankful I gave you the censored version. It was a hot mess.

Ben and I laid on the couch last night, unwilling to do anything but soak in our misery. I told him I wanted to crawl in a hole and cry for days...he said he wanted to go punch someone...we were both stressed and I hate that.

Thankfully, we've recovered...It wasn't anything a good cry, great sex, sleep, and chocolate couldn't handle. There were some bright spots amidst the chaos...and I was able to seem them clearly, this morning.

Bright Spot #1: New agency is more than competent. They are AWESOME. Their licensing allows us to have an expedited relinquishment process and settle the adoption out of court. Which means...Birth father rights can be terminated 60 days before the due date. (This news was a huge relief to Rebekah as she has been concerned about it) and we can forgo the awkwardness of us all being in court.

Bright Spot #2: Because our case won't require a hearing, we simply have to wait for ICPC paperwork to be approved and filed. We'll be able to go home in 10-14 days! (That sure beats the 6-8 weeks we were anticipating!)

Bright Spot #3: Baby Boy is now 26 weeks. He's just shy of 2 lbs, 14 inches. He's inhaling and exhaling like a champ and his boy parts are "descending" (apparently this takes 3 days...who knew?) Ben held me close last night and we looked at our little miracle. He is worth all the trouble in the world...

Bright Spot #4: I got a new belly shot from Rebekah and talked to her on the phone. She is the sweetest, most considerate, compassion person I've ever met.

My world is right side up again as I muddle through the new details. Our plates are a little full right now...but we're keeping it all in perspective. I had a dream last night of me putting baby boy in Ben's arms for the first time...and it was nothing short of amazing.


  1. Sorry you have all of the unexpected expenses. We did too. Because our BM needed us to help her with living expenses, we had to have an agency in GA on top of our facilitator. It ended up costing us an extra $10,000 that we did not have budgeted. It was frustrating but when I look at Samuel now, it seems like nothing compared to the love I have for him. Yay on the shortened time out of state and on the new belly shot!

  2. Ugh ugh ugh - I am so sorry you dealth with that mess. So happy you got better news re: ICPC. I was so curious about the 6-8w wait. I've never heard of such a thing! So, yay for that. And hey, so much less time out of state = less money for living expenses, right? Hang in there!! PS: Our BF's rights were also terminated ahead of time which was a huge relief.

  3. Holy mother load, what a pain!! More evidence that our justice system is far from perfect!

    Kudos to you for sticking with it, fighting through it and of course, for curing it with good sex and chocolate!! lol

  4. "Rollercoaster" is the #1 word I used to describe our adoption process. Hang in there. The very second you lock eyes with your son, you realize you'd be willing to pay $100,000 and do 1,000 pieces of paperwork for him. Love the belly shots and ultrasound pics. :)

  5. Don't feel like a manic. . . there are so many ups and downs in this journey. I'm currently struggling with infertility and there are days I feel like everyone in life is awesome, and then the very next day, I feel doom and gloom. I think what you are feeling is completely natural. :-D

  6. I know all the headaches are tiresome, but YES IT IS ALL WORTH IT...ALL OF IT! This is my boy and he was meant to be my boy through all the tears, $$$ and people not knowing what they were doing! Hold on! It's coming very soon...he's calling you closer and closer every day! Your in my prayers. God Bless!

  7. Hi there -

    I don't know how I found your blog, but I'm glad I did. My husband and I haven't started the process yet - still looking into different agencies. Already my head is spinning! Now I can see that our worries/frustrations are normal.

    Thanks for sharing your feelings...keep your chin up and keep gazing at that photo of your baby boy!


  8. Oh, I know your pain. In fact yesterday, we received several bills in the mail. Medical bills insurance wasn't covering (why is it that you should even have to worry about the cost of taking your baby to the ER? Like there's not enough worry when an ER trip is involved!).

    We also received additional legal fees from our agency for all the trouble we went through for birth father temination. This was an attorney we didn't choose, and we were under the impression parental right relinquishments were included in the fee we already paid. AND it doesn't include the attorney we have to seek and hire in 3 months to finalize!

    GGGGRRRR!!! Even the smoothest adoption has it's bumps. I know the money will work out, and Colt is worth every penny and I would sell all I own because he and John are all I need. But it still sucks.

    ALso--before you pay additional fees, I'd see what you have in writing. If you "heard wrong" at the meeting, it should be in writing in a contract that you've signed agreeing to pay...

  9. Oh Rebekah! This reminds me so much of our failed adoption (which is NOT to say anything about your situation - our birthmom in that case had huge mental issues and your Rebekah sounds stable and sane!) We had troubles on the opposite end - birthmom's agency mostly. I think they could have done a LOT more. I do think it still wouldn't have worked out, but they were so hard to work with and dropped the ball on so many different levels. We had a few problems with our homestudy agency as well. No agency is perfect, I guess. We also had some "surprise fees" - they suck, but in the end it really is worth it. Just write it all down because some day you'll look back at all this mess and expense and #1 laugh at it because it all worked out in the end and #2 think it was actually CHEAP compared to current adoption fees! :) Hang in there. Baby boy is on his way! (I'm dying to know his name, by the way!)

  10. Adopting is a roller-coaster ride and before it is all said and done, you will wonder if you made the right decision to get on in the first place. I remember waiting for Mia's birth parents to sign...waiting to see if they would change their mind and thinking to myself, "What in the @&#^ are we doing here?" We can't take this baby!!!" Mind you, this was after we had already held, fed and bathed Mia, so you know we were so in love with her. But the sheer awkwardness and drama of this whole situation puts a new spin on things.

    What a blessing that you and Rebekah have this time to bond and get to know one another. That's makes everything so much more bearable! And like everyone says, once you are a Mom (and you kinda already are!), there is NOTHING you would not do for your child.

    Hang in there!

  11. You mean it was hotter and messier that that?!?


    We also had a lot of problems with Adam adopting my daughter from my first marriage. Everytime we turned around, it seemed to be more fees, more problems, more surprises... and I am her mother, so this was only for Adam to go from step-parent/guardian to legal father!

    I have no idea why this process is so difficult. Just look at it as a time to lean on God even more.

  12. what a bubch of beautiful chaos.

    i am so glad that there are so many bright spots to keep you going!

    your son is sooo cute..i love his pictures! and can i just say i am jealous of your sex life?!? (did i just day that ;)

  13. I am glad that you blog about the good and the bad. for anyone interested in adoption it is such a great learning tool that only you can provide. until you are doing it you might have no idea what can happen (sound like your situation?)

    as soon as all this is over the bright spot that is placed in your arms will FAR out weigh all of this, and praise God for that!

  14. Wow... That sure sounds like a mess. But I guess this is the trouble we have to go through as adoptive parents. If we were to compare pregnancy to an adoption process, this may be just "pregnancy complications". Ben is right - your baby is worth all the trouble in the world.

    Hang in there... I wish you the best. -Maru

  15. Wow, sounds like a lot of hassle and stress for you guys! I'm sorry things have been so crazy lately, but I know (just like you said,) all this stuff will melt away the moment you hold that sweet boy in your arms for the first time! I am thinking of you and praying for the next couple of months to fly by!!


  16. oh my... big hugs for the both of you. hang in there!

  17. Our Christian agency has a flat's a percentage of you gross income. You know exactly what you will pay at each step in the process...nothing extra or, that is in state. I don't think they get in to out of state for these very reasons.
    Just throwing this out there but, neither of you have to go through an agency. I know at this point, there will be money you and Ben can not get back but, what about doing it privately between the two of you with attorneys. Would that be any cheaper?
    Both of our adoptions were about $15,000 b/c thankfully at the time of each one, we weren't making much money!! It's a shame it costs so much when there are babies that need families!
    The agency here in my hometown that I served on the Board of Directors for for 3 years has the lowest fees I've ever seen. That is b/c it is small and the heart of adoption is's not about salaries or making money. The Director doesn't even take a salary and said she make all the adoptions free if she could!

    Praying it all works out for you!

  18. I'm with Becky on this... is it too late to use attorney's instead of an agency?? Those fees on top of fees just seem absolutely insane! I'm sure this is the last thing you want to think about right now anyway. But it is worth the research if you have the mental energy... which I wouldn't blame you if you didn't! ;)

  19. Just wanted to comment, since a few people asked...

    Our initial thought was definitely "let's do this without the agencies!" But our hands are tied. We are bound by state law (Rebekah's) representation is mandated.

  20. Oh wow- I had no idea that the process could be like this and I'm feeling overwhelmed just reading about it and it isn't my personal situation.

    *HUGS* You guys hang in there. It will all work out, especially because if God is on your side who can be against you?!

  21. wow, what a day! It will all work out and soon you will be holding baby boy!
    I actually stumbled (or rather God called me to) a website that changed our life.
    It's a Christian Adoption ministry, not an agency. I know you are doing what God has for you now, but I encourage you to check out the website for any future's completely faith based, and totally wonderful. We are excited to get started, but Josh is starting a new job in 3 weeks and we want to get going on that a bit before dropping the initial fee to list. I was floored to see you were quoted $18-$30k! That's so much, we could never do it, at least right now. CA's average adoption cost is $5k-$12k. A little more doable but still quite a chunk!
    It should be free or government funded!!! We are doing a wonderful thing here, raising babies that otherwise would have been neglected or unwanted! Guess they don't see it that way!

  22. You guys are the epitome of heroic, all three of you. Your CW needs to be written up with her superior. This process is so difficult with out adding things like bad contact information to the mix. They need to be helpful.

  23. Oh wow! My heart is breaking for you!
    Things seem so hopeless at times. This time next year u r gonna look back and see how jesus took care of all of you and saw u thru it. I will continue to pray all of you thru it.

  24. I always tell my husband however we get to our child once we get there we know it will have been worth it that our child will be the most loved kid in the world. Your baby boy will be too!!! You are such a strong woman and this journey is showing you your own strength.

  25. It sounds like the new agency will be much better at handling things from here on. I had similar concerns with our agency. It wasn't anything big, but it was little details that would just make me wonder if I was working with the best people. And I have another bright side for you -- you will get a very big take break from the IRS next year. That will help.

  26. Rebeka, I am so sorry that you have to go through this, especially since it seems that Rebekah knows what she is doing and doesn't require a lot of counseling. Had you discussed a private adoption with her? That might be a lot cheaper. And you could still go ahead with one of the agencies for a sibling, if the agency coorporates. It sounds like - besides the homestudy - they haven't really done anything for you than take your money. I can absolutely understand your frustrations...

  27. Rebekah...
    It sounds like you are in a crazy mix of a mess! Wow. You would think that after all of the waiting, and agony associated with waiting... that you would have finally made it to the part of the journey(your match)that would be uncomplicated and somewhat peaceful...!?

    I am sorry that you are experiencing so many obstacles in the road! I am sure that it will all be worth it in the end. The financial burdens that come with adopting are monumental and it is very difficult to see past that sometimes.

    We have been told that our adoption costs will be around 35-50 thousand dollars. I have a hard time swallowing just thinking about it. It makes my heart skip a beat to even say that.

    It makes me sad... very sad, that there are so many people who have babies for free, or at least with health insurance coverage. We should have help in the same ways. We should not be punished just because we can't have our own children. We can't change our physical bodies; they are not ours to change.

    I know that God will deliver for you and that, in His time, you will gather the funds that are required. It still makes my heart hurt for you.

    It is funny... the other day while at work, a teacher was complaining about having to actually pay $1,500 dollars to have her first child (her ins. paid the rest). She was really in a "tizzy" about it and was concerned that she might have to pay closer to $2,000 for her second to be delivered with the recent increase in health ins. rates.

    I sat there and listened and the thoughts that ran through my head took me far away from there. I dared open my mouth about it... God only knows what would have flown out and attacked as if I were a wild animal ravenous for food!! I left that place with foul thoughts in my head of how ignorant some people are without knowing it.

    If only people had a clue as to what our world is like.... the fact that we have to save every penny, alter our lives in every way, and stress about the excessive expenses to adopt a baby, etc... Not to mention, if we want a second baby... we have to do it all over again, and the costs will have probably increased by that point in time. Maybe they would not vomit such absurdity...?

    We are truly at the mercy of the agencies... it is somewhat of a dictatorship. I hate it!

    Ahh ha...but, God is in control and He knows where our hearts are and what they need... and He knows what we are willing to sacrifice for our babies! I guess that is all that matters???? The money thing really does suck, though!

    Hang in there... I am thinking about you and praying for deliverance for you and Ben. I hope you feel some peace real soon.

  28. Oh how I can truly feel your hurt! We are experiencing some major agency issues as well. I'm so glad you have Ben, it makes it so much easier when you have such a supportive spouse!

    I will be praying for all of you and that God will help relieve some of this stress. This might sound trite (as it always does in the midst of a crisis) but the beauty that will be at the other side of this fire is unimaginable, yet totally attainable. Thanks for being so open and honest.

  29. Hey Sweetie,

    I know how tough all of this is...and how much we wished for life to just be easy...and simple...all i can say is trust the process. just the day at a time.

    thinking of you...

    and with the one day on such a high...and the next you feel to drown in's the universe bringing life into equilibrium...for when someone is really really happy...someone else is really really sad...but that all brings everything back into nothing you did wrong...nothing wrong with you... it's life...

    thinking of you xx

  30. We would be willing to dontate money to help you out. Even though I know it would be very humbling, have you ever thought about setting up a donation link for people who wanted to donate? All of us, that have read your blog and know what you are going through would know your not someone just looking for handouts. I believe in you Rebecca and think that this little guy will be very lucky to have parents like you. One day at a time.

  31. LOVE the quote from Ben on the side!

    I wanted to invite you to participate in my photo challenge next week! Would love it if you play!

  32. Oh Rebekah, sweetie-

    I'm sorry that this has been such a wild ride for you and Ben. So sorry about the rough spots, but glad for the bright spots!! Just keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel!!

    I love your recipe for dealing with stress, although I'll just have to take your word about the benifits of great sex!! I do find that a goood cry, chocolate and sleep are all great stress relievers for me too!!

    You will get off this rollercoaster ride. I can hardly wait to see Baby Boys newborn photos.

    Hugs for you, sweetie. Hang in there!