Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Price of Adoption

While adoption is an incredible experience, it can come with many sacrifices.  Unbeknownst to us, it came with the sacrifice of money.  Not knowing anything about adoption prior to adopting R, we were completely in the dark.  I think we just assumed that since it was agreed upon by him, Grandma, and us, that all we would need to do is sign some legal documents with Grandma's lawyer.  So not the case!!!

When speaking with Grandma's lawyer over the phone, she informed us that we would indeed need to hire our own lawyer and that papers would be drawn up and exchanged between the two lawyers, for our signatures and review.  After looking online and calling around, we learned that we needed a lawyer who was certified in adoption, in the state of Florida.  We immediately started searching online and calling around to law offices.  One lawyer gave us an approximate amount of $10,000.  HOLY CRAP!!!  Where in the world were we going to get that kind of money?  Here we are, this boy already expecting to be a part of our family, and we can't afford to pay for him.  After days of searching and wondering how we would come up with the money, we got in touch with another lawyer who made it much easier.

R was biologically my cousin (my mom and the woman who gave birth to him are half sisters), but legally my uncle, since my grandmother adopted him.  Our lawyer said since he was legally my uncle, it is considered a direct family adoption or relative adoption.  The cost of this would be approximately $3,000.  This amount, we could work with...when we got our taxes back.  And the better part of this adoption process, was that our lawyer was in Florida, and we never had to go there.  All correspondence was done over the phone and through the mail.  In fact, we didn't even have to be in the court room on the day the judge reviewed our case and ruled in our favor.

I have been told that regular adoptions can be much more pricey than ours, much more emotional, and take much longer.  I suppose we were lucky in that aspect.  The adoption process began in January and ended in May.  We decided to let him finish out his school year in Florida though, so we waited until June to take him.  We were going to have to get him a new birth certificate and a new social security card.  When doing this, we found out that we would be getting a monthly check for him.  Apparently, Grandma had been receiving social security benefits, monthly, for R.  And now those checks would stop coming to her, and go to us instead.  It is a decent amount of money, that has to be accounted for and spent towards R.  When we receive it, a portion goes to me for the food and clothes we provide him with.  The rest goes into an account for him.  For instance, we bought him 2 new pairs of shoes last weekend.  The money for those, came from his social security benefits.  It does help!

Loving his new school
I've heard rumors of adoption benefits, such as free college and healthcare, but have yet to find out how much truth stands behind those rumors.  Wouldn't that be nice though?

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