Once Evan and I figured out that we couldn’t have kids naturally, he had to deal with an awful lot of tears and tantrums from me. I was so angry. I was so angry I couldn’t focus my anger. I kept thinking to myself that it wasn’t fair because people who should never be able to have kids are able to have bazillions of them, yet I knew we would be a good family and provide a good, loving and stable home and here we were barren. It was like some gigantic slap in the face. When I finally got un-angry enough to be somewhat rational again, we started looking into adoption.
I knew that our rabbi and his wife had adopted both of their girls, and I figured that since he was clergy, that he had probably counseled many people through this, so I sent an email asking if we could talk to him about it. We went in to talk to him about adoption and he was so kind and informative. I remember him telling us not to worry about the finances part – that would come in time – and I also remember thinking he was insane about that part because we were a young family with student loans to deal with and mortgages and we were just getting started. So we started researching. And one thing that both Evan and I are very, very good at is research. I mean… seriously… a JD and PhD candidate married to a MS in PoliSci and about to be an MS in Public Admin… we KNEW how to research.
So we did. We started out kind of excited about the prospects. And we both started to become very angry all over again very quickly. Every place we looked we saw adoption fees in the tens of thousands of dollars. Seriously??? I mean, come on! One place was charging $65,000 for a healthy baby… like they would be able to guarantee a healthy baby anyway… but $65,000??? The most affordable option we were able to find was still out of what we could afford, coming in at just under $18,000. Even if we just had that lying around, how on earth would we have been able to afford the $890 a month in daycare, and $160 a month in formula and $80 a month in diapers alone on top of spending that much???
I became quite despondent. I will admit now that I was very depressed about it all. It seemed like there was never going to be a way for us to become a family of more than just me and Evan. But I was not about to give up on the idea of ever being a mommy… so I kept searching. Finally we decided to find out about adopting through the state agencies where kids who have been removed from their biological parents for various reasons could be adopted by families. So I called around and found out about the MAPP class (which is a class every adoptive and foster parent has to take). I called Florida Baptist Children’s Home first but was told that because we were Jewish that they would never, ever place a child with us. I was devastated!!! I had never experienced such blatant discrimination in my life… and to have experienced it from a faith based agency really threw me for a loop – especially after having just basically found out that we couldn’t have kids naturally – it was like a double whammy!!! Finally, I was able to find another agency that did not discriminate – Boystown understood that a good, loving home was just that – a good loving home whether it is Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, Muslim or Buddhist. Boystown was a godsend!!! They got us signed up for the MAPP class and got us on the road to adoption!
We committed to taking a class every Saturday for four weeks to learn what to expect from adoption and what kinds of behaviors and medical issues to expect from kids in state care. What we expected was a boring class. What we got was anything but!!! There was a lot of homework, don’t get me wrong, but it was a truly eye opening experience learning about the absolutely horrific things people can do to children and to each other. It was also an exercise in our relationship because it forced me and Evan to deal with things about ourselves and our pasts that we would likely never have revisited if not forced to. I mean… my parents were a nightmare… and I would have been happy to leave things in the past, but we had to learn to deal with our own childhood issues to be able to help children that may be placed with us to deal with theirs.
We didn’t go into the class expecting to make friends… but we made friends with the Olmsteads, who have since become like family to us! It’s pretty interesting how similar they are to me and Evan in a lot of ways!!! We didn’t go into the class expecting really anything… but we came out with new friends, a stronger relationship, and a new focus – becoming a foster-to-adopt family. More next time…