Yesterday, right about the time that Jericho was reinterpreting the line "Why can't the English teach their children how to speak" from My Fair Lady as "Why can't the English beat their children" (probably won't mention that to the home study agency), our online auction of a few items from our larger silent auction was ending. It was far more successful than I ever imagined it would be, and we raised $727 from auctioning the items (this includes $28 of people paying above what they actually bid).
Now, most people are shocked to learn that to adopt a child from Bulgaria is one of the least expensive options for international adoption, averaging at the low, low price of just $25,000 (for us, adopting the second child is not twice as expensive, it is actually "only" an extra $4,800 plus airfare back to the US).
After people recover from this fact, they usually ask why it is so expensive to adopt children who are in an institution and could use a home. Well, it is high, I admit.
At the same time, there has to be a system set up so that these children are looked after and don't end up being abused or exploited. Yes, it is expensive, I have no clue how to make it less expensive, and the alternative would be worse. Plus the people involved doing this work (our adoption agency and our home study agency for example) are working their tails off and not getting rich for sure. The cost of answering our daily barrage of emails alone is estimated by the US Department of Commerce at well over $2.3B for these adoptions.
So what does this exactly buy us? Mostly, lots and lots of documents. Some confirming that I and Kim and the kids were born, some confirming that we haven't been charged with abusing children in all the states we've lived in since we turned 18 (bet you can't guess them all - we each have one that the other hasn't lived in - five each. Massachusetts is the no-brainer so you can have that one.....), and one confirming we were married which will hopefully arrive without issue, but it was filed in Manhattan, and the only place I fear that is more likely to bring paperwork to a screeching halt than Manhattan is New Jersey (hint, hint and another hint, hint for those guessing the states).
To be specific, we've spent so far (drum roll please):
Application fee for Home Study agency: $250
Fee from Home Study agency: $2,250
Commitment fee with Adoption Agency: $3,500 (holds the kiddos for us for six months while we get our paperwork together)
Birth certificates (3 certified copies each): $201 - YIPPEE! NOW I KNOW WE WERE BORN!
Marriage certificate (3 certified copies): $65
Notarizations so far: $55
Application for passports for Kim and Nate (coming this week): $270
Fingerprinting and FBI background check for Kim, Nate & Lucas (he's almost 18): $150
For a grand total so far of $6741. Other expenses include traveling to Bulgaria, eating in Bulgaria, other things I'm blocking out so I don't become overwhelmed.
Typing it makes me tired. I just keep the paperwork rolling.
Well, gotta run, I have to go call the court in the town I grew up in for records of that time I was arrested as a juvie, to see if they have any records of it they can send me, because although it has been expunged from my "record", it will show up on the FBI report, requiring an explanation for the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice. Whoever said that crime doesn't pay must have realized that while gathering paperwork for an adoption.