Columnists :: David Foucher
My Gay Adoption Day 85 :: Money, Money, Money
Yesterday I walked into a co-worker’s office and she asked with a frustrated look on her pretty face as she frantically moused her way around the baffling menus of Internet Explorer, "David, how can I blow my cache?"
I looked at her and deadpanned, "Adopt a child."
Now, for those of you who can’t take a joke, I’ll state unequivocally that no, I don’t believe that the adoption process is a waste of money, which is what is often implied when one uses the phrase "blow." (Those of you headed to the Black Party are no doubt acquainted with other definitions, but I’ll ask you to get your minds out of the gutter when we’re talking about my baby-to-be.) But it is, in fact, quite expensive. Which brings me to the topic of today’s lecture:
Why Adoptive Parents are the Best. Parents. Ever.
I promised I’d be blunt and forthcoming in blogging the process of adopting a baby; I don’t intend to spare the details of my bank account. All was well last Autumn when Kevin and I signed up for our "Get Acquainted" seminar at Friends in Adoption - and the trip to Vermont probably only cost us $800 or so; a hotel for a few nights... $300, a few meals... $200, the seminar... $250, seeing Cher wipe Christina Aguilera’s ass with a scant few songs on the big screen... priceless. It was the down payment that hurt: $6600 to Friends in Adoption as ½ of the agency cost. Fortunately, I had guessed ahead and secured a second mortgage to our home.
Alas, I guessed wrong: the second mortgage wasn’t enough.
In the last few months (I know, what kind of blogger only writes every few weeks? The punchline: a blogger who holds down a job while attempting to adopt a child) we’ve racked up quite a lot of bills.
The first was our social worker, Bev, who has been a complete dear in her role as home study authoress. She met with Kevin and I individually and together over three sessions, regaled us with tales of her stranger experiences in the adoption circle, and asked us pointy questions such as, "How do you two solve arguments?" (My answer: we stand on opposite sides of the room and throw things at each other; the one who does the most damage wins.) Or this one: "Do you intend to use corporal punishment on your child?" (Kevin’s answer: non unless they misbehave.) Bev then wrote up a darling little 12-page report that tells the State of Massachusetts that we’re more than fit to be adoptive parents. We love Bev. And we don’t hold the $1700 bill against her at all.
Along the way, we had to file CORI (criminal records, for those of you who have never been to the Black Party) forms, get physicals (we’re both the picture of good health - except, of course, for my penchant with playing with stuffed animals, but that’s not really a physical ailment and in this circumstance, I feel it plays in my favor), get multiple letters of recommendation, provide a financial breakdown (hah! getting worse by the week), order up an original marriage certificate, write autobiographies, and authorize a child abuse registry check. Most of this work - while arduous and often protracted in time - was, in fact, free... or merely involved co-pays.
We also spent a few hundred on baby class. Which involved a lot of dolls, diapers, and dreamy daddies doing their damndest to not drop their darling dumplings while decking them out in duds that drape their dermis in dazzling drag while still defending their derriers.
Really. I should be awarded something for that sentence.
Prospective adoptive parents must also prep an "adoption profile" - which at one time, I’m told, involved little more than filling out a form that informed birth mothers of your financial situation, marital status, religious affiliation, and a bit about your living circumstances. However, today birth mothers are each usually provided a number of profiles that match their preferences, and you are chosen relatively blindly based on how you present yourselves - which means you’re competing with others who are desperately also trying to adopt a baby. And guess what: they’re all putting together beautiful little books that describe how perfect they are. Which means, of course, that they’re all lying, because Kevin and I are really the perfect couple - but it also means that we need to make our own pretty little book.
Enter Jean-Charles, proprietor of the Adoption Loft. By the title, you would think this fabulous fellow is overseeing an attic of infants, but no - he’s a gay parent who went through the process with his partner and decided to help others professionally. He’s a genius with his work, and remarkably, his work comes reasonably priced. What will kill you is the printing charges. Kevin and I opted for a 22-page book, and after paying Jean-Charles and pre-ordering 50 books, the cost comes out to approximately $1500. Kevin and I are seriously considering ordering some more and selling them on the open market. (If you’re interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
*GASP* At this time, our book is in the final stages of design, and we anticipate a final proof to be ready in the next week or two (I’ll be happy to post it here for those of you who are looking for a little reading material for those slow moments at the Black Party.) Once FIA approves that, and we get the 50 books back, we can go live in the FIA system.
Oh wait. We also owe them the other $6600 of the agency fee at that time. And then the real spending can begin. (We’re already shopping at Babies’R’Us - I have my eye on a fabulous little giraffe blanket.)
Which brings me back to the title of our lecture (did you forget?): those of us going through the adoption process are required to dedicate a tremendous amount of time, patience and money to the cause. Forgive me, breeders, but you’ve got it good: a little sperm here, a little egg there, and voila: baby on the bottom rack. Adoptive parents undergo rigorous examination and exhaustive preparations before our names are even submitted to a single birth mother - and the nature of those preparations mean that when a baby is placed into the care of an adoptive family, he or she comes into an environment where that time, patience and money has taught us the value of the love and life entrusted to our care.
More on that later. In the interim, Kevin and I are planning on getting the drop on those two miserable little brats in Provincetown by selling our own lemonade from a Red Flyer wagon on Commercial Street. I’m pretty sure we’ll make a killing at the Vault.
David Foucher is the CEO of the EDGE Media Network and Pride Labs LLC, is a member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association, and is accredited with the Online Society of Film Critics. David lives with his daughter in Dedham MA.