After learning that we did not qualify for adopting Brayden, our catalyst child, we did not lose the momentum for pursuing adoption. If anything, all the flurry of research and conversation surrounding the hope for adopting him motivated us to sit down and hash out a plan.
We realized that if we sat around waiting for the perfect opportunity to arrive, life would pass us by and a life (lives?) would go unchanged.
With printed copies of these resources from Reece’s Rainbow, my husband and I spent an evening looking at countries where we met the qualifications to adopt. We noted the estimated cost of adoption and budgeted our life for the next couple years. Yeah, no biggie, how else would we spend a Friday night.
First things first, we have to eliminate the majority of our student loans.
With both of us having master’s degrees, the burden of our loans was already a fairly crippling factor for all the dreams of our future. (Our student debt could cover the cost of at least three adoptions.) I had, up till this point, been okay with limping along financially, meeting each months minimum payments as a single-income household on my husband’s pastor salary while I worked at being a stay-at-home mom.
As long as nothing drastic happened, we were okay.
But adopting a child with special need is a drastic measure and we would need to be able to provide for the additional medical bills, therapy, and unforeseen costs. With our monthly loan payments sucking up a large portion of our income, we could not provide yet.
After assessing our budget we couldn’t find ways to cut our spending to scrimp and save any more than we already are. We are a single car family (we own our car), grocery shop once a week to save on gas and grocery bills, I plan meals and cook from scratch, we don’t have cable, internet, or fancy cell phones with data plans (we do have old fashion flip phones), and our entertainment comes from the public library or our board game shelf.
Actually seeing all this in writing may give you the impression that we barely do anything, but I assure that is not the case; we live a comfortable enjoyable lifestyle! But in order to speed up the process for loan payments in order to adopt, we needed more income plain and simple.
It is extremely important to us to be able to be the primary caregivers to our children especially during these formative years so me going back to work full-time and going the daycare route was never something to consider. However, I am an occupational therapist and as such have potential job flexibility found in few other fields. We decided I would try to work during times my husband has off so he could be home with the girls. Of course we will miss the time we share as a family on his day off, but as long as we remember this is a short-term sacrifice for a long term bigger goal – and that goal is to save a life! – we will persevere.
With a change of heart, I updated my resume, jumped through the hoops to become certified in our current state, and began applying and interviewing for part-time and per diem jobs. I pretended that all this paperwork was a minor quest on our adoption journey and I leveled up after acquiring new experience points which included calling the state board for certification clarifications and not losing my cool with bureaucracy. *okay, I was a little impatient*
After a number of phone interviews, emails, and polite brief rejection letters, I began to feel disheartened. It wasn’t the same throat clenching stress we’d experienced in the past when I was applying for jobs because we had absolutely no income, and throughout God kept anxiety fears at bay, but still it is never a nice feeling to get a rejection letter (even if it was from a job I was kind of dreading accepting).
Then one email led to a quick phone call which led to an interview and then a job offer! That job offer was followed by another staffing agency contacting me, setting up more interviews, and by the end of a week I had 2 prn jobs covering two nursing homes as well as home health care for my entire county. The hours are beyond flexible and I’ll be working with my favorite patient population, geriatrics.
We will continue to live off one income while funneling all my pay straight into paying off my student loans. It’s time for another evening spent reviewing our progress and writing out new short term goals, because this list has been all checked off.
In the past when I’ve started a new job I have usually done something fun like go out to dinner with my husband or buy a new dress. Those ideas are super tempting, but instead we are signing up for the 5/5/5 For Families on Reece’s Rainbow. It’s just one more way God has used Brayden, our catalyst child, to send ripples of change out into the world. Donating $5 on the 5th of every month so that 5 families who are traveling to adopt their children have a little more help is yet another simple way to be involved with adoption even when we are currently not in the adoption process. And if you wonder what five dollars can do, check out how much is given to each family. It is amazing how these tiny little acts of love can give support to families and help change lives forever.