Friday, August 31, 2007

Stupid Plumber Part 2

The new plumber didn't show up! I called and they answered which is an improvement over the last company. They had 3 guys call in sick today. Convenient that they're "sick" on the Friday of a holiday weekend. So, they can't start the job until Tuesday.
Feel my pain.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New Photo

Why, oh why, must we take another picture? The last one is only a few years old. And it was taken in my pre-hospital-weight years. *Sigh* Those were the days. But, rules are rules so off we went.
  • Photographer - We begged. We pleaded. We bribed. And finally, the world renowned photographer that took the photo for our last adoption agreed to come out of retirement and shoot us again. Okay, it's Jeff's sister and it only took one phone call. Thanks Michelle!
  • Wardrobe - We lacked inspiration in the wardrobe department and elected to don the same ensembles as last time. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  • Location - Don't laugh...we decided to shoot at the campus where Michelle and I work. They pay a ton of cash to keep the campus beautiful so why not take advantage of the scenery?
  • The Result - We got 3 decent choices before the battery ran dead on our camera. Vote for your fav using the poll at the right and maybe, just maybe, your choice could end up on our "dear birthparent" letter. Act now! Time is limited.

Some restrictions apply. No purchase necessary. Void in Maine, Delaware and Rhode Island. See package for details. Limited to supply on hand. Despite all of these warnings, there is no real prize in this contest. Just the satisfaction of getting a vote.

Option 1 (the park bench)

Option 2 (the wind blown look)

Option 3 (the zen garden)

The winner by a hair...THE ZEN GARDEN. (Get it, by a hair? Cause it just beat the windblown look. That's funny stuff.)

The park bench (4%)

The wind blown look (41%)

The zen garden (54%)

Stupid Plumber

I don't know where to post this. The remodel stuff has spilled over into the adoption blog because right now, they are wound together. But to try to keep the adoption blog about...well...the adoption, I've decided to give the dreaded remodel update here.

After MUCH drama (which I don't think you really want to know about), our plumber did not show up. I suspected it was going to happen since they had not returned any of my many messages or e-mails. Thursday night my dread hit a crescendo but there was still a nagging hope that they might appear Friday as scheduled. Friday afternoon I began negotiating with myself to give them "just one more hour." The mental negotiation began at around noon and finally, at 4pm, I officially gave up. Fortunately, another plumber who had bid on the job is able to start next Friday putting us just 1 week behind. (If you don't count the 6 weeks we waited for the last plumber to start.) Admitting defeat is tough for me but somehow I'm finding peace with it. What's a week in the scheme of things? Ugh, don't answer that question.

Last night as we doodled on the paper tablecloth at our favorite little neighborhood Italian place, I kicked off a game of hangman. The answer was "stupid plumber." Jeff got it after only 5 guesses...clearly we're both thinking the same thing. As my final act of vengeance (as if evil thoughts and hateful hangman answers weren't enough), may I encourage all of you to ban Prestige Services, Inc.

The weekend hasn't been a waste by any means. I'm working on refacing a brick fireplace and Jeff has been tearing out a soffit in the living room. The soffit was one of those things that several contractors knocked on and said it would be no problem to remove. Once Jeff tore off the drywall and exposed the ceiling joists, we realized they were very wrong. That sucker was load bearing. Ugh again. But the rest of the room has exposed beams so we decided to lift it to the ceiling to match the other beams. With some expert help from our neighbor (who happens to be a contractor), the beam was in place in a matter of hours. It's so nice to sit on the couch and have an unobstructed view of the tree tops through the now visible skylights. And it really opens the room.

Despite this setback, we continue to move forward. Here are some recent pics of the chaos that is our home.

Goodbye soffit, hello skylights!

Cabinets with crown molding. That space on the right is for our monster sized fridge and freezer! Yipee!!

Replaced a slider with french doors. Oh, and the pool is gone. In about 10 years, our kids are gonna be really mad when they find out there was a pool out there!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Question of the Week

Last summer I was fortunate enough to attend a conference about arts ministries. In that conference, I participated in a breakout session entitled "Writing Realistic Dialogue." The instructor, an accomplished writer and actor, gave us this assignment to complete before arriving at the conference:

Write the first 15-20 lines of the following scenario.

SCENARIO: In 2005, Jane, an interior designer, did a remodel for a wealthy friend, who paid her an extra $5000 on the side, and told her to consider it a tip. The wealthy friend did not report it to the IRS, and Jane is wondering if she should report it on her tax returns. She and her husband John fought about it last night (she doesn't want to report it, but he thinks she should) and the fight ended by John telling her he would live with her decision but he had to know first thing the next morning.

The scene takes place that next morning.

In those first 15-20 lines, make sure you include the following:

1. The basic exposition: Your audience doesn't know anything about
Jane and John or their situation.

2. Jane's decision: Jane needs to reveal her decision to report the
money or not, depending on which way you want to go.

I'm used to writing happy endings. When writing sketches for our church services, we usually keep things light and funny. It makes for an easier transition into the sermon for our pastor and it makes the congregation laugh. So when I saw this assignment, I followed my traditional formula and came up with this:

(Jane enters with John sitting at the breakfast table reading the paper.)

Jane: Morning

John: Morning (without looking up from paper)

Jane: (awkward silence as she gets a cup of coffee and sits down slowly. Softly says) John, I’ve made a decision.

John: (Puts down paper and looks up expecting bad news) And?

Jane: (clearly rehearsed) Ok first, tips are common in interior design. I talked to several other designers and none of them report tips. Second, Sharon isn’t reporting it on her taxes so if I do she might get audited. I don’t want to get our friend in trouble just for being generous. Third, because she gave me $5,000, it would be taxed as a bonus which is 50%. All of my hard work and Uncle Sam gets half. Fourth, we need…

John: (interrupts, annoyed) Jane! We talked about all of this last night. I told you I’d live with your decision, just tell me what it is already.

Jane: (calmly) Sure you’ll live with my decision. But I want you to agree. It shouldn’t be all on me.

John: You said it yourself. It’s your money so it’s your decision.

Jane: If it’s my decision, why are you mad?

John: (angrily) I’m not mad.

Jane: Huh, could’ve fooled me.

John: (sighs) I’m not mad. (Jane raises her eyebrows) I’m not. I’m just… I’m frustrated. Look, I know it’s a hard decision. Lots of people don’t report tips. And you worked hard for that money. It just doesn’t feel very honest to take the money under the table.

Jane: I know. That’s why decided to report it.

John: What?

Jane: I’m reporting the $5000 on our taxes. It’s the right thing to do.

John: Why didn’t you tell me that 5 minutes ago?

Jane: I would have but you interrupted me. This worked out better anyway. You were making it such a black and white decision. I needed you to see the gray. To see why this was a hard call.

John: But in the end, I was right.

Jane: In the end, I made the decision that I could live with.

John: Yeah but I was right.

Jane: It was my call.

John: But I was right.

Jane: For crying out loud. Is that all you care about?

John: Hey, I don’t get to hear it that often. Come on. Say it.

Jane: Fine. You were right. (John gives her a big hug.) Right about marrying me.

I know, I know...ahhhhhhh. Isn't that adorable? After a day at this inspirational conference, I wasn't feeling quite as confident in the script. I felt that it was realistic but just a bit too tidy. So, on the spur of the moment about 10 minutes before this breakout session, I grabbed my laptop and hammered out this second version:

(Jane enters with John sitting at the breakfast table reading the paper.)

Jane: Morning

John: Morning (without looking up from paper)

Jane: (awkward silence as she gets a cup of coffee and sits down slowly. Softly says) John, I’ve made a decision.

John: (Puts down paper and looks up expecting bad news) And?

Jane: And I’m sticking with my decision.

John: Fine (puts paper back up)

Jane: Fine.

John: (after a long pause, drops the paper down) No, it’s not fine.

Jane: Hey, you said it was my decision. I’ve decided not to report the $5,000 on our taxes.

John: But Jane; it’s wrong and you know it.

Jane: No, l don’t know it so don’t tell me what to think.

John: C’mon. Sharon gave you the money and told you to consider it a tip. Not a gift, a tip. You’re supposed to report tips, they’re just another form of income.

Jane: Look, I’ve asked a lot of other interior designers and they don’t report tips so why should I?

John: Um, let’s see. Because it’s the right thing to do? Because it’s the honest thing to do? Because it’s the law?!

Jane: Please, we’re not going to get audited. Sharon isn’t reporting it. In fact, if I report it and she doesn’t then she could get audited. I’m not going to punish our friend for being generous.

John: You’ve obviously made up your mind and nothing I’m going to say is going to change it.

Jane: Stop making this so black and white. You’re blowing this whole thing out of proportion. I mean you act like I’m stealing or something.

John: (stands up) You know what Jane, you’re right. You’re not stealing. You’re just lying…again. (leaves the room)

I like that it leaves the audience guessing and that it layers in a sub-plot. Parts still seem a little contrived but it's hard to communicate the exposition without it feeling forced.

Ultimately the class volunteered their scripts to be read in class for the instructor to critique. Because I didn't have a hard copy of either script, I wasn't able to volunteer. But I was very interested to see the various approaches to the same scene. Some were very light and superficial, too much in fact. Most were quite good. The instructor particularly favored one involving a description of what was being prepared for breakfast. It was a good lesson in the art of painting a picture with words. I tend to get to the point in my writing and may forget the many virtues of setting the scene. The point is, I learned a great deal from this little class. Both from my own experience with 2 versions of the same scene and from other's approaches.

For a myriad of reasons, the writing opportunities I have enjoyed with my church are slowing up if not disappearing. This was a very important ministry to me personally. It helped me get involved in a new church. It helped me find my voice artistically. And it helped me reach people for Christ. I don't want to lose that. So if any of you need something written, I'm your girl. Seriously, you never know when you might need a script. I've written and produced two small pieces for work. Heck, even if you just want to be entertained, give me a scene description and I'll throw something together. I'm looking for ways to keep this writing muscle in shape!

Which brings me to the question of the week:

Which version of this scene do you prefer? Why?
I'm not looking for glowing praise (thought I wouldn't stop you if you truly felt the need). I'm truly interested in which version you find more interesting. Or if you have another idea for the scene, I'd love to hear that too.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nothing New

Nothing new to report. Jeff got his physical but I forgot to give him the form for the doctor to fill out. So I'm working on having the form completed. Other than that...we're just waiting for the home visit.

And we're waiting for the plumbers to start on Friday so the house has a CHANCE of being presentable for our existing home visit scheduled for September 10th. Granite will be installed on the 7th so we'll be cutting it very close. Yes, I STILL know I could push out the home visit but aren't you getting sick of waiting? I know I am. We have individual appointments and another home visit after this one which requires yet more waiting. So we're gonna try to make September 10th work...

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I used to envy people with amazing testimonies of how God's grace pulled them from the brink of divorce or led them out of a drug filled haze. These extraordinary examples of God's unending mercy and steadfast love reach people. No one was going to ask me to stand up in church and talk about growing up in a Christian home, accepting Christ after church camp and getting baptized on Easter at age 12. *Yawn* Don't get me wrong, I'm not sure I actually want to live the events that lead to other people's awesome testimonies. I think it's just the writer in me who wants the great story for myself. (Sad but true.) Regardless, I really thought that God reached people through the extraordinary.

Well last night I was at my dear friend Jennie's baby shower listening to her friends extol her virtues when it hit me. God uses the ordinary just as much as the extraordinary. Let me explain.

Jennie has been such a blessing to me. We met in jr. high and remained friends until going our separate ways for college. 10 years later, we were surprised to find ourselves sitting a pew apart in church. As I reflect back on our years of friendship, what strikes me is how unchanging Jennie is. Even in the throws of puberty, she never got caught up in the high school drama. Through it all, she remains as her friends describe her, down-to-earth, welcoming and genuine.

I recall sitting in her kitchen 5 years ago telling her of my plans to start a family. This plan included even the month this child would be born. After all, we have far too many fall and winter birthdays in the family. It would only be prudent to have a baby in the spring! In a gentle and loving way, Jennie casually wondered aloud whether I had considered that our plans aren't always the same as God's plans. I think had the tables been reversed, I would likely have smiled and added my 2 cents to the plans. But Jennie was holding me accountable. This is just one example of how God used Jennie's ordinary, day-to-day life to make sure I heard His voice.

So if you find yourself feeling ordinary as you go about the business of living, just remember that God may be using the way you respond to a driver who cuts you off or the way you talk to your kids or even the quality of your work. Speaking of which, lunchtime is over. Back to work. But before I go, I would like to thank all of you, my ordinary friends, for all that you've taught me through your words and your actions. God bless you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Ride Continues

Looking back through this blog, it certainly contains an eclectic mix of thoughts. But that is probably also a fair representation of my rambling journey. The remodel and other extracurricular projects are occupying significant time and mind space. The humor, sarcastic though it may be, is once again gaining a foothold. The meltdowns are getting further apart but are still unpredictable. I've said that cancer is a roller coaster. So is grief. And I'm beginning to realize that grief is a ride which never ends. The bumps and twists just become smaller and less nauseating perhaps (hopefully). Here's a few of the recent bumps and twists in my ride.

I don't begrudge anyone a moment of happiness with their children. And generally I enjoy talking about other people's kids and celebrating their milestones. But the other night, my manager's wife (who also works for the company) was hosting a small gathering at their home. When their 3 beautiful kids came down to say goodnight, I noticed their 2 year old daughter was wearing jammies similar to what Lillian used to wear. I promptly lost it and couldn't seem to regain my composure. Ahhhhhh! I hate that!!!

So when the invitation was sent for 2nd annual family picnic at work, I immediately hesitated. On one hand, I feel like I should be there. It's during work hours and I am a member of this team. But on the other hand, I don't want go only to find myself turning into the ridiculous blubbering girl hiding in the corner. I have memories of many events before Lillian was born but there are a few that we only did with her. This family picnic one of those "Lillian events." When I think of the family picnic, I think of Lillian in the bouncy house. They are so intertwined that I can't imagine going without her. And honestly, I can't imagine watching the other happy families without feeling insanely jealous. So this will be the first event that I decline due to grief. It makes me feel weak and selfish. Can't I be happy for people without feeling sorry for myself?

On Sunday, we visited Lillian's grave site to deliver some pretty roses from our yard. I knew it was recently completed but seeing her nameplate added to the boulder brought an overwhelming sense of permanence. Someone left a little praying girl figurine and a tiny elephant figurine in front of her nameplate. Jeff arranged them by the vase and said it looked like they were having a tea party. How appropriate! Man I miss tea parties...and family picnics...and her unique little giggle...and, and, and...the list is endless.

My favorite roller coaster is Space Mountain at Disneyland. It's dark so you don't know where you're headed. The darkness makes a relatively tame ride more exciting. What I wouldn't give to see where this ride, called grief, is heading! If I could know when the bumps and twists are coming, I could brace myself. But I guess this is the perfect lesson in trusting God. He is with me always. Not to remove the bumps but to help me through them.

Cause I'm a Blond

Apparently not everyone grew up in the 80's and may not have recognized Julie Brown's song in my blond cabinet post. Soooo, here it is in all it's 80's glory. Author's note - This video is PG as it's offensive on many wonderful levels (and I can't quite make out the opening to see if the picture is G rated).

Friday, August 10, 2007

Guilty Pleasure

After Lillian passed away, when people would ask me how I was doing, I was careful to say "okay" or "not too bad". Every once in a while I would slip and respond with the traditional "good". Which inevitably would be met with "good as can be expected I suppose." Instant guilt. I know that wasn't the intention but grief is a strange thing. One minute you're a weeping wreck and the next minute you're actually doing good. Not as good as can be expected but good. Granted those minutes are few and far between at times. It was interesting feeling guilty about feeling good.

As Jeff and I get excited about a new baby, it too is not without a fair share of guilt. It's as though we're not supposed to look forward to a future without Lillian. I wish with all my heart that Lillian was here to join us in welcoming a new brother or sister. Because that's the way I'm looking at this adoption. People have commented that we can't replace Lillian and that is true. But like any parent with more than one child, we can find room in our hearts to love another baby. And that baby will be Lillian's brother or sister even if they won't have a chance to meet on this side of eternity.

So I am wrestling with how to tie the past and the future together. How do we tell this new baby about their big sister? Do the pictures stay up as though our beautiful two year old is frozen in time? How do I remember all the moments with Lillian while new memories are forming everyday with a new baby? While this adoption feels so right, I am praying for wisdom in how to make this transition.

Living the Dream

Disease is like the water and you are like the sand.
It comes in and out of your life like waves,
and shapes you to be the person you are,
but it is not who you are.
I believe in
"Living the Dream"
Scottie Somers
I just got back from OC baby. Ugh, you wanna feel bad about yourself? Take a trip to the plastic surgery capital of the world. That place is full of beautiful people...but not in a genuine way. Sad really.
But among the fake I found something real. The highlight of my business trip was meeting a dynamic guy named Scottie. He is a forty year old rocker with Cystic Fibrosis. Despite living with this disease, if you ask how he is doing, he responds "I'm living the dream." How's that for perspective? A few months ago, with the help of Hurley (a Nike subsidiary), he started the "Living the Dream" movement to help kids and young adults with chronic and terminal illnesses live life to the fullest everyday.

I think my eyes and heart have truly been opened to this world of chronic illness in children. Sometimes I long for the innocence of my prior blissful ignorance. But mostly I long to cure the diseases that rob our children of a long, happy life. And I'm always inspired by individuals who turn disease into something productive.
Shout out to Scottie and the GREAT work he's doing. Keep on living the dream!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Wanted: Plumber

What does a plumber have to do with adoption? More than even I would have guessed. I'll spare you the details but let's just say the many plumbing contractors we've met have either been 1) a touch on the shady side, 2) not completely honest with their job schedules or 3) unreliable to show up or even give a bid.

"Okay, you're in a pickle. But I still don't understand what this has to do with adoption."

The home visit! The next step is a home visit. Which means the home must be in some semblance of order. And all work is on hold waiting for the plumbing. Let me map out the timeline:

  • Plumbing +1 days - drywall bathroom
  • Plumbing +2 days - install cabinets
  • Plumbing +3 days - template counter tops (14 days for fabrication)
  • Plumbing +4 days - start flooring, tile, trim, etc & install tub
  • Plumbing +16 days - finish flooring, tile, trim, etc
  • Plumbing +17 days - install counter tops
  • Plumbing +18 days - install sinks, faucets
  • Plumbing +19 days - final electrical connections
  • Plumbing +20 days - finish details (install knobs, paint, decorate...)

So if we work like dogs, it will take 20 days after the plumbing is complete before we would be ready for a home visit. And that's if I can get the other contractors (cabinets, counter tops, electrical) back out on the appropriate dates. Right now we have a plumber scheduled to start on August 24th and end on August 28th. Add the 20 days and that puts completion at September 18th. 8 days after our scheduled home visit.

Now I could push out the home visit. I could be patient. Stop laughing, I know I'm not patient but I could be. C'mon, doesn't it seem ridiculous to have the remodel and the adoption on hold waiting for a PLUMBER? So I thought I'd put out the call for help and see if anyone knows of a good plumber looking for some immediate work. I know it's a long shot...but what have I got to lose?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Application & Intake Interview

We just got back from our first adoption appointment, the Application and Intake Interview. Unlike last time, I wasn't nervous. I think it helps that we knew what to expect. Typically this meeting is an opportunity for the counselor to learn more about us and understand our adoption vision. Since we already know the counselor, we spent the majority of the time catching up on the last three years.

Jeff and I have been discussing how blessed we were to have such a great relationship with Lillian's birthfamily. And that we would love to have a girl again (the pink room is already set up after all). What we have come to realize is that we cannot have the same expectations for this next adoption. We are opening ourselves fully to whatever baby and birthfamily God chooses to connect us with. Interestingly, one of the points the counselor made today was exactly that. It's good to see that we're on the same page.

Knowing what to expect also means being ahead of the paperwork game. Though typically this paperwork is completed toward the end of the process, we have eagerly submitted:

  • Dear Birthparent letter - This is sent to all birthfamilies and is the way they narrow their choices. They are also posting these letters online now so you can see some examples on the OA&FS website. You know that saying "you never get a second chance to make a first impression"? Well, this is the first impression. We tried to use the same photo as last time (seen above) but they want us to get an updated one. So what if my hair is 6 inches shorter? Sheesh. Ugh, I guess it's picture time.

  • Autobiography - One for each parent. 3-5 pages recapping your life, values, experiences, etc. Try getting all that into 3 pages! These autobiographies are included in the vast packet of information sent to a birthfamily once they have narrowed their choices. (Once we're in the pool, if we get really anxious we can ask how many times our "packet" has been sent out. It's a good indicator on how well your Dear Birthparent letter is resonating.)

  • Photo collage - 3-5 page collage of casual pictures reflecting our family, home, vacations, hobbies, etc. This is also included in the "packet" and gives a realistic view of our lives. Last time we put this together, I had NO digital photos. How's that for progress? This time, I used exclusively digital photos and put the collage together on the computer. It was much easier. But the pictures only reflect the last 3 years of our lives so we made need to dig into the ole hard copy pics.

  • Letters of reference - My wonderful friends and family have already turned in letters for us. Wow, you guys are fast! We need 5 letters of reference - one of which needs to be from a neighbor. That neighbor piece is new. We only know our neighbors superficially so I'm hoping that a friend who lives a few blocks away will count. Or as Jeff pointed out, the neighbors can just tell them that we are quiet and went for walks with Lillian frequently. Wouldn't that make for a glowing recommendation?!

We also signed the agency contract detailing the process and our commitment. And we paid for the next step in the process. Speaking of which, the next step is a home visit planned for September 10th. I would prefer that this was sooner but the house realistically won't be put together before September. What a great motivator to finish this remodel...

Happiness NOW

Times are tough in my cancer community. I should say that times are tough for those of us here on earth. As you know, two weeks ago Chelsea Rae went to be with Jesus. And on Friday, Frederick also earned his wings. Last night, an MRI showed that Lexie's tumor has returned.

I know God has a plan. It's just hard to see it right now. But I am so small, it's no wonder that if I can't understand all of God's ways. I praise God that these kids who have endured so much on earth, are free from pain in heaven. And I ask God for strength for the many people left behind who miss them dearly.

Chelsea Rae's mom posted on her site: "I pray that you never forget those things which God has revealed to you through Chelsea’s journey." This is what God revealed to me through Chelsea Rae and her family. God is good. He blesses us with life so we may prepare for an eternity in heaven. And we should not squander that blessing. Instead, we should live life to the fullest.

After they stopped treatment, Chelsea Rae's family made the most of her final months. Whereas my nature would be to draw inward during difficult times, they set out to make memories. Shopping sprees from Make-A-Wish. Family camping trips. Concerts to meet her favorite Christian artists. While I read as Chelsea's mom described extending a trip to California because Chelsea was not ready to leave, God opened my eyes. We were planning to wait a little longer to begin the adoption process. Just until the remodel was complete. But God placed a sense of urgency on my heart. I knew at that moment that just like Chelsea's family, we should not postpone happiness one minute longer.

As I wade through my own grief at the loss of these children and the setback with Lexie, that sense of urgency grows. If you have been postponing happiness, may I encourage you to (in the words of my great company) "just do it."

Friday, August 3, 2007

Question of the Week

Peer pressure is a very powerful weapon. It should be used for good not evil. In this case, I'm not sure which way it is leading. Thanks to the pressures of friends and my public declaration that I was considering joining myspace in a vain attempt to stay in touch with the youth of the world, I have gone ahead and taken the leap.

I'm not convinced that I will be a true myspace girl. I don't have the time nor the vast network of myspace friends to make it worthwhile. Hey, I've got 2 blogs. It's hard enough to keep up with that! But I've created a very boring, very non-descript url entitled If this thing snowballs, I may have to start lying about my age. I think you have to be under 30 or famous to have any ms cred. (That's short for myspace credibility. Really, if I have to explain it, it's just not worth using slang.) Until then, I'm just in it to appease my youthful friends and spy on their fun filled lives.

Since I had a heck of a time coming up with a simple yet unused url name, I thought it would be fun to ask you this question of the week:

What would your url name be?
(myspace, blog, facebook, webpage, whatever)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Dear Lori (Part 2)

Dear Lori,

Just curious - and of course, you don't have to answer if you don't want to...obviously, it's your blog...anyway, here's the question...How much does it cost to do a local adoption?

Curious about Costs

Dear Curious,

I don't mind talking about the high finances of adoption. According to the always-accurate Internet, private adoptions range in price from $5k-$40k. International adoptions from $7k-$30k. And public agency adoptions from $0-$2k. Adoptions through our agency run about $20,000.

I'm sure you're thinking that you're in the wrong line of work. Wanna get rich? Start an adoption agency, right? Wrong. Our agency is non-profit. *Gasp* Yep, you heard right...they don't make any money. Then, where is all that money going? Okay, you asked for it. In true math fashion, here is our story problem for today:

With 3 offices in Oregon and Washington, OA&FS places on average 50 children per year. At $20k per adoption, they earn about $1.0m per year. They offer free counseling for all pregnant parents and lifelong counseling for all birthfamilies in addition to facilitating the adoptions and educating the public about open adoption. Based on the services they offer, their expenses include legal fees, operating costs, staff wages and benefits, marketing, etc. In wages alone, how many people could they employee if they paid on average $50,000 per year? (Put your calculator away, the answer is 20.)

Now I don't know how many people they employ or what they pay but I do know that $1.0m doesn't go very far in the business world. It's easy to see how $20k per adoption can still leave them coming up short. And to be clear, in case there are any questions, the birthparents aren't getting any compensation.

The good news is that there is a federal tax credit, for those who qualify, to make adoption more affordable. And my company is one of many that offers an adoption expense reimbursement program. For 2007 the federal tax credit is around $11k and my company will reimburse up to $4k in expenses. It's warms my heart to see government and business working to make adoption more affordable.

I hope that helps shed some light on the wonderful world of adoption financing. But when it comes right down to it, can you put a price on the happiness that a baby brings?


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