Search This Blog

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Here we Come Adoptioning

With Sara nearing the third trimester of her pregnancy it is time to get the adoption planning for Kazmer underway. We both are in awe at how fast the pregnancy is going, but honestly, and shamefully, I think our lives have been too busy to really sit back and enjoy it. I don't think either of us is excited at the thought of the adoption process. I know I'm not, but it's one of those necessary evils. Per the wisdom of our attorney, this time shouldn't be quite the pain in the ass that it was with Graisyn. We should save time and money. Given my love of time and money, I am very excited about this. I am also, for lack of a better term, cautiously optimistic.

The first conference call with our attorney took place this past Wednesday. I scooted out of work early in high spirits. I was anticipating a productive call with explicit action items given to each party. Sara's phone rang at 3:00 p.m. She answered and placed our lawyer on speakerphone. On the other end a pleasant voice chimed a "hello" and a friendly laugh and a "hey, how's the pregnancy going" to which we provided appropriate responses. It was small talk, but it was needed. The three of us were getting reacquainted after nearly four years of attorney free bliss.

She, our attorney, is an attractive, younger woman. She works at The Law Center for Children & Families. She is matter of fact and by the book and I very much like it that way. Though she's not gay, she likes us gays and she is an advocate that is dyed-in-the-wool. She likes boxers too, so that's an extra added bonus. Anyway, she quickly guided the conversation to the obvious point of discussion, adoption. She told us there were some changes to the process. She also told us not to worry because the changes affected mostly her, not us. Thank God.

Still, there were changes. First, and at the forefront of my brain, there was no increase in the cost of her fees. In fact, we're eager to receive a discount for it being our second adoption case with their office. Only a $3,000 flat fee this time (not including travel and mileage) instead of the original $5,000. Second, and we are very sorry to our tree friends, there would be more paper. Lots more. A nice lady by the name of Shelley Jay tried to kill the entire concept of gay/lesbian families for all the family-trying homos in the state of Wisconsin. Our attorney even mentioned that the chaos Jay's case created caused them to put all alternative family adoptions on hold for nearly four months. To think one woman wanted a child with another and went through the same shit that we are going through to protect our family only to throw it in the face of her ex, her child, the professionals that made her family possible, and the gay community because she wanted to terminate her parental rights and claimed that she didn't sign a single document agreeing to the adoption to begin with. Bitch pleeeassse! I recommend Googling that one if you care to learn more.

Back to my family.

We will be dissolving ourselves in a ream or three of paper from our attorney's office. Per our conversation with her on Wednesday, she will be putting that package in the mail. Upon receipt, we are to follow the instructions provided with the contents to guide us through the paperwork. Sounds vaguely familiar. We can do that. We were also instructed to contact the adoption agency to schedule the home study update. Since we had already completed a full one with Graisyn, she advised that this should just be an update and to expect a charge somewhere in the realm of $500 from the adoption agency. Fair enough. We wrapped up the call with our attorney and proceeded to reach out to the Community Adoption Center to schedule our home study update.

Sara dialed and again put the phone on speaker. A crass lady at the center answered. Sara explained who we were and what we needed. Snidely, the lady informed us that they would not do an update to our home study. Sara reiterated that we already had a home study done through their agency with the birth of our daughter, Graisyn. I could feel my blood starting to boil as this woman sighed, asked us who our case worker had been, and told us to hold on a minute.

She returned to the phone seconds later. With my chest growing tight and blood running hot, she advised that our case worker "kind of" recalled us and that they still weren't willing to update our home study. She told us home studies are only good for one year. Bull shit. If that were the case you'd have stated that right off the bat. Why then did you put us hold? She carried on with the costs of the home study and, with as much grace as she had managed to muster thus far in the conversation, told us that they had doubled their prices from a $1,500 flat fee to a $3,000 flat fee and that this, of course, did not include travel and mileage.

I butted in and asked her to repeat herself. She obliged to which I interrupted again, "You're kidding me, right? If this is going to be the case with your agency, then we'll find another who is willing to work with us."

"Okay," she said and we hung up the phone. I looked at Sara. Sara looked at me. It was the "now what" look. Sara called and left a message for our attorney to provide alternative adoption agency options and we scanned the Internet. We came across an agency listed on our attorney's Web site and decided to give them a whirl. Sara handed me the phone. I pushed it back. "You have more tact," I said. She dialed.

A comforting voice answered. "Adoptions of Wisconsin," she said, "How can I help you?"

She said, "How can I help you?" Exhale and loosen up chest of mine. She wants to help us. Sara explained our situation and the message the last agency delivered to us. The woman advised that they could do our home study, but that it would need to be processed as a full and not an update as they did not do the original filings. She even put us on hold to find the most cost effective method for us. The costs would be a $1,200 flat fee excluding travel and mileage. A bit more gut wrenching than the $500 we were anticipating, but much more doable than the $3,000 the woman at the Community Adoption Center laid on us. I'd really like to know how one agency can pull a number of $3,000 out of the air and the other can perform the exact same functions for $1,200. I'm going to call and write the Community Adoption Center for an explanation. I'll let everyone know when I get slapped with the harassment lawsuit.

We ended the call with the woman from Adoptions of Wisconsin. It was 4:30 p.m. by the time all was said and done. An hour and a half of phone time and we were both fatigued. Shortly following our final call, Sara already had the paperwork from Adoptions of Wisconsin in her inbox to complete. Fifty-five pages of peering into our lives. Fifty-five pages of interpretation and judgement including, but not limited to, full body physicals. Most people can get that for free. We prefer to pay for ours.

I finished the evening sobbing with frustration and exhaustion while folding a load of laundry. Sara played around on her computer. She didn't cry at all. Funny, it's usually the other way around. "There's nothing we can do," she said, "This is just what we have to do. The state just isn't there yet, so there's no sense in being upset over something we can't fix."

She's right. I know that she's right, but I just want to know why. Why isn't our state there yet and why can't I fix it?

No comments:

Post a Comment