Friday, April 27, 2007
My 36K child
Dear ones, you are looking at a very expensive child asleep there. Yes, that's Miss Veeka in one of her I'm-pretending-I'm-a-turtle sleeping poses. Meanwhile, her mom is having a heart attack after finally getting around to adding up all the receipts for ALL the adoption expenses paid out since late 2003. Granted, there was an expensive detour through America World - lost $1,100 with them - after they swore they weren't doing Kazakhstan adoptions and booted me out of their agency. Then I found out 6 months later they were, in fact, premiering a Kazakh program. Am still shaking my head over that deceit.
Anyway, once I added up what it cost to get birth certificates, FBI checks, fingerprints, background checks, physicals, notaries, money orders, home study fees, plus apostilling all my notarized documents (Fed Ex made hundreds of dollars off of me), plus the international doctor's advice - at $350 a shot - oh, and the $12,000 fee to get a child under 2...not to mention the $255 for the visa that was supposed to be multiple entry - instead it was a messed-up single entry visa that cost me $300 in-country to fix, the list goes on and on.
I split up the expenses into Before and During. Before, I spent $17,747 before getting on the plane. Adoption agencies alone charge about $5,000 and it goes up from there. Then during my seven weeks in Kazakhstan, I dropped another $18,700. Now the $700 was souvenirs and gifts I could have done without. But 18K included an amazing $12,400 something I had to pay in cash to the adoption coordinator - who refused to give me a receipt! Yes, I complained to the American embassy about her - not that it will do any good. My adoption agency is supposed to give me a receipt at the end of the year for tax purposes - hopefully their figures will match my figures, especially since so much was not receipted. My Kazakh adoption coordinator - Baha is her name - kept on hitting me up for money to the point that on the day I got custody of little Veeka, I finally put my foot down. That was the day she wanted an extra $300 for the orphange.
Now, Rudny Specialized Baby House, as it was called, is a good place but again, Baha, wanted the money given to her, not to the orphanage director. I had no way of knowing if it'd end up paying for Baha's 5th car or if it'd really help the folks in Rudny. So I said I was not giving any more money. Baha got back at us, however; as reported previously, on the day we flew out of the country, we got socked with a $380 bill for our kids' visas by the US embassy. Baha had "forgotten" to tell us about that expense.
The rest of the 18K was for hotels, meals, Internet cafes, strollers and just surviving for seven weeks in north central Kazakhstan. Fortunately, the hotel in Kostenai, where we spent 6 weeks, was $60/day; cheap compared to Almaty, where we paid $100/day. Life in central Asia is not cheap; when I flew into the country, the coordinators said they couldn't find any rooms for us in Almaty, so I was on my own. I stayed at the Hyatt - the only place I could locate on the Internet. Two nights there was $879.
People ask: How did you come up with that money? Well, thank God for home equity loans, book advances, gifts from parents and the Lord's supernatural provision. Oh, and my car is going on 11 years old. I'm "only" in debt $7,000, which will get taken care of next year when the federal government gives me the adoption reimbursement of 10K. So we're not swimming in green stuff here by far. Fortunately, generous friends have insured that Veeka has enough clothes and toys to last us until the Second Coming. And for my huge investment, I have a little cutie pie who greets me every morning with giggles and shouts.