On the six hour drive home from Mr. M's hometown, where we had gone to buy his grandpa's car after ours was totaled, we got to talking about the future and what our current thoughts were about adoption in particular. We both had been feeling very drawn to it, so I wanted Mr. M's input on the practicalities. In particular, when? When to start actually proceeding toward adoption instead of just thinking about it?
Ah, ignorance is bliss.
My oh-so-clear-headed husband reminded me of several things.
1. He's in a PhD program right now and only gets a small stipend.
2. We're living completely off my paycheck, which is great because it frees up his stipend for savings, most of which are currently going toward paying off student debt.
3. We have more student debt to pay off, to the tune of several thousand dollars. (Not huge compared to others' debt, I know, but still something.)
4. The most reasonable scenario re: his PhD work is that he'll finish his dissertation in December 2014. (That's next December - it takes a long time to write a book!) He hopes to defend in Spring 2015 while he's looking for a job. Then, when we're both working and so have two incomes, we can save for an adoption. Hopefully between living frugally and asking friends and family for help (we've already agreed we're open to that), we could have the money ready in a year.
now - Dec. 2014: write dissertation; pay down student loans
Jan - May 2015: defend dissertation; apply for jobs; possibly move elsewhere in the country
Sept 2015-Sept 2016: both work; save money; ask for financial help and start adoption process
Sept 2016-Sept 2017: proceed with adoption; hopefully adopt
So yeah. That's four years from now until when it seems reasonable to expect to adopt. That's if he can find a job right away, which is a big "if" these days.
(Caveat: yes, I know what happens when we make plans...God laughs. That's why I put "plan" in quotes. Plan, schplan. Either of us could die tomorrow. As we abundantly learned this past week. Or - please God please God please God - I could get pregnant right now...well, not right right now, but you know what I mean! But soon. And our whole adoption plan could take a big unexpected - ha ha - turn.)
But conceivably (ha ha - sorry, feeling loopy from an extra-stressful week) the plan above is Cold, Hard Reality. That's what it means to be married to a PhD student, to not be independently wealthy, to have student loans, to not want to be eyeballs deep in debt forever, and to not expect to win the lottery. (Although that would help.)
Discouraging. To say the least. Yes, I cried in the car when Mr. M laid that all out. Thank God he is an optimist - "it's only four years!" - because four years to me sounds like an absolute eternity. Our friends' first kids will be in kindergarten by then! How many pregnancy announcements is four years? Let's see...20 a year (an estimate)...times four...80. That's an army of babies.
I don't know. That's where we are. It makes me want a drink. Or two. Or eight.
Maybe someone else who has adopted sees something huge we're missing - but waiting seems to be the name of the game. And waiting isn't all bad. It can be purifying, I guess.
Maybe things will look brighter tomorrow, after things are settled down from this whole car drama. Right now it looks kinda bleak.
Jesus, I trust in you.