The Income Issue

So in the fall, I mentioned that there was this big upset in our process because of a hard decision that had to be made. The decision was mostly on my part because it involved a choice that would affect our income for a period of time and therefore might become a problem with the adoption.

I am in my last semester of graduate school currently, but part of the requirement to graduate was to complete a practicum in lieu of a thesis or comprehensive exam. That means doing an internship which in turn affected my ability to keep my full-time position, which was paying pretty well. I needed to complete a certain number of hours in one semester at the risk of losing my benefits with my job (like health insurance) if I dropped under 30 hours a week. Two classes, an internship and trying to work 30 hours a week? Talk about exhaustive.

Two opportunities dropped into my lap literally within 24 hours of each other: an internship with one of the best organizations in my field and the chance to work for a renowned professor in my field as a graduate assistant for a year. The GA position would give me half my normal pay for 20 hours a week as well as cover my tuition and it provided health insurance to myself and D. But that still meant a drop in income and a definite job end date. However, after consulting with D and with our previous SW, we all agreed it was not something I could pass up – the references and experience I could gain would be invaluable vs. staying at my current position. The potential to earn way more in the future was important to our future as a family.

So here I am – three months out from finishing my degree and being faced with unemployment. I am currently searching for a job, but I worry about how this is going to affect the adoption. We have a new social worker who was not part of the discussion to weigh pro/cons when it came to the income debate. I am worried now that our finances do not look as great as they use to. And finance IS part of the family/adoption discussion. I feel it is important to share how this goes down for others who may be considering a career change mid-process.

These are the facts as they stand:

  • D makes enough to cover all our current bills, some of which will disappear soon. A personal loan, a car loan, a student loan. So by the time we get to a match and bring the little one home, if we were relying solely on his income, we’d probably again have just enough to cover the new expenses.
  • We have enough saved in our account to cover the whole of the adoption right now. Plus about three months worth of bills if we were to both lose our jobs for some reason. That leaves wiggle room for me to find a job.
  • If I start a job as soon as the summer starts, there is no telling when a match might occur and how that will affect my standing/benefits, etc. I need to get a job right away because D’s job current has no insurance benefits and the open market would eat away at our savings.
  • If we think the match will happen fast enough, I might just try to look for a job once we come home from South Africa. We really need two incomes in this region to save for college and retirement, so it’s not at though I’m looking for a reason to stay home.

It is weighing  heavily on my mind. I know I made the right decision back in September of last year, but the aftermath of my choice is now looming before me. The income loss in short term, but there is still no knowing how this is going to affect our adoption until we meet with the SW and/or our dossier is in South Africa with their officials noting the fact I have no job… Will keep you all appraised!

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