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Read my random brain clearance (or scroll past it all for cute baby pic!)

November 17th, 2010 at 02:26 pm

I actually have a free moment at work! Although I still take pretty frequent breaks at work to check in on my favorite websites, these days typically it's with work hanging over my head so I have to make it quick. But right this moment, I don't have anything I need to do, and the two urgent jobs I was worrying about because they were taking too long to get to me are no longer quite as urgent, so it won't be a big deal if they come in late and I handle them tomorrow. That's a relief!

Though I've only had time to make a couple of quick goal-progress updates this month, there are actually lots of things going through my head that I've been wanting to blog about. At least a few financial, some not. So let's see if I can get to some before more work comes in!

***

Can't remember if I wrote about this, but the meeting with the lawyer went well. He feels that a third-parent adoption would probably be do-able. He'd even talked to an open-minded judge and a guardian ad litem (hard to explain, but key to the process) who said they would consider our case if they determined that we are good parents and have thought this through (repercussions if we ever break up, serious intent to provide child support in that event, etc.).

He gave us an estimated price tag of $4500 to $6500. He was nice and said they would try to cut costs where they could by letting someone with a lower billable rate do all the work that was easily passed off.

Of course, AS is planning to have a child in the next year or two as well, so we'd have to do the process all over again. He said it wouldn't be as expensive, maybe half the cost, because some of the research groundwork for the first case wouldn't need to be replicated for the second. Or, he said, we could wait until we have our second child, and then do one court case for both, saving some money and hassle in the long run. Then we might want to get our estate planning straightened out, though, so there would be something in place in case of something terrible happening to some or all of us before then. Just to make sure that little AA's future is as secure and happy as we could make it under the worst possible circumstances.

We decided on the latter option, so we're going to meet with him again next month to start the ball rolling on estate planning. Then we'll contact him again when we're ready to attempt the third-party adoption process.

It's so weird talking to a lawyer because you always have to be preparing for (and thus openly discussing) the worst-case scenario. For instance, though I'm doing most of the planning, communicating and budgeting for this, the lawyer is officially representing NT. (We all agreed this would make the most sense since he is going to be the biological link to both children.) He can consult with all of us, but if there was a nasty breakup, he would be NT's lawyer. Weird to talk about, but it could only be one of us!

As for funding this process, it's hard to say how we're going to do it. I don't know how much the estate planning will cost; presumably much less than $4500-$6500 since we don't need to go before a judge or pay a guardian ad litem. Still, I'm guessing estate planning + adoptions will cost anywhere from $5500 to $9000. Trying not to freak out about those numbers, because this is very important for our family. (ALSO not trying to think about how we'll probably need to do everything over again when we move to England someday, to make sure we're protected under British law!) Currently we have just over $2000 set aside, so that should be enough for a retainer (a pool of money the attorney's firm holds onto and draws from to pay their expenses). AS is continuing to do extremely lucrative freelance editing for this one place that seems to have a bottomless supply of work, so we're sort of hoping we can fund this entire thing without making painful budget cuts or dipping into savings. But we'll do whatever we need to do!

***

One thing I hope we don't have to cut is our commitment to making charitable donations next year. I've put in a budget line item of $150 per month, which I'm hoping I can stick to. We actually donated $100 to AS's employer yesterday; it was Give to the Max day in Minnesota, and there was a chance they would get matching funds for whatever they received that day. I don't think they won any matching money, but it still felt good to give to them, since it's one of our favorite publishers as well as the workplace that makes AS happy. Smile

***

Another expenditure I'm going to fund through AS freelance money is a photo session with our friend NJ, who is now completely self-employed as a photographer. It's an easy choice; I'll have to post an amazing shot of AA that he did recently! (Although kashi [who used to blog here] is also an amazing local photographer, so if I could afford two sessions, I would definitely hire her to do one.) See below for pic; cropped to protect my anonymity (such as it is), but still such a great picture!

***

So I'm still waiting to hear about the results of my annual review at work. I told my boss (fairly straightforwardly) that I really needed a raise to make up for all the extra work and responsibility that's been dumped on my desk since my boss left in July. I did my self-appraisal and (for once) praised my own accomplishments to the skies. Now it's up to him to try and get something for me. I've made up my mind that I will stay if they give me a raise of at least 2% (it would be my first raise in over three years; in fact my net salary has decreased each year because of rising healthcare costs). If they don't give me anything, or give me only a one-time bonus, or a raise less than 2%, I'm going to start applying for other jobs. It might take me a while to find something, since I know that well-paying full-time editing jobs are few and far between, and I wouldn't leave here until I had something lined up. I might even give them one more chance to pony up if I got a job offer that I wasn't super-excited about but could use as insurance/leverage. But this is all talk until I hear for sure from my boss. And there's no definite time frame for that. I have already started researching salaries and keeping an eye out for job postings, just in case I have to start looking soon.

***

With that uncertainty, I'm finding it hard to focus on what my 2011 goals will be, besides the commitment I already made to pay off one of AS's student loans by the end of next year. Also, my 2011 budget is a whole new creature, allocating our budget surplus into specific categories with specific amounts, which this year I just sort of applied as needed without too much strict planning. I'm a little nervous that I didn't make good decisions on that. (I don't know why that makes me nervous, since I can always rearrange them!)

If my budget DOES work well, then most of our financial decisions will already be made for us; automatic IRA contributions, a set amount of travel funds set aside, etc. So I'm not sure how effective annual goals would be. I'll still continue to make monthly debt-repayment benchmarks, just because it's fun to keep track of my debt as it slowly dwindles. And I'm sort of toying with having other, not strictly financial monthly goals as I have sporadically in the past. But overall annual goals? I just haven't decided if I have any goals for next year that are that concrete. We'll see.

***

OK, time to get going; I have to leave soon to pick up AA. Speaking of her, here's the photo I promised!

8 Responses to “Read my random brain clearance (or scroll past it all for cute baby pic!)”

  1. NJDebbie Says:

    OMG, she is so adorable!!!!!

  2. Homebody Says:

    I scrolled past.... she is sooo cute and happy! Okay I will go back and read now.

  3. kashi Says:

    You know I would love to photograph your family! AS is ridiculously adorable! We should seriously discuss this sometime...I would be happy to give you the SA Family Discount. Smile

  4. momcents Says:

    Adorable!!

  5. ndchic Says:

    She's so cute! You are very smart to get the estate issue taken care of. I think that it is also smart to wait until AS has her baby so you could cut down on costs for the third parent adoption. I didn't even know that there was such a thing. I learn something new everyday.

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    ndchic, my lawyer says it's slightly unprecedented, but he thinks he could build a case based on some similar precedents set by surrogates, same-sex couples with a third person helping them have a baby, and other instances. Typically when one person adopts, another must relinquish, but society is slowly making room for all sorts of new family structures. Luckily for us! LOL. Smile

  7. dmontngrey Says:

    Wow, what a happy baby!!! Smile Oh yes, I read through the brain clearance too. Very interesting with the adoptions and such. I'll be quite curious to hear how that all plays out.

  8. Looking Forward Says:

    Happy to read about the good news with the lawyer. Interesting post.

    AND the baby is sooo CUTE! What a wonderful picture. SO happy! I am also trying to get things together for family portraits, or at least pics of DS and DD.

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