The cost of raising Kerri.

Before I start, let me just say that my daughter is priceless. But oh boy is she expensive. And I am not talking about the adoption costs!

I made an appointment with an audiologist for confirmation of Kerri's diagnosis and further recommendations in regards to Kerri's auditory processing issue. That is going to cost us $550.00, which will probably not be covered by insurance since I think we reached our $500.00 cap the very first month of speech therapy.

And then there is the child psychologist who has to perform the psych education evaluation: that runs around $400.00 an hour!

And lastly, the specialist that will be looking into her visual dyslexia. All of these are out of pocket expenses. And I am not figuring in her glasses, dental visits, private speech therapy, medications for asthma and psoriasis, etc. Or the normal raising-a-kid expenses: like clothing, food, extra curricular activities such as Kung Fu, Girl Guides or gymnastics (which she starts soon).

The reason I am posting this is not to vent about the cost, but as a warning to all you prospective parents - bio or adoptive. We adopted Kerri as a healthy non-special needs child. She was not healthy, (and I am not including all the therapy for attachment issues, like RAD and PTSD, or the plastic surgeon that helped re-shape her skull, or the one week hospital stay for RSV). And she has special needs. So when you start raising money to fund your adoption, please ensure you have the means to pay for all these unexpected things. Because it can happen, it does happen - it happened to us. And I shudder to think what would have happened if we did not have the resources available to cover all these extra expenses. Love alone was not enough to bring her to this point in her life. It takes lots of money - to pay for doctors, specialists, equipment, hospitals, therapists, and all the medications. It takes lots of time - to attend all those doctors and therapists appointments, and then work on therapy at home. And it takes more patience than I thought we had. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, we did it alone. And sacrificed plenty.

When we started this parenthood journey, I read somewhere that we would need a six figure sum to raise Kerri from birth to college. That sum never included all the extra medical expenses! I am not trying to scare anyone, but just raise awareness. So if you are thinking of having a child - think about all the possibilities. Not just the added insurance and naming of a guardian, but realistically what if your child turns out to be like Kerri. Will you be able to handle it - emotionally, physically, financially, time-wise? I had a career. I could not return back to work because no day care would take her due to her salmonella and lead poisoning, and shortly after because of her attachment issues. Luckily our marriage did not suffer, because our experience just brought us closer together. But it was hard. Sleepless nights take a toll on new parents. Night terrors scared the living daylights out of us, and still do. Feeling unwanted and unloved by your baby really hurts, even if you understand why it is happening. And all those unexpected medical scares, diagnoses, and their price tags really changed our lifestyle and budget. Sometimes it just does not seem fair. Well such is life.

Now that I have said all that, let me add that I would not change a thing. Kerri is beautiful, stubborn, funny, serious, creative, intelligent, sarcastic, flexible, warm, caring, strong, logical, cute, sweet....and I could go on. She is everything we dreamed of and more when we said we wanted a child. She gives us the strength to go on, perspective when we lose sight of it, the best hugs a parent could ever ask for, and hope. And priceless love. The stuff that money cannot buy. But she also pushes us, tests us, challenges us, and keeps us on our toes constantly.

Would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat.

Life with Kerri is worth it - all of it.