We Stopped Counting
Mr. MPB and I, well, we both love spreadsheets and data.
Truthfully, it’s a problem.
We both make spreadsheets, charts and analyze results. Sometimes it borders on obsessive – like when we bought our house, the spreadsheet that Mr. MPB made about what we could afford comfortably would put most financial analysts to shame.
I love lists. Heck, I often write lists on my blog. I simply love organization and structure (although don’t look at my desk right now, I’m not even sure what’s going on with the chaotic mess directly around me).
When we started the adoption process, I started an adoption cost spreadsheet. As we chose international open infant adoption we knew it was going to get costly. So, I started keeping receipts for everything – police background checks, medicals, home study invoices, USA agency fees, USA adoption lawyer fees, courier bills, fingerprinting, international money wire fees, profile book design fees, profile book printing fees, profile book reprinting fees, etc.
Then one day, I stopped.
First, I realized that none of these activities were refundable. Adoption is not quite like buying a new sweater or shoes that can be returned. So, keeping receipts was useless.
Also, and more more importantly, we realized that knowing the exact cost, to the penny, of adopting our child, would not bring any good to anyone’s life. It is already giving me heart palpitations. It will cause Mr. MPB to have a nervous breakdown. And, it may even cause great distress for our child one day.
What matters the most here is our future child. Clearly.
Apparently at some point almost all adoptive children will ask their parents how much they paid for them.
If I keep a spreadsheet, we could actually say the exact figure, to the penny. And what child needs to know that? So, the sentence could read like:
We didn’t pay for you. But, we did pay $71,234.56 USD in legal bills and social worker bills to to enable us to legally be a family.
If I don’t keep a spread sheet, I will not be able to answer this question precisely. We will be able to ball-park it, because we both know have an idea. And leaving out the details wont be a lie, it will be the truth. Not lying to our child is very important to me/us. And so by not knowing our truthful response might be something like:
We didn’t pay for you, we paid quite a bit of money in legal bills and social worker bills to enable us to legally be a family. I honestly, don’t know how much we spent exactly, but we know it was worth every penny!
And of course if I create a spread sheet, what if our child found it one day?! I’d be heart broken that they knew that number and we weren’t there to talk to them about it.
And so, while it goes against everything in my logical and pragmatic brain, I’m not counting every penny. I will keep the final payment receipt in order to get our tax credit, but that’s it. Anything else is irrelevant and I just don’t see how it can bring good to our lives today or in the future.
So, as for all the other pennies, as much as they are crushing us right now, in the long run, they just wont matter.
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