Two weeks ago we applied for international adoption. Since our house sold and we no longer had that burden, our finances were looking pretty snazzy. Month-to-month, we make significantly more than we have to pay out. As it turns out, though, meeting & surpassing the "must be 125% above the poverty line" qualification isn't enough. Our net worth suddenly became an issue, because hello student debt. Now, I'm not regretting selling our home just because of the lost equity, don't get me wrong; the amount of equity we could claim as net worth in our home was less than the student debt we carry, so that's not something to mourn. But...well, damn. Were we older, our school debt would obviously be paid down more. But, them's the breaks. We are young. Thus, that debt that's typically set up to be paid off in about ten years' time is...not.
Anyway, short story short, we were denied -- I guess it's better to be denied due to debt than something personal right out of the gate, but it doesn't change the fact that our road to a family is still blocked at every turn. Flop.
We don't carry a lot of worth in our possessions, either (see: being young); we paid for our wedding rings with cash (not a bazillion bills of it). Our cars are older -- 2004 -- and therefore we owe more on them than they're worth, according to the Blue Book. So while we have medium debt in comparison to the school debt, the school debt knocks us into negative net worth territory (we're not talking hundred thousands, but it's enough to cancel out the assets we do have). We have a big surplus of un-allocated income each month without our huge mortgage, but it's not money where money counts, and paying it all down so that our net worth is positive would take multiple years because the things we can pay off now aren't worth that much (see: older cars; a car worth $3,000 is not going to make a big dent). This is all very boring. It is mundane. It'd be much more interesting if we got denied because we were secretly train robbers, or old-timey moonshiners or something. I'm sorry.
I'm not being pouty, please don't misread this. We are not entitled to adopt. I completely understand *why* these rules exist, and am not mad at the country's government for them; I am simply sad that we didn't know about that qualification (ctrl+f search for net worth in the qualifications list we were sent = only China comes up, which is not where we were trying because we are not old enough, in addition to the $80,000 net worth requirement, so it isn't that we didn't read all the way through or anything). So, now we're learning. We didn't know some important information, and now, we do. It is, as I already knew from reading a bunch and researching about adoption, complicated. So, a social worker probably won't approve a home study with us having negative net worth. Okay.
It is a defeating feeling, though, to try and fail so quickly. But, it means at least there's an answer. At least that's knowledge we have now. Answers are better than mysteries and assumptions.
(Many thanks to my friend A. who chatted with me long into the night yesterday, and E., and the other friends who lent support as I got a bit weepy. Friends. They are wonderful. And my mom & dad.)