Today we’re bringing you a guest writer, Jackie Waters, to share some essential information about family planning. Chronic illness often throws a monkey wrench into the expectations of family building, but it doesn’t have to be the case. Here’s Jackie to tell you more.
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FAMILY PLANNING
by Jackie Waters
If you are new to the process of expanding your family, you’re not alone. While people believe the common practice is to start the process with childbirth there are several different options to growing your household with children. If you want to gather facts and prepare for your ideal family unit, check out the steps you need to take below.
Look at the big picture
Don’t assume that all families only include perfectly healthy birth children. Families are just like the numerous different cultures in the world–diverse in population and colorful in structure. There are families with the traditional mother and father parents, along with blended families that consist of previously married individuals with children from previous relationships. There are single parent families, families with grandparents being heads of households, and families with two mothers or two fathers.
Since there are a variety of parenting types in a family system, there are also three different ways that children that can be added to the family unit; as birth children, adopted children, or foster care children. While a majority of couples and single individuals begin their families with birth children, there are hundreds of thousands of children in the United States foster care and adoption systems.
If you have the opportunity to truly lay out what you want your future family to look like, you must decide if you want birth children, adopted children, or to take in foster care children. Also, consider how many children you would like to have. Of course, this could be determined along the way of your journey as a parent, but it’s something to recognize before you make an eighteen-year (or longer) commitment. The first step in your family planning is deciding to the best of your ability, how you will add children to your family, and how many you will add. This would also be a good time to think about where your future family will live. Part of raising children involves keeping them safe, and a great place to start is to find a home in a safe neighborhood, as this will be where they spend a majority of their time.
Examine your budget
Beyond your dream of having the specific number of children you want running around the house while being playful and creating fun and laughter with you, there is always a more realistic picture to how children influence our daily lives–especially when it comes to budgets.
The fact of the matter is, babies are expensive. If you go through childbirth, there are medical bills involved with hospital visits, along with prenatal and postpartum care. These can average around $8,800. Foster care and adoption procedures (if you acquire a child within the United States), are a small fraction of that cost. Children who are fostered and adopted through the state of your residence are usually funded by the state, so there are little to no fees. Of course, private adoption agencies charge more for your benefit of a thorough selection process, but that is still usually less expensive than the cost of having a hospital birth. However, an out-of-country adoption, particularly within popular foreign countries, can cost anywhere from $5,000-$40,000.
Besides the initial cost of having a child added to your household, there’s an abundance of expenses afterward that can really compromise your budget. This includes purchasing specific baby food, having to rapidly replace clothing, having child care, using toys, setting up a nursery, and more. Depending on the size of your current home, you may have to make a larger investment by purchasing a larger home or building additional rooms. That’s only short-term, too. When you think about expenses over the course of a child’s life, you could be talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You should also think about your future location plans. Do you think you’ll be moving frequently? Buying a home is a great adventure, and often necessary to accommodate your growing brood. However, this can impact children in ways you may not expect, so it’s worth keeping in mind early on.
What happens if you want to foster or adopt? A recent report about the United States federal adoption and foster care systems noted that out of 427,910 kids that have entered the foster care system, 111,820 are still waiting to be adopted. There is a process for becoming a foster parent and adopting, along with basic requirements that ensure you are able to care for the child. For more information, inquire through your state’s department of health and human services.
Ms. Waters is a mother of four boys, and lives on a farm in Oregon. She is passionate about providing a healthy and happy home for her family, and aims to provide advice for others on how to do the same with her site Hyper-Tidy.com.
Photo credit: Sherwood/Pixabay