It's working for Amanda Neville
New York, NY
"Since I’m self employed, I couldn’t take very much time. I hired a babysitter the day I got back from Russia and took a few hours every day for the first 2-3 months. I couldn’t have managed without the income."
Yes. Since I was the sole breadwinner and single parent, it wasn’t even a question.
I tried to plan it around my career, but that was pretty much an exercise in futility. International adoptions happen on their own timeline. In the end, I was matched at a pretty inconvenient moment in time: I’d just decided to leave a company that I’d co-founded so I had to get my financial ducks in a row in a hurry. By the time she came home with me, I’d set up a new company (Three Furies) and was working on another business (Tipsy) that would launch within 12 months. Let’s just say that it was a rough year.
Childcare. It still is. It’s expensive and complicated to find reliable coverage for the schedule gaps that seem to be built into our lives. I need someone for after-school, which narrows the field because it’s not full time. When my babysitter gets sick or has a family emergency, I have to drop what I’m doing. It’s really, really hard to operate that way.
Since I’m self employed, I couldn’t take very much time. I hired a babysitter the day I got back from Russia and took a few hours every day for the first 2-3 months. I couldn’t have managed without the income. Truth be told, I needed the break mentally and emotionally, too.
I was stressed. I often wonder if I would have been more relaxed if money wasn’t such an issue. I was just so worried and overwhelmed by parenthood, Nina’s deafness, and the stresses on my financial situation.
I haven’t had the opportunity.
They basically ask you if you have a plan, and my plan was to be flexible. Because of Nina’s special needs, I just didn’t know what to expect. I thought my family would be more supportive, but it didn’t happen. I hired help. I’d started the DOE paperwork before I brought Nina home, and that was one of the smartest things I did because I was able to get her enrolled into pre-K very quickly.
I’m able to be 100% present for Nina and also get the things that I need to get done, done. Most days I’m settling for 50% on both counts.
I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find part-time child care for a special needs child. I lucked out because I met someone who had a flexible schedule and hit it off with Nina. She doesn’t speak sign language but she’s been patient and capable in handling some pretty intense phases, including a very violent tantrum phase (which has passed, thankfully).
I had bad health insurance. I didn’t realize how bad until it was time to pay for Nina’s cochlear implant. That’s when I discovered that my out of pocket max was close to 20K. I didn’t even know that was possible! I hadn’t educated myself properly and I just wasn’t savvy enough to even understand what to ask. I will say that I tried to get estimates from all the doctors in advance; that was nearly impossible. How is that possible? I get itemized estimates from my vet but it’s not even remotely possible for my kid?