Friday, May 23, 2008

My Baby Turned 18 Today!

My fifth and final child turned 18 years old today.

Empty nest, here I come!

Although the nest isn't exactly empty. The baby doesn't graduate until next week, and I've agreed that she can stay home up to one year while she figures out what she is going to do with the rest of her life. But she has a six-week job with the National Forest Service (building trails and cleaning up campgrounds) which will get her out of the home, some fast cash for summer, and an inkling as to whether community college or a job is in her immediate future.

Financially, there are plusses and minuses to having no minor children. My household budget immediately goes down by $485 a month, which was the adoption subsidy I have been receiving since I adopted this daughter ten years ago. Her medicaid card is cancelled as well, but fortunately, I can cover her through the health plan provided by my employer at no extra cost. That does mean I will now have co-pays for her monthly medications which will add, maybe $30 a month to my costs.

I will no longer be providing an allowance or buying clothes or make-up. This was part of the agreement we arrived at in negotiating free room and board for a year.

I still have tuition payments for another year, due to the very nice deal I made with her private school at the beginning of this year when she did not receive the tuition assistance I'd been expecting. But I will not have the multitude of other school expenses such as daily lunches, athletic events, outings, yearbooks, photos, dances, and bus passes.

If she goes to community college, I will have tuition and books to pay, but we're talking $1200 a year as opposed to the $17,000 a year her high school cost.

The truth is, she is anxious to have her own money and to move out. The other truth is, not every young adult is a candidate for college. I suspect she is not. But I've been fooled before. My oldest daughter, who, like this child, suffers from fetal alcohol effects, graduated high school, got a job as a grocery clerk, and then decided, at age 30, to go to college. She completed three years and would have graduated, but the internship she had between her junior and senior years became a full time job that she still has and loves at age 40.

As with many things, I still have to wait and see.

But it is with some joy that I can say, all my daughters have survived their childhoods. Now I'll see what this one does with her adulthood.


Sharon said...

Congrats!!! We have another 7 years before our youngest graduates from high school!

Anonymous said...

Good for you, re; that "wait and see" attitude about your daughter's future. So many of our kids with special needs are written off too soon, merely because they are progressing on a different timeline than their peers. And I think many kids (and adults!) of all kinds give up too soon when they haven't become "successful" based on some generalized schedule. It's really all about the journey, eh?

Carol said...

I found your blog while searching for Fetal Alcohol and was thrilled to read of the success your DDs have achieved. Our DD, currently age 15, also has FASD and we are always being told that "only 30% of 'these kids' can live independently as adults" and we keep hoping she's one of those's nice to read about some kids who are in that group!