I was having coffee (well, chai latte, if you must know) today with the very delightful Sam, and the topic of money came up. I have not spoken at all about our new plans to my mother (regular readers will have an inkling why), but I know she was on the verge of offering to pay for IVF at various points in the past, and I have a feeling she will be more pleased about our new plans. In some ways that is why I am not mentioning them - especially not until they become more concrete. But her mention of David Miliband gives me a clue (and incidentally, at the time he adopted, there was nothing to stop non-US citizens going down the same route), and I think she realises it costs a fair bit and she often says "well, you'll have it anyway some day".
When I left home my parents paid my maintenance until I graduated from my undergraduate degree (there were no fees in those days) and my grandparents gave me a credit card while I was volunteering as a high school teacher in Zambia (I used it to buy dollar-priced sugar, at times the only kind we could get, as well as chocolate, cheese, and biscuits. Oddly I lost about a stone that year). I then fell on the mercies of the Medical Research Council, who funded my PhD, and after that have been gainfully employed, or for a couple of brief periods have had savings to draw on. I have not lived at home since I was 18; Mr. Spouse lived at home till he was, I think, nearly 30, but paid his parents rent and after about 5 years working was earning more than them.
My brother on the other hand seems to have been on a rubber band until about 6 or 7 years ago; he still keeps some books at our mother's house, and alternated between the two parental houses for the first 5 or so years after undergraduate. I don't know about his financial affairs after that and before getting married but I do know he has my mother's credit card (he is 39), has been known to use it without asking (the understanding is that it's for locally bought presents for the nieces, almost exclusively), and she often pays for his flights to see her.
Now, my father has also offered to pay school fees for the nieces to attend a bilingual school in their area. I could not work out why I thought this was a good thing - perhaps just because I approve of the school - but not of the smaller amounts for the credit card in particular, and for the odd other payment he "can't quite make". But a wise friend in the computer has suggested perhaps it is because it is a big, group-type thing - the ultimate education of my nieces being important to the family as a whole, and not something any one section of the family may be able to accomplish. So perhaps if it is offered, help with adoption costs would not be such a bad thing to refuse.
I'm very curious, though, about my readers (hello, I do have some, don't I? Or is Google Reader/Bloglines failing to update my feed? I know Reader takes hours if not a day sometimes). Do you receive financial help from your family, or do you give it? What are your parameters? What do you see yourself doing for your own children?