In April of 2011, when I was pregnant with Mason, I paid close to $1,000 in daycare wait list fees. The person in charge of most of the 8-10 places where we applied guessed there would be a 12, or possibly an 18, month wait before a position for him opened. There was no spot for him at any of these facilities when I returned to work in January of 2012, so we made do with another arrangement.
In April of 2012, when renewal fees for most of those wait lists were due, Brad and I had already made the decision for me to quit my full-time job, so we didn't pay them. Imagine my surprise when last Friday, a woman from the coveted Little Scholars Program at the Library of Congress emailed Brad and me saying that a spot for Mason had opened up: 28 months later and with two years of not paying the renewal fee for the application.
What a relief to say, "No, we no longer need the spot. No, we don't need any time to think about it, but thank you for offering to give us until Monday." And what a blessing to pass this spot on--I hope we made some other family's weekend.
Finding good childcare in this busy city is insane. For those of you on wait lists, have hope because it can work out eventually. But you might want to ask if those renewal fees are really necessary before you pay them.