November is National Adoption Awareness Month, a month that not only puts a spotlight on all adoption related issues but also promotes the adoption of children in foster care. While there are many people who would love to adopt a child, there is a sometimes hefty price tag that comes with adoption that not all families can afford.
Adoption can cost a lot of money because there's typically a lot of work to be done to ensure a proper fit between parents and child. The cost of adoption differs depending on whether you are looking at a domestic adoption, private adoption, foreign adoption or a foster care adoption, but there is a financial aspect to all adoptions that you need to be aware of.
The Cost Range Varies
Adoption fees can range from as low as $2000 to as high as $50,000, and oftentimes those prices can be affected if the adoption involves multiples. Adoption is a wonderful thing for adoptive parents, birth parents and the child, but it's a process that can cost the adoptive parents a hefty sum, and that's something they need to be prepared for.
Potential adoptive parents have the option of working with an attorney to facilitate an adoption or with an adoption agency, and the cost of those services differ. The Child Welfare Information Gateway notes that using a private agency to adopt a child can cost anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000. You may feel this is expensive, but agency fees often cover the costs of the home study as well as all legal fees and pre and post adoption counselling fees. They will often include the cost of the birth parent's medical and legal expenses and any social work services or interim care services that are needed to facilitate a successful adoption.
The costs can differ depending on what the agency you choose to work with covers with their fee. Adoptive parents should find out exactly what their agency covers up front and get it in writing before signing with any agency so there are no surprise fees after the fact.
Different Types, Different Costs
Should you choose an independent adoption, using only an attorney to work with the adoptive parents and birth parent(s), the cost can range anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000. Expenses are similar to working with an agency except you only have the lawyer fees to deal with and not agency fees. Should a birth parent experience any medical issues prior to the birth the cost of the adoption may increase if medical fees were covered in the adoption.
Creating a Family also points out that if the child is born in a different state, the cost of the adoption can also be affected due to increased travel expenses and transportation costs. Whether the birth mother has health insurance, and whether the adoptive parents choose to pay for advertising to find a birth mother can also affect cost in an independent adoption.
Countries Vary, Too
The costs association with adopting a child from a different country are typically higher, ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. Much of the reason for this increased cost is because of the need for foreign travel as well as any immigration processing costs. Many adoptive parents will make more than one trip to the country they choose to adopt from to meet with the child, especially if that country has a certain wait time before approving adoptions.
Depending on the country the adoptive parents choose to adopt from, they may have certain requirements that need to be fulfilled before the adoption can be finalized.
Regardless of whether the adoption is finalized in the child's birth country or the US, many adoptive parents will file to have the adoption finalized in the US as well to ensure the adoption is fully recognized, Child Welfare reports.
Adopting Within The US
Adopting a child from the foster care system is the least costly way to adopt, often because these adoptions are funded by the state, Adopt US Kids writes. Costs can be as low as $2000 to adopt a child from the foster care system, and the child may receive a monthly adoption subsidy up until the age of 18, Creating a Family notes. They may also receive Medicaid coverage as well as free tuition to in-state colleges while the adoptive parent may be eligible for a tax credit.
Costs are generally determined by whether the adoptive parents choose to work with an agency, whether they pay for the mandatory training course for adoptive parents and whether they need to travel for a child born out of state.
While these costs may deem daunting and high, there is financial aid available for those parents who want to adopt a child. Knowing that costs is one of the main reasons people are deterred from adoption, there are organizations aimed at helping potential adoptive parents fundraise to help pay adoption fees as well as providing grants and interest free loans.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption notes that even some employers offer adoption benefits that can range anywhere from $500 to $25,300, including reimbursement of certain expenses and possible paid time off after the adoption is finalized. Adoptive parents are also entitled to up to 12 weeks unpaid parental leave if they work for a company that has 50 or more employees, and there are also a variety of loans and grants adoptive parents can apply for, as well as certain tax credits they may be eligible for.
While adoption can be expensive there are resources to help all prospective adopted parents fulfill their goals of having a child of their own.