If you are considering adoption, you may be curious to know more about how much adoption costs and why. While the cost of adoption varies from state to state, private adoption is always more expensive than adopting from foster care. The average cost of private adoption in the United States with an adoption agency is $40,000, but can be as high as $65,000. Keep in mind that the agency or law firm you choose to work with will also have an effect on the overall cost. The main fees involved with the adoption process are medical expenses for the birth mother, legal fees, and home study fees, which are all essential.
Legal Counsel And Court Costs
Adoption is a legal process that needs to be finalized in court. It is therefore important to hire an attorney that specializes in adoption and has plenty of experience with the adoption process in the state you are adopting in.
Legal Counsel For Adoptive Parents
An adoption lawyer will be able to advise prospective adoptive parents through each step of the adoption process, from choosing the style of adoption that works for them to pre and post-birth agreements. The adoptive parents have a right to legal counsel to help them make decisions that are in their best interests.
Legal Counsel For Birth Parents
In some cases, it may be possible for the same law office that represents the birth parents to represent the adoptive parents as well. Either way, the birth parents have a right to legal counsel to help them make decisions that are in their best interests and to let them know what their rights are.
Court Filing Fees
A petition for adoption must be filed with the court in the state you are adopting to finalize the adoption. This petition is one of the last steps in the adoption process, which a lawyer will file on behalf of the adoptive parents.
Serving Notice Fee
In some cases, it may be necessary to notify other people of the adoption before it is finalized. Parties such as a birth father that is not directly involved in the adoption process have a legal right to know about the adoption.
Home Study Costs
A home study is a rigorous screening process that ensures that you will be able to provide a safe and loving home. All potential adoptive parents must pass a home study before they can adopt, which includes background checks and medical screenings for all immediate family members.
An adoption agency or law firm will arrange for a social worker to come to your home and meet you and your spouse, conduct in-person interviews, and request the documentation needed to complete the home study. After your child comes to live with you, a social worker will come to your home again to see how the child is adjusting. This post-adoption supervisory report fee is usually included in the home study fee.
Finding Your Beloved Child
While it is possible to find your child through networking and word of mouth, many agencies have a database of birth mothers who want to put their baby in an adoption plan and are often the first point of contact for birth parents. You can also pay a consultant to help you with a networking campaign to help you find your child. Although it is possible to find your child on your own, many prospective adoptive parents choose to pay the agency or consultant fees. Finding your child with the help of a professional can save you time and energy, so for some adoptive parents paying the fee is worthwhile.
Birth Parent Costs
Birth parents are entitled to legal representation, which the adoptive parents are responsible for paying. The adoptive parents are also responsible for paying other fees for the birth parents associated with the adoption process, though there are laws in each state regarding how much the adoptive parents are allowed to pay to make sure that they are not taken advantage of.
While some prenatal care costs may be covered by Medicaid, the adoptive parents are required to pay for any uncovered medical appointments or fees needed to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. That may include specialist appointments and testing. Although the baby may be eligible for coverage by the adoptive parent’s insurance plan, the birth mother is not.
The adoptive parents are required to pay any uncovered hospital costs. This may include delivery and post-delivery costs, and having a social worker present at the hospital.
The birth parents, especially the birth mother, have a right to be supported and guided by a social worker or therapist throughout the adoption journey. Emotions run high during pregnancy, and adoption is a beautiful and life-changing choice for many which requires even more support. The adoptive parents are responsible for paying any counseling costs for the birth mother that are not covered by insurance.
If you adopt a child across state lines, also known as an interstate adoption, you will have to travel back and forth between the birth mother’s state and your own, so plan ahead for lodging fees at a hotel or rental accommodations. If the birth mother lives in your state but cannot afford transportation to and from medical appointments or counseling sessions, you are also responsible for those travel expenses unless they are otherwise paid for. If the birth mother lives in another state, the adoption will proceed according to that state’s laws, so you may have to stay there for an extended time after the birth, at least until the court has approved the adoption.
What Are The Options To Pay Adoption Costs?
Adoption can be expensive, but don’t let that prevent you from considering adopting altogether. You may be eligible for certain grants or loans, and your employer may offer adoption benefits. A federal income tax credit can also help cover some adoption costs, though the exact amount is subject to change every few years. With a little creativity combined with asking for guidance to help you explore your options, your dream of adopting can become a reality.
Some employers and companies are adoption-friendly and will provide paid leave for time spent to finalize an adoption. An adoption leave policy may also cover reimbursement for adoption costs, paid leave for post-adoption bonding time, and additional unpaid leave.
Although employer-funded policies for adoption are optional, many companies have chosen to add one, recognizing that adoption has become a popular way for people to grow their families. As employers strive to become more inclusive and supportive of their employees, they may wish to provide these adoption benefits if they don’t already.
The federal tax credit for adoption as of 2021 is $14,440 per child. The tax credit may be used to cover qualified adoption expenses including necessary adoption fees, court and legal expenses, travel expenses, and any other fees directly related to adoption. The tax credit can also cover home study fees or other adoption expenses before finding the child you are going to adopt. To be eligible for this tax credit, the child you are adopting must be under the age of 18 or physically or mentally handicapped and unable to take care of themselves.
The full amount of money you are eligible for will depend on your income. Income over a certain amount will reduce the amount of money you can receive, as will any previous adoption deductions from other years, even if that adoption attempt was not successful. Other rules and regulations may apply, so make sure to check with an accountant or attorney who is knowledgeable about this tax credit.
While applying for adoption grants involves considerable planning, it is an option worth exploring. Unlike adoption loans, you won’t be charged interest, and grants do not have to be paid back. Adoption grants are highly sought after and are usually awarded by non-profit organizations, so it’s important to keep in mind that grant funds are limited and are not a good way to secure funding quickly. The grant amount awarded varies and can be anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000. Even if you aren’t given a large sum of money, an adoption grant can certainly help pay for some adoption costs, making it easier to see the process all the way through.
Asking For Help
Thanks to the internet, there are many ways to ask for help and raise awareness about your adoption journey. You can fundraise by creating a Go Fund Me campaign and turn to your family and the local community to spread the word and support your choice to adopt. There are many creative fundraising ideas you can try, such as partnering with organizations that support adoption, creating social media campaigns, fundraising with local businesses, churches, and more. Whichever avenue you choose, you are worthy of receiving help, and reaching out to other people and communities can get things moving.