Asking about the adoption fees is very uncomfortable. You may wonder, “How can someone put a price tag on something that precious? How should you evaluate a child?”
The truth is – don’t be scared of adoption fees. The costs associated with the adoption are the primary things to consider for any hopeful adoptive parents. Besides being an emotional journey, adoption is also a practical one: you have to ask all questions right away to avoid missing important information.
Even though adoption professionals have the same goal (finding a great family for a homeless kid), the costs of their services may vary. Not everyone uses the same fee structure to determine the cost of adopting a child in the U.S. Therefore, it has to be your priority to have a conversation prior to making a commitment.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the most critical moments to consider before adoption; the fees you have to be ready for, and the extracurricular expenses for additional services.
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Typical Costs Associated with Adoption
In most cases, adoptive parents have to pay for both sides, meaning, they cover their own costs as well as those of biological parents.
The Child Welfare Information Gateway breaks down those costs as follows:
- Adopting through foster care – almost no costs. Adoption doesn’t have to break the bank, and foster care is the best example of it. Moreover, children considered through foster care can later be eligible for a government subsidy and Medicaid;
- Adopting through a private agency – $30,000 to $60,000. Submitting your application via the agency will result in the following fees: home study, legal fees, counseling for the birth parents, medical expenses for the parents, training for the parents, and social work services. Keep in mind, that it’s important to understand the fee structure of a specific agency before you start working with them;
- Independent adoption: $25,000 to $45,000. Here you’ll have to cover legal fees and medical expenses for a birth mother; the rest is subject to discussion;
- Intercountry adoption: $20,000 to $50,000. You pay the country fee and the orphanage fees, in addition to all the fees for you and all the travel.
Any adopting agent, who’s refusing to discuss the costs with you, is an alarm bell ringing. You may feel uncomfortable raising the money question, but it’s better to set things straight now, than pay “surprise fees” later.
The Main Expenses to Consider
Now that you’re aware of how much adoption costs in the U.S., you may browse for loan companies like Spotloan to get some extra cash; or refer to a savings account to get enough money.
1. Home Education
A home study marks the beginning of an adoption process. It’s the time for future parents (and their family members) to ensure their home is a safe place for a child. You will be asked to submit paperwork, such as financial statements and a doctor’s letter to evaluate the quality of life you’re living.
Another step in the process is training. The prospective parents should apply for courses provided by a state agency and do self-education through books and online resources. Additionally, living in the U.S., you’ll have to agree to a post-placement reporting phase. A social worker will make visits to your family during the first six months after the child has been placed in the home.
2. Birth Mother Expenses
If you want to adopt a newborn baby, you are supposed to pay for the birth mother’s medical expenses. It may also include living costs, as well as legal fees, and counseling. For parents chasing a private adoption, the costs vary between $6,000 and $8,000.
Travel costs can sometimes emerge in domestic adoptions, but they are obligatory for intercountry adoption. The main factor to consider is time. Until receiving the legal approval to bring a child home, you might be waiting days, weeks, or even months.
The costs depend on the child’s home country and the fees of an agency you work with. For example, for private domestic adoption, you can pay up to $3,000 in travel expenses.
4. Legal Fees
The legal fees are higher if you sign up for independent adoption. In this case, they will be the bulk of your expenses, costing up to $15,000.
What are those fees? Why do they emerge?
Adoption has lots of legal requirements, such as terminating the rights of the birth parents, negotiating birth mother expenses, and court filings. Some of the fees may be rolled into an agency’s overall fee; we highly advise you to double-check that before starting the adoption process.
How To Pay the Costs and Not Get Stuck in Debt
Unfortunately, not all good parents are rich ones; the cost of adoption may seriously hurt your financial health. That’s why we found some strategies to ease your life and afford adoption:
- Employer benefits – check with your boss if you’re likely to receive compensation for adopting a child. Recently, almost half of the U.S. employers offered adoption benefits to their workers, according to statistical data.
- Tax credits – check if you have access to specific tax credits or other benefits, based on your income. You could be eligible for a tax credit worth up to $14,890 to offset costs incurred during adoption.
- Grants – check if any of your local organizations provide help to parents going through an adoption process. Visit the official websites to determine if you qualify for a grant.
There’s a lot to take in when you decide to adopt: might seem like an endless joy, but finally, it turns out to be a path with many pitfalls. The costs for a private adoption are high; the costs for intercountry adoption can be unbearable.
Remember that you’re not alone, and you can apply for help. Consider the costs carefully, and check the information with the adoption agency before starting the process. Don’t sign up before clarifying all costs and services. The more you find out now, the less chance you’ll be disappointed later.
Also read: 7 Essential Qualities of Foster Parents