Adoption is the legal process that permanently transfers parental responsibility from a child’s biological parents to adoptive parents. Whether domestic or international, adoptive parents can be family members or non-family members in varying circumstances, but with one goal in mind: to extend their love to an infant, child or adolescent. in a crowded system, through no fault of their own.
Although many families and individuals aspire to have children and would like to be able to adopt, it is not an inexpensive process or decision. So, how much is it to adopt a child? We cover that and more, including the number of children in the foster care system, why adoption is so expensive, and resources to help lower the cost of adoption.
Because November is National Adoption Month, what better time to dive in and learn more about adoption costs, the different ways children can be placed in forever homes, and the various expenses that arise throughout. of the adoption process? Whether you are considering fostering or adopting a child, or want to support a friend or family member who is taking this step, this information will be helpful to deepen your understanding.
How many children are in the foster care system?
The number of adoptive children in America alone is estimated at a staggering level 107,918.
And if that number isn’t shocking enough, most children in the system average between seven and eight years old and will most likely spend at least three years of their lives in the foster care system before they are adopted or grow old. . Once you turn 18 and are of legal age, you may continue to receive government assistance, but you are no longer in the foster care system to be adopted.
There are four ways to place children in permanent homes:
- Reunification with biological parents
- Placed with relatives
My Adoption Experience
My mother was a single mother. The father wanted nothing to do with having a child and she was pressured to give up on me. There’s more to the circumstances as to why I ended up in foster care and then ultimately adopted, but I’m leaving it there for privacy reasons.
I spent nine months in foster care until some of the legalities were settled, then lived with my prospective adoptive family for another nine months, until my adoption was finalized.
This time, every year, I thank the universe for sending me a wonderful mom and dad, when my loved ones couldn’t take care of me. Although I have a wonderful relationship with my biological mother – which has lasted almost 15 years now – I wouldn’t change my situation for anything in the world. And that can be a tough pill for my birth mom to swallow, considering she feels guilty for putting me up for adoption. However, I wouldn’t be married to the love of my life, with two fantastic boys and living in our little house by the river in Michigan, if she hadn’t made such a difficult decision.
Related: 100 Heartwarming Adoption Quotes
Cost is a major barrier to adoption
Although my mother does not remember the cost of my adoption, it could not have been close to what adoptions cost today, because they did not have much at that time and they were able to adopt two children in five years.
That was 1978-79, and boy, things were different than they are today.
The laws, rules, regulations, fees and training to become adoptive families are driving the costs to an all time high. This deters some families from pursuing the adoption process.
How much does adopting a child cost?
How much does adoption cost? Typical Adoption Costs through an agency can vary (for a baby) between $8,000 and $40,000.
Adopting internationally will cost even more, starting around $10,000, sometimes reaching $40,000 and more, and that doesn’t take into account accommodation and accommodation.
There are help with adoption for hopeful parents who are willing and able to foster and adopt a child. Each state’s Department of Social Services runs these reasonable programs in which most families can expect to pay $2,500, but most costs are 100% covered.
Title IV-E of the Social Security Act helps families adopting eligible foster children in two different ways:
- One-Time Adoption Expense Reimbursement
- Monthly maintenance payments to adoptive families for the care of the child
State adoption expenses eligible for reimbursement include:
- Home study (mandatory for all adoptive families)
- Travel expenses (even if adopting from another state)
- Medical needs (including therapy, rehabilitation and special education)
- Legal fees
- Preparation and training of adoptive parents
Related: 32 celebrities who adopted children to complete their families
Why is adoption so expensive?
Since the majority of adoptive families are looking to adopt a toddler, they can expect to wait anywhere from six months to several years, including the 30-day waiting period for the birth family to change of opinion. Each state’s Department of Health and Human Services, as well as independently run agencies (some of which have large pools or strict waiting lists), can manage your adoption needs if you want to expand. your family.
While waiting for an available child to adopt, there is a long process and a lot of legwork to make sure that a child will go to a suitable family.
Here is an example of the requirements and costs for domestic adoption of newborns through an agency:
- Home study fee: $2,268
- Preparation and authentication of documents: $2,636
- Agency Application and Program Fee: $16,962
- Legal fees: $4,141
- Advertising and networking: $2,340
- Family consultation at birth: $770
- Biological mother’s expenses: $3,233
- Homestay: $201
- Travel expenses: $1,977
- All other expenses: $5,438
- TOTAL: $39,966
Related: What an Adoptive Mom Would Say to Her Son’s Birth Mom
Ways to help reduce adoption costs
Subsidies are available to families to help with adoption costs. Just search the internet and check with the agency you work with for help on how to apply.
There is also tax credit available through the US government, helping to promote adoption and support prospective families. Although valuable, this credit can also be complicated to understand. There are courses to explain eligibility, how it works, track expenses, and prepare you for your year-end tax planning.
Loans and fundraising (such as through GoFundMe) are two options that are becoming increasingly popular as costs rise and families find it increasingly difficult to obtain such a large sum of money. .
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The FMLA is designed to help adoptive parents, regardless of their child’s age, spend worry-free time with their child without losing their jobs.
Below are links to the government organization in each state that handles adoptions and will have valuable resources to help you get started on your adoption journey.
Adoption Resources by State
Next, 40 Best Gift Ideas for Adoptive Parents That Celebrate Eternal Families
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