The Costs Behind Adoption 

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As families begin the search for a child during the adoption process, questions around financial obligation will surface. With each process, the costs associated can vary greatly. Understanding each style of adoption can assist in determining budget and the method of adoption.  

 

In private adoptions, children are voluntarily given up by the birth parents. In these cases, there is no middle party, like agencies, serving as the intermediary. Both birth parents and adoptive parents handle the process collectively. Though varying, the costs associated with choosing to adopt privately can equal up to $45,000, but will ultimately depend on each individual.  

 

“The costs for adoption vary widely depending on the type of adoption a family chooses and what agency they work with. International adoption and private infant adoptions do have fees associated. At the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange, we work with adoption from foster care,” says Margaret White, social work supervisor for the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange. “There are no costs for Michigan families to adopt from foster care, except for minor court costs or other small fees, most of which are reimbursable. What’s more, many children from foster care, specifically children over age three, sibling groups, and/or children with higher needs, qualify for a monthly adoption subsidy which helps offset the cost of parenting.” 

 

For parents looking to adopt a child from overseas costs can quickly mount. Through this avenue, adoptive parents could be responsible for a number of birth-related expenses including medical expenses for the child and birth mother, like hospital stays, medicines or nursing tools. Private adoptions can range from on the low end starting at $20,000 per child while international adoptions can cost up to $50,000. To help curb the costs, there are programs and other sources of funding available.  

 

“For international and private infant adoptions, there are sometimes grants or fundraising programs to help families. The family’s agency should be able to help them locate resources,” says White. “One such adoption aid program is Show Hope, which was started by musician and adoptive parent, Steven Curtis Chapman and his family. Another grant program is called the Gift of Adoption. These are two examples of financial assistance families can apply for.” 

 

On the other hand, many families receive child placement through the foster care system. Although there are no costs associated with adoption through foster care, aside from standard costs of caring for a child, a license is needed to be a foster parent and the wait time can be up to six months to complete the process. Foster parents also receive some assistance in the child’s financial well-being. 

 

“For adoption from foster care, there is no cost to adopt. However, there are limited funds to assist with other barriers that might prevent a family from opening a foster license. After adoption, there are other resources available to families who adopt from foster care,” says White. “There is the adoption subsidy that many youth qualify for, there is also the medical subsidy program which can help cover some preexisting medical needs, there are also some forms of college assistance that former foster youth may qualify for. If families who adopted from foster care have any questions about available resources, they should contact the Post Adoption Resource Center for help.” 

 

For one couple in Detroit, bringing their son home changed their lives for the best. The Williams Family chose to enter into a closed adoption for their three-year-old son. A chance opportunity provided the then-newlywed couple to become parents sooner than expected.  

 

“When I tell this story, I always say we didn’t choose adoption, it chose us. We’d just gotten married and a friend told us about a family friend who didn’t want their baby. Of course, we prayed about it and talked about it. We met his mother and immediately knew we wanted her to have our baby,” says The Williams. “We weren’t planning to have kids right away; we weren’t even looking into it.” 

 

In a rare case, the families have already come to an agreement concerning the child. While birth parents releasing a child to adoptive parents is legal, it does not give the adoptive parents full rights to the child. In this case, having to seek out a private agency to complete the adoption is the next step.  

 

“It’s very rare, but the birth mother was working with us because she wanted this [the adoption] to happen. We found our agency and immediately got us our rights and started the whole adoption process. Because we already had our son, we didn’t have to pay a family-finding fee and we were able to pay as things came up — court dates, doctor’s appointment, social workers or lawyers and there were payments that needed to be paid, that’s how they allowed us to do it at the time,” says the Williams.  

 

Choosing to adopt once again, the Williams family’s search may look differently the second time around. Starting the process, this time with an agency, the family was told it could be up to two years before a child is located.  

 

“There is a fee attached to that because they do have to find a family, but they told us if we happen to find our own family again, that fee would be waived,” said the Williams.  

 

Income is a factor when choosing to adopt as agencies will complete a number of financial, health and home inspections. Agencies want to ensure a family has the capacity of bringing another child into the home. The cost of adoption also includes the adoptive family’s economic standing. Inability to display a strong financial standing can lead to delays in the process.  

 

Though the application and screening process will include a deep dive into family assets, adoption is possible. Prospective parents are encouraged to begin saving if adoption is the plan and decide what agency is right for them. Resources are available for potential parents.  

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