One of my followers asked me to write about the cost of adoption. But maybe, the better question is how to afford adoption. I will cover both.
Cost is one of the biggest factors prohibiting people from choosing adoption and yet I would say if there’s a strong enough will, there’s usually a way (possibly with the help of some angels in your life).
For domestic agency adoption (this also includes attorneys who are able to do placements – I will lump them into “agencies” for this post), when you are adopting an infant, plan on total fees ranging from $30,000 – $45,000. It could be lower…it could be higher (though that’s pretty rare).
This amount will include agency fees, home study, birthmother expenses, legal fees, travel, printing and sending profiles, consultant fees and counseling fees. There may be additional expenses as well, but this pretty much covers it.
Of course, there are variables with everything when it comes to adopting – a big one being what the expectant mother’s situations/needs are – but this is an average range.
Below are some very rough estimates on how this breaks out. Please remember, EVERY agency is structured differently and these fees can fluctuate.
➙ Adoption Consultant: $2,000 – $3,500
➙ Home Study: $1,000 – $4,000
➙ Agency Fees: $8,000 – $25,000 – this fee will vary a lot depending on what’s included in the agency fee vs. what is broken out into other line items (i.e. advertising, counseling, etc.)
➙ Legal Fees: $1,000 – $5,000 – assuming a smooth and easy case
➙ Expectant Mother/Birth Mother expenses: $2,000 – $7,000
Along with expenses, every agency has different payment plans and also different financial risk factors.
The majority of agencies tend to have an application fee. These fees can range from ½ of the overall fee to just a few hundred dollars. Clearly, the lower the application fee, the more flexible you will be to apply to multiple agencies (something I HIGHLY recommend, but I’ll stick to the subject).
A common breakdown of an agency payment plan (besides the application fee) is to pay a large chunk of the money at match and the rest at placement. Some break it into thirds, some require everything at match and yet some other agencies break it down even further.
Financial risk is something EVERYONE is concerned about. IF the expectant mother/birthmother changes her mind and decides to parent her child, you will typically experience some level of financial loss.
Some agencies DO give refunds of a certain amount (usually not everything) and others will not, but instead roll over most of the money into another match for you. The amount that is refunded or rolled over differs from agency to agency. Typically, they will keep a portion of the agency fee and you will also lose any monies already spent for the expectant mother. Obviously, if a fall-through situation happens at the end of the pregnancy, you risk a higher loss. The good news is, reputable agencies will work with you to find your RIGHT match as quickly as they can.
If you can stick with the adoption process, even if you experience a fall through, you will end up with the baby that is meant to be yours!
Financial risk is one big reason to work with an adoption consultant. Nobody can promise that this won’t happen to you, but an adoption consultant can help to mitigate the risks involved to you by helping you ask the right questions up front.
Now that you know what to expect financially, you are probably thinking…
There’s No Way I Can Afford That!! And probably wondering how other people do.
Most of us don’t have an extra thirty grand lying around, which means we have to get creative. The good news is that you aren’t the only one with this issue, and there are many ideas available to you.
I’m going to leave this part to a recent blog post from “Creating a Family.” The blog is called 9 Ways an Average Person Can Pay for Adopting a Child. I highly recommend clicking around and then taking it a step further by Googling “adoption fundraising.”
A couple other ideas that I didn’t see on the blog list are:
1. Ask your clergy. If you are involved in a church or synagogue, it’s worth the ask. I just had a client who, although thinking it was a crazy idea, asked anyway and much to her surprise, she received a nice sum of money. Clergy typically have a discretionary fund, so I wouldn’t rule them out.
2. Ask your employer – especially if you work for a large corporation. They may have adoption benefits that you don’t know about. If they do, make sure to let The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption know, so they can be recognized as an adoption-friendly workplace!
The bottom line is that adoption IS expensive. VERY expensive. In order to make it work for you, you have to be willing to “put yourself out there” a little bit. I know how vulnerable it can make you feel, especially if you are a private person. But, don’t give up on your dream of becoming a parent without first trying any way you can to make it work. You won’t be sorry!
Until Next Time,