By Gayle Fidanzo | Executive Director of Choice Adoptions
As an adoptive mom, as well as the director of an adoption agency, I consider this to be a legitimate question that deserves an answer! I know a lot of parents who come to us and are considering adoption want to know, “Why does adoption cost so much?” And “What does it cost anyway?” So let’s talk about that!
The Department of Health and Human Services reports these averages for adoption in the United States:
Adoption Fees at Choice Adoptions
Many agencies such as ours (Choice Adoptions) charge quite a bit less. At Choice Adoptions, we have two major programs: Our Infant Adoption Program and our Foster Child Adoption Program.
Our standard fees for a newborn infant adoption are $31,500. When we partner with another agency to match a family with an infant, those fees increase; costs can also be a bit more if there are special legal or medical expenses.
For a foster child adoption, our standard fees are $4,400, but families get the majority of those fees reimbursed by the state and eventually by the adoption tax credit.
In addition to these two programs, adoption agencies do home studies for families who need them. Families who do an independent adoption pay fees to an attorney. However, they are also required to have a home study, which a child placing agency such as ours would be able to do for them. Those studies range in cost from about $1980 to $2300 at Choice Adoptions, according to the type of adoption that the family is pursuing.
Choice Adoptions does not do inter-country adoptions, but there are many agencies who do.
Is There More $$$ Help for Families Adopting from Foster Care?
Yes! Many children in foster care are eligible for Adoption Assistance. Adoption Assistance is a program that helps make sure that a child’s needs are met, from emotional to psychological to physical by removing any financial barriers. Adoption Assistance may include medical assistance and monthly maintenance payments. Adoption assistance programs make it possible for more families to adopt a child from foster care and can be a one-time payment or monthly financial assistance.
Why do adoptions cost so much?
So why do adoptions cost so much? The short answer is because it requires a lot of professional expertise to ensure that adoptions are both ethically and legally sound. Adoption professionals place a high priority on giving our clients the very best support, advocacy, and service they could possibly get. That takes a team of professionals, including social workers and counselors on staff who come alongside clients and help them through the adoption process. Some of the services these professionals provide for Pre-Adoptive Families are:
Meet with pre-adoptive families to answer their questions.
Screen families for preparedness to parent an adopted child.
Provide training and resources for parents to help make their adoption successful.
Interview parents in their homes and write a home study.
Support parents while they are waiting for a match with a child.
Connect and interact with caseworkers, birth families, and other community partners until a match is made.
Provide placement support.
Explain and execute legal documents before and at placement, including a Post-Placement Contact Agreement.
Conduct post-placement interviews and visits to support healthy transitions.
Encourage pre-adoptive families with practical help and counseling along the way.
Provide ongoing wrap-around support for families after the child is in the home.
Services provided to Expectant Parents include:
Decision-making support, including explaining all options available to expectant parents.
Referrals to needed medical and counseling services.
Help in finding an adoptive family.
Assess and arrange for pregnancy-related financial support.
Arrange and facilitate a match meeting with a pre-adoptive family.
Advocate with medical and hospital staff before, during and after delivery.
Provide friendship, counseling, and support 24/7.