Becoming a parent is rarely free of charge; the physical and monetary costs are inevitable, even if you have the right insurance cover. We live in a time when everything is connected with costs. And pregnancies too, of course. The costs of adopting a child and raising it until it is ready for work are unimaginable and never without challenge.
Not all couples are healthy enough to conceive a child. A few may have physical problems, which makes them infertile. And at such times, couples often prefer to adopt a child; but this is not as easy as it sounds. You have to follow all the laws and procedures. The whole adoption process is different depending on the adoption mode you choose.
Before you read more about the types and modes of adoption, some of us may be curious about how much it costs to adopt a child, and I will not find it easy to put this in a single spreadsheet; more legal explanations are needed so that the future parent can understand.
To put it in simple terms, adopting a child means that you get full rights to a child so that it can be part of the family and bear your name. When you adopt a child, you change a child’s status in society.
As Wikipedia quotes
“Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of another, usually a child, from that person’s biological or legal parent or parents, and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities, along with affiliation, from the biological parent or parents.”
It will not be easy, because you are making a life-changing decision for both of you. You need to spend a little time planning and gathering information that will help you to take the right path to adoption. Whether you choose an adoption service, a foster family or an independent adoption depends on the couple who are willing to adopt.
Here is the basic flow chart of how the adoption process works:
Decision to adopt > Choose international of domestic adoption > Select adoption service provider > Obtain state approval > Find your child and bring them home.
I hope that this article will provide you with better facts about the nature and methods of adoption, so that you can make an informed choice at every step from finding the agency to caring for the baby at home.
As a rule, adoption procedures will vary depending on the state or country where you want to live and adopt. For example, if you live in New York and want to adopt a baby in Texas, the laws and legal procedures are not the same. Similarly, a couple living in the United States trying to adopt a baby in the United Kingdom must follow both laws. It may take longer to get approval from the state or country adoption authorities.
Modes of Adoption
As mentioned above, legal adoption procedures would change depending on the place where you live.
Adoption can be categorised in two modes, and each has differences when it comes to the final cost.
- Native / Domestic adoption – The child or newborn you wish to adopt should belong to the same county where you live. Here the average cost of adopting a baby is between $2,500 and $40,000. This can be divided into two further segments:
- Intrastate adoption – The couples who want to adopt and the biological parents live in the same state.
- Interstate adoption – Where the adoptive parents and biological parents live in different states.
Total Adoption in USA in 2013
Adoption by age groups in 2013
International adoption or the adoption of a child from outside your country requires compliance with foreign adoption laws. The costs of international adoption from newborn to old or mature child are not the same as for domestic adoption. It is estimated that the average cost of adopting a child from another country is between $15,000 and $35,000.
From the following figures you can see that international adoption has increased dramatically every year:
Total Adoption in 2013
Adoption by age groups in 2013
Average Cost of Adopting a Child
|Domestic Adoption||International Adoption|
– Application form
– Home study cost
– Additional costs
|$1000 – $5000||$10,000 -$40,000|
|Attorney fee||$3000 – $10000|
|Advertising fee||$1,000||$1000 – $5000|
|Birth parent expenses|
– Medical bills
– Living expenses
– Legal representation
– Consultations fee
|$10000 – $25000|
$10000 – $25000
|Travel fee||$500 – $1000|
$2000 – $15000
Types of Adoption
Below are the three types of adoption procedures that are commonly used:
- Private adoption agency
- Public adoption agency (foster care)
- Independent Adoption – Closed or Open Adoption
Before that, however, an important decision has to be made in order to advance the adoption process without a fight. It is about how to choose the right adoption agency or the right lawyer at the right cost.
How To Choose An Adoption Agency
Most people would never dream of buying a car without comparison. Choosing a private adoption agency follows the same principle. It requires your basic research and networking skills to choose the right adoption agency to fulfil your dream of adopting a baby. Always ask a lot of questions during the selection process.
The best way to see and judge an agency is to visit them in person. Make sure that you ask about the adoption care and level of service. Only a few agencies hold their information sessions on a monthly basis; you can attend and monitor their level of service. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, because if you have a clear idea of them, you can make better and more informed decisions.
Here is the list of basic information that everyone needs to know when choosing a particular adoption agency:
- Are they licensed by the state or central government?
- How do they deal with financial support for legal aspects, travel planning, etc.?
- How does their fee structure work?
- What are the red flags?
- Is there anyone in your network who has used them before, and how was their experience?
Private Adoption Agency
The entire adoption process is handled by the licensed adoption agency. It would start with the research at home and continues through to post-adoption care. The adoption process takes place by mutual agreement between adoptive parents and biological parents.
This type of adoption is less risky, but often comes at a high price (an average of $8000 to $45,000).
Whether the prices are high or low, before you decide, you need to check the adoptive parents’ background. Another important thing to remember is that you may not need an adoption lawyer unless you work with an unlicensed agency.
The major cost factors which are involved here are,
- Cost of birth parent counsel
- Home research preparation for an adoptive parent
- Childbirth expenses
- Post placement supervision fee
- Agency fee
Public Adoption Agency / Foster Care
You can find these agencies in your telephone book under “Department of social services” or “Department of public welfare”. It says that the law on adoption into foster families and its legal systems are different in each state of the country you wish to adopt. You can contact the regional office of the state by telephone to find out about its legal procedures for which you must be prepared.
In general, the State office would allow adoption services for a child who usually has special physical and emotional needs. And they are financed by subsidies and taxes from the state or the country.
Adoption from a public agency can be free or with modest lawyer’s fees ($2500 on average).
The major cost involvement here is,
- Mandatory legal fees
- Travel expenses
- Attorney’s fee
- Child medical treatments
Independent Adoption – Open & Closed Adoption
An independent adoption can be arranged by an adoption agency or by your chosen lawyer. An open adoption would take place if the foster parents knew all the health and family background information about the biological parents. Closed adoption means that both adoptive parents and biological parents will never know all the information about each other.
The cost of independent adoption ranges from $7000 to $30000 and the main costs involved are:
- Agency or Attorney fee
- Legal costs
- Travel expenses
- Child medical treatments
Benefits of Adoption
An adoption can be expensive, but the benefits of the emotional satisfaction you receive when you invite a child into your family is an amazing journey to undergo. Hopes will be high and the child will carry your name with pride for the rest of his or her life. Here are some useful benefits for the adoptive parents:
- The joy of welcoming a child into your family is endless.
- You are given the opportunity to fulfil a child’s dream.
- It is possible to have a relationship with the child’s biological parents.
- A child can experience the love of both adoptive and biological parents.
- A parent who adopts a child in foster care is likely to be eligible for monthly financial subsidy by the government.
- If you are a parent who adopted a child in Florida, as per the state law, the child will be eligible for free tuition at any Florida state collage.
- Some states will allow tax credit for adoptive parents.
- There are various adoption community support groups.
To summarise these facts: It does not matter how much it costs to adopt a child if the couple is willing to give the new child their never ending love. Life will be beautiful when your baby’s tiny little fingers touch your cheeks, without any expectation, except love! So make sure you create a world where all his dreams come true. Enjoy the parental journey for the rest of your life.
Parenthood requires only love, not DNA!
Here are some useful websites that gives you lots of specific information about the adoption:
- Child Welfare Information Gateway (CWIG) – http://www.childwelfare.gov/
- Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) – http://www.cwla.org/
- American Foster Care Resources (AFCR) – http://www.afcr.com/
- Foster Parent Community (FPC) – http://www.fosterparents.com/
- Foster and Adoptive Parent Training Online (FAPTO) –http://www.fosterparenttraining.com
- Child Action, Inc. (CA) – http://www.childaction.org/
- National Foster Parent Association (NFPA)- http://www.nfpainc.org/