What is the total cost of adoption?
Many potential adoptive parents ask questions like “how much does adoption cost?” As a domestic open adoption agency that provides services nationwide, Lifetime Adoption has an intimate understanding of the answers to this question.
The short answer is adoptive parents who choose to adopt a child through Lifetime Adoption pay a one-time flat fee that covers all of Lifetime’s services, including those provided to expectant parents.
Adoption Costs: A Partial Breakdown
Nationally, adoption costs can range anywhere from $0 to more than $50,000. The overall costs for domestic infant adoption can vary based on multiple factors, which we list below. It can also vary based on whether one uses the services of a private attorney or an adoption attorney to facilitate your adoption plans.
To determine how much it costs to adopt a child in the United States we must consider the cost of the adoption process itself alongside a wide range of other potential adoption expenses. These additional costs can — and often do — include travel expenses, legal fees for adoption attorneys, adoption agency fees, birth mother expenses if any, and more.
Finally, we must also take into account the cost of the initial adoption home study, which can range from $1,500 to $5,000. This includes a review of documents, interviews with family members, and background checks. This provides our team with a quality overview of a potential new home for the child as well as an initial assessment of the adopting parents.
Adoption Costs and Benefits
As you can see, the total cost of adoption can vary situation by situation. There are also additional variations that apply based on which state or states are involved.
The most important thing of all is to find a loving home for the children. We work with expectant mothers across the nation. It is on their behalf and in honor of their loving choice that we work so hard and look so far and wide to find suitable homes for their children.
For more information on financing an adoption or on adoption grants, please click here.
Lifetime Adoption Services
Now let’s look at a few of the adoption benefits that our one-time fee helps provide for our birth mothers. Knowing that our fees enable us to help so many expectant mothers can help inspire other potential adoptive families to work toward adoptions of their own.
Women choose adoption for a variety of reasons. Some make an adoption plan because they’re raising kids and simply aren’t ready or won’t be able to afford another. Others choose adoption because they weren’t expecting to become pregnant or because they don’t believe in abortion.
No matter what the situation is, deciding if adopting is right for one’s family can be difficult for both birth mothers and adoptive families. Both parties may have worries about how to pay for an adoption.
Being able to speak about your feelings with someone is important. It allows you to create a healthy adoption plan. Lifetime offers a few different kinds of adoption counseling.
The women we work with can speak with a licensed counselor on the phone at any time. This counselor doesn’t work for Lifetime Adoption; they’re not trying to convince women to choose adoption. Their role is to help expectant moms work through the emotions they might be facing right now.
Lifetime also offers peer counseling. This means that birth mothers can speak with a woman who has already made an adoption plan for her baby. She’s been where they are, so she can provide an experiential insight on what adoption is like and what to expect.
Plus, whenever our birth mothers have a question, concern, emergency, or just need to talk, an Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime is always available by phone, too. They can just call or text 1-800-923-6784 for support and education 24/7.
Lifetime helps women find and get prenatal care. If they discover that some of their medical or hospital expenses aren’t covered by insurance or Medicaid, then we can help coordinate things so that those medical expenses are paid for by the adoptive family who has a birth mother expense budget (as allowable by law).
Immediate Physical Needs
In most situations, a woman can receive help with living expenses once she is matched with a family, things like rent, utilities, phone bills, and other pregnancy-related expenses.
However, Lifetime helps with immediate needs prior to matching if a woman needs it. Things like food, transportation, and phone are urgent needs for women in desperate situations. We make sure that those needs can be met so she can make a thoughtful decision about adoption, not one out of desperation.
Expectant mothers have the right to speak with a qualified adoption attorney to answer all of their questions. Sometimes, this needs to happen before they have chosen a family. Lifetime ensures that the connection to an attorney can happen if legal issues are involved that question whether or not she can even choose adoption in her situation.
Post-Adoption Support and Referrals for Scholarships
Lifetime is there for women 24/7 after they have placed their baby too. The counseling options remain as does a listening ear. We provide direct referrals to support groups and birth mother retreats that can assist a woman who is struggling with her decision.
We also provide referrals to organizations like Lifetime Foundation which has granted thousands of dollars’ worth of scholarships to birth mothers who are beginning or continuing their education. Learn more at LifetimeFoundation.org.
For Adoptive Parents: Federal Adoption Tax Credit
Lifetime Adoption recommends that adoptive families consider the availability of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit. This can help with the costs of adoption and is currently set at $14,080 per child. There’s lots of fine print, so it’s a good idea to do some research.
“Tax benefits for adoption,” the IRS writes, “include both a tax credit for qualified adoption expenses paid to adopt an eligible child and an exclusion from income for employer-provided adoption assistance. The credit is nonrefundable, which means it’s limited to your tax liability for the year. However, any credit in excess of your tax liability may be carried forward for up to five years. The maximum amount (dollar limit) for 2019 is $14,080 per child.”
As you review our material on financing an adoption, please remember that Lifetime Adoption is here to help answer any questions you may have about the cost of adoption.
More About the Cost of Adoption
There are many factors that affect the total costs of adoption, so the average cost of adoption varies for each situation.
Our fee is paid by adoptive parents for a two-year contract. In special circumstances, there are adoption grants for families to help defray the cost of adoption in order to find loving homes for children. Click here to find out more information about adoption grants that may be available to you.
To learn more about the cost of Lifetime’s adoption services and adoptive family fees, please request more information here.
Adoptive parents will need to budget for fixed and flexible adoption costs. Attorney and home study fees are definite, whereas location and travel costs may be considered flexible expenses. If the child is in another state, you will need to plan for travel expenses. Another expense is photo and printing costs for your family profiles.
In addition, some states allow adoptive parents to pay pregnancy related expenses for the birth mother, if they wish. Adoptive parents let us know their budget in advance and we work toward keeping this in mind when a birth parent has expenses. Please note, however, that some state laws prohibit adopting parents from paying birth mother expenses. You’ll need to check with your attorney to see what, if any, birth mother expenses you would be allowed to pay.
As the National Adoption Foundation puts it, the costs “should not scare parents from attempting to adopt. It is important to remember that the cost varies depending upon how the parents choose to adopt and that there are grant programs available to help with the cost of adoption.”
The Foundation also lists basic expenses for adoption, including:
- Evaluation and training of prospective parents
- Child abuse and criminal background checks
- Medical evaluations
- Cost of childbirth itself (prenatal and postnatal)
- Potential court costs
- Post-adoption counseling for birth parents
- Post-adoption monitoring for adoptive parents
Lifetime Adoption: A Domestic Adoption Agency
At Lifetime Adoption, birth mothers receive our services for free thanks in part to the fees paid by adoptive parents. This includes access to an extraordinary amount of information, counseling, and education opportunities.
We are pioneers in our field. In fact, we were the first agency of its kind to feature an online adoption platform. For more than 35 years, we’ve built a vital network that connects birth parents with adoptive parents. We do this by placing the child’s welfare front and center while assisting birth mothers and adoptive families with resources and access to adoption professionals.
Our specialty is in assisting families through the open adoption process — no matter where they reside in the U.S. Lifetime helps find good homes for about 12 children every month. Most (about 92%) are newborns.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
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