Birth Mother Expenses: What Adoptive Parents Need To Know
A question that we frequently hear at Lifetime Adoption has to do with birth mother expenses. Adoptive parents will ask, “If the birth mother changes her mind and doesn’t place her baby with us, what happens to the money we paid for her living expenses? Will we get our money back?”
First of all, it’s important to remember that many expectant mothers are in dire need of financial help during their pregnancy. Fortunately, most adoptive couples are open to helping out with their living expenses. The expenses that adoptive parents are legally allowed to pay are regulated by state law, which, naturally, vary from state to state.
However, most states will allow adoptive parents to pay a birth mother’s medical expenses, counseling, and legal expenses for adoption attorneys — within reason. Many states also allow adoptive couples to provide assistance for birth mother living expenses. These can include maternity clothing for the birth mom.
f it was an unplanned pregnancy, there may be additional ways to assist expectant mothers or birth parents with adoption costs. Adoptive families may provide financial assistance to help pay for necessities during the adoption process. Even money for bus passes can be extraordinarily helpful. Other items can include cell phones, food, and money for utilities.
Still, even if adoptive parents are willing to help a birth mother out with her expenses, they may still be wondering if they get their money back if and when the birth mother decides against placing her baby with them.
State Laws and Birth Mother Expenses
The answer, again, depends on the laws in the adoptive parents’ state. Birth mother expenses are deemed to be a gift in some states, so they can’t be recovered.
In other states, the courts may decline to require that she reimburse the adoptive parents. A few states hold a reimbursement agreement with the birth mother to be legal and enforceable.
Typically, states regard such contracts to be unenforceable.
Open adoption research has shown that children do best when their adoptive parents and birth family have established a trustful relationship. In today’s modern adoptions, adoptive couples and birth mothers get to know each other well before the placement.
So drafting a contract with the idea of pursuing legal action really isn’t the best way to begin and build a positive relationship with mutual respect.
Lifetime Adoption offers every birth mother licensed, third-party counseling at no cost. The birth mother also has the opportunity to talk with a peer counselor, a woman who’s already placed her child for adoption.
Since 1986, Lifetime Adoption agency has found that if a birth mother receives counseling during her adoption planning process, she’s so much more confident in her decision. This confidence results in far fewer reclaims. In fact, Lifetime’s reclaim rate remains around 3% to 4% each year, which is much lower than other adoption professionals.
Instead of worrying about birth mother expenses, we encourage you to prepare your adoption budget wisely. Also, it’s wise to soak up everything that you can about the adoption expense tax credit. This tax credit continues to be an incredible resource for adoptive parents. By learning all you can right now about the adoption tax credit, you’ll be able to make the most of it when you file taxes.
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