What You Need to Know About Birth Mother Expenses
“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?” This is a question that Lifetime frequently gets asked regarding birth mother expenses.
Many birth 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.
These laws vary from state to state. However, most states will allow adoptive parents to pay a birth mother’s medical, counseling, and legal expenses within reason. Many states also allow adoptive couples to provide birth mothers assistance with living expenses.
Even if you’re willing to help a birth mother out with her expenses, you might still be wondering: “If she decides against placing her baby with us, do we get our money back?”
The answer depends on the laws in your 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 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. Throughout our 30 years in adoption, Lifetime has found that if a birth mother receives counseling during her adoption planning process, she’s so much more confident in her decision. And her confidence results in far fewer reclaims. 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!
Lifetime Adoption, Inc.
is a Licensed Florida Child
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