Here’s What You Need to Know About Birth Mother Expenses

by | Mar 2, 2018 | Adoptive Families Blog

adoption-expenses.jpgHere’s a frequently-asked question about birth mother expenses: “If a birth mother decides to not place her baby with us, can we get back the money we paid for her living expenses during the pregnancy?”

Most adoptive couples are open to helping out with living expenses, and many birth mothers greatly need this help.

Keep reading to learn more about birth mother expenses!

The expenses that adoptive parents can pay are regulated by state law, and the laws vary from state to state. But in most states, adoptive parents are allowed to pay a birth mother’s medical, legal, and counseling expenses within reason. Many states also allow couples to provide some assistance with living expenses.

Even though you may be willing to help with birth mother expenses, you might be wondering: “If she decides not to place her baby with us, can we get our money back?”

The answer depends on your state’s law. In some states, birth mother expenses are deemed to be a gift and can’t be recovered. In others, the courts may refuse to require that the birth mother reimburse adoptive parents. There are only a few states where a reimbursement agreement with the birth mother is legal and enforceable. Usually, though, states consider such contracts unenforceable.

Research on open adoption has shown that children do best when their birth family and adoptive parents have established a trusting relationship. In modern adoption, adoptive couples and birth mothers get to know each other well. Writing up a contract with the idea of pursuing legal action certainly isn’t the best way to establish and build a positive relationship, one built on mutual respect!

At Lifetime, we offer every birth mother licensed, third-party counseling at no cost to her. She is also given the opportunity to speak with a peer counselor, a woman who made an adoption plan for her child in the past. When a woman gets counseling as she is going through the adoption planning process, she is more confident in her decision. This confidence results in far fewer reclaims. In fact, Lifetime’s reclaim rate is 3 to 4%, which is much lower than other adoption professionals.

So instead of worrying about birth mother expenses, you’re better off preparing your adoption budget wisely. Learn all that you can about the adoption expense tax credit, an incredible resource for adoptive parents. By doing so, you can make the most of the tax credit when you file taxes after your adoption is finalized. In a recent webinar, Lifetime’s adoption experts covered important questions about this tax credit. 

You can watch Lifetime’s webinar all about the adoption tax credit here:


Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

Read More About Mardie Caldwell

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