Do Adoptive Parents Provide Financial Support for a Birth Mother?

In the majority of states, Adoptive Parents can pay for “customary and reasonable” adoption-related expenses.

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In the majority of states, Adoptive Parents can pay for “customary and reasonable” adoption-related expenses. All expenses are reviewed by courts and, in the case of interstate adoptions, the Interstate Compact on the placement of Children (ICPC), which authorizes a child to move from the state they were born in to the state of the Adopting Parent(s). Questionable expenses can hold up a placement’s approval, lead to a denial of the placement all-together and even legal action. Adoptive Parents may not pay for educational expenses, permanent housing, or anything that would be construed as monetary gain by the Birth Parent(s).

“Customary and reasonable” financial support for a birthmother from the adoptive parents may include:


Adoptive Parents provide separate legal counsel for the Birth Parent(s) throughout the process, which includes explaining process, making sure rights are protected, preparation of court docs, visitation agreements, etc. If a child needs legal representation for the adoption, the Adoptive Parent may also be asked to pay for a “guardian ad litem.” They may also cover all court fees related to the adoption.


Some adoption agencies and professionals disperse all Birth Parent expenses from a communal or trust account in which all Adoptive Parents contribute. In many states, the Adoptive Parent(s) may pay for counselors, social workers, etc. Some states require (or an Adoptive Parent may choose to have) a psychological evaluation of a Birth Parent or child prior to placement. The Adoptive Parent(s) would pay for this service.


If a Birth Parent has no medical insurance or means to pay for medical expenses, they can apply for Medicaid. If they do not qualify, the Adoptive Parent(s) may help pay for medical and hospital bills.


Some states allow for the Adoptive Parents to temporarily assist with living expenses such as rent, food, transportation to and from doctor’s appointments or legal and court appointments, and maternity clothes. State laws allow payments for housing for a limited time prior to and after birth, and are typically made directly to the landlord or once receipts are provided by the Birth Parent(s). State regulations dictate when and for how long they may provide such assistance.


The Adoptive Parent(s) will typically pay for an infant or child’s medical expenses, should they have no medical insurance. This may include medical or psychological testing, the hospital stay and any needed clothing or food as they wait for placement. Adoptive Parents may also be asked to pay for temporary foster care, if needed.

Allowable birth parent adoption related expenses by state may be found here.


Employee benefits, adoption grants and loans, home equity and lines of credit, personal fund raisers, and asking family and friends for financial assistance are all possible resources for adoption funds.

The ADOPTION TAX CREDIT allows for the adoptive parent(s) to claim up to $13,400 of IRS allowable expenses in 2015. As a family’s income approaches $200,000, the tax credit diminishes.


Because individual states determine which adoption related expenses may be covered, it is important to research allowable adoption related expenses when considering the type of adoption and the state in which an adoptive parent looks for a birth mother or child. Adoption attorneys and agencies are good places to start as they can advise adoptive parents on overall costs and the expenses associated with a specific adoption.

Adoption expenses should not prevent anyone from adopting. There is an adoption in everyone’s budget.

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