domestic adoption cost
You’re considering adoption but you aren’t sure which type of adoption to choose. There’s domestic, international, and foster care adoption, and each of option has pros and cons of their own. Not to mention the adoption services you have to choose from. Deciding which way to go can be difficult, especially if you aren’t entirely sure on what sets them apart.
This guide will help you compare domestic, international, and foster care adoption using the criteria most important to parents: cost , wait time, and reliability. When it comes to adoption, you want to be as thorough as possible, and doing your research is a great place to start.
Domestic Adoption: Cost, Wait Time, and Reliability
What Is It?
Domestic adoption, adoptions in the US, usually refers to the adoption of newborns and infants who have been voluntarily placed for adoption by the birth parents. There are two main branches of domestic adoption to choose from: agency adoption and independent adoption.
With agency adoption, you have chosen an entity that handles and completes the entire adoption process from start to finish. This means they cover everything from matching birth parents to an adoptive family, advertising, networking, and all the legal aspects. Independent adoption, on the other hand, usually refers to the adoptive family finding an expectant mother on their own. They will typically advertise and network on their own, but use the services of an adoption agency or an adoption attorney to legally finalize the adoption.
Cost and Wait Time
Overall, agencies cost the adoptive family more because of the amount of comprehensive support and resources they offer. These even include counseling services, which are a necessity that not all adoption options offer or can afford. The total cost of adoption, includes program fees, applications, Birth Mother expenses, and advertising/networking expenses can cost thousands of dollars. Though numerically the cost is slightly smaller for independent adoptions, there’s little to no chance of aid through loans or grants when working independently.
Wait time for domestic adoption can be anywhere from a few months to over a year. Since, with this option, you are connected with an expectant mother, the wait time will include the length of her pregnancy. This could mean you wait a year or a little more depending upon when you began the adoption process. In some rare cases, the wait may be just a few months. It all really depends on your adoption plan.
Domestic adoptions through an agency are often incredibly reliable, meaning there is a very slim chance of adoption disruption. When working with an agency, Birth Mothers receive emotional support through counseling, which helps solidify their commitment to the adoption, lowering the risk of her changing her mind. As placing children is what adoption agencies do, you can be sure to have your new family member in the end. For independent adoptions, reliability can be a little lower, depending upon your own experience and your relationship with the Birth Mother.
International Adoption: Cost, Wait Time, and Reliability
What Is It?
International adoption is the adoption of an infant or child from another country. It has similarities to both independent adoption and agency adoption, but is best described as an entity all its own. Typically, international adoption comes with its own steps and costs, depending upon the country you wish to adopt from, as well as travel expenses, dossier authentication, and other requirements.
Cost and Wait Time
International adoption usually costs much more than domestic adoption because you are adopting from another country. When you add the other initial costs of this choice such as travel, attorneys, and more, things can get incredibly expensive. Of course, if you’re working with an agency, church, or other organization, you may be able to find loans and grants to help you out, but you should not rely on this possibility completely.
Costs include everything from agency fees and/or program applications, dossier preparation and clearance, travel expenses, incountry travel expenses, incountry adoption expenses, and finally, the child’s passport, Visa, and medical examination(s). Wait times for international adoption are also longer. This can depend on the requirements of the child’s home country, US adoption requirements, and the requirements of the agency or other adoption option you use. On average, the wait time for international adoptions is usually a few years or more.
When adopting older children from other countries, a large part of the process is being where the child is. This means traveling to their country for visits and other necessities. Usually, international adoptions go through without problem once all requirements and needs are met, but there can be a higher risk for problems that may cause the adoption to fall through. Rules of the home country, conditions, and other unforeseen problems could arise, causing you to lose both your child and your investment.
Foster Care Adoption: Cost, Wait Time, and Reliability
What Is It?
Foster Care Adoption refers to adopting a child you have been placed with through the foster care system. In short, it’s transforming their foster home into their permanent home. Usually the child is placed not because the parent voluntarily placed them for adoption, but because the child was in a dangerous or abusive home situation and was removed from the premise and put into the system. This option often means adoption children are of all ages: from infants to teens.
Cost and Wait Time
Foster Care Adoption is by far the least expensive method of adoption. You work with your state’s foster care system and abide by their rules and requirements, but in most cases, the child is already in your care. Foster care does come with its difficulties however. Usually, the total cost of a foster care adoption is a few thousand dollars, but the wait time for the adoption to be finalized can be fairly long.
Even though the child is already in your care, not having the adoption finalized means that you do not retain full legal rights to them. This means that there is a possibility they could be removed from your care and placed elsewhere, usually with a blood relative if the state sees fit.
The least expensive option doesn’t mean the easiest, and a lot can happen with foster care adoption. As discussed, not having full legal rights to your foster children means they can be taken out of your care, which can be devastating and incredibly scary. However, once the adoption itself is finalized, you do and will retain full legal rights.
Now that you know a little more about these adoption options, you can decide which one is best for you and your family. Continue to do further research on the adoption laws in your state or the country you wish to adopt from, and look into other necessities such as financial assistance and counseling, as they may be necessary down the line.