Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Important Decisions Surrounding Adoption -Part I

I have had several people ask me to post about the costs involved with adoption and different types of adoption. There are many infertiles currently undergoing ART that are considering adoption as an alternative to family building. When AJ and I decided to make a time line for our TTC agenda, we knew adoption would be our next step if ART did not work for us. We researched the costs and programs for a couple of years while we were pursuing ART. We wanted to know how long the adoption could take and costs involved because we were already doing IVF and paying out of pocket for those treatments.

One of the biggest choices for people to make when considering adoption is domestic or international.
Some other big decisions to make include:

  • Age of child
  • Would you accept special needs
  • Openness of adoption- there are more options for dometic adoption than international
  • Finding an agency
  • Using an agency or going through an adoption attorney- if you don't go through an agency it is the prospective parents job to locate their own birth mother. (I will go over this in more detail later)
  • If international, choosing a country and program
  • Average wait time for a referral (when the prospective parents are matched with a child)
  • Average wait time after receiving referral (when the child will come home)
  • What is the country's policy on adoptive parents travelling to country (how many times, how long do they need to stay?)
  • The costs
  • How to pay for the adoption

As you can see there are many, many decisions to be made when tackling adoption. The decision to pursue adoption is overwhelming by itself. For many people the choice means the loss of a biological child and pregnancy. While the potential adoptive parents are excited at the prospect of adopting, there remains grief caused by infertility and loss. That is why when people flippantly say, "Why don't you just adopt?" they have no idea what an uneducated and insensitive comment they are making.
It's almost like saying to someone who is facing a life threatening illness, "Why don't you just take vitamins and go to yoga classes." No big deal.

First I will tackle the costs involved.

The following information is from an article in Adoptive Families Magazine. I could list the fees associated with my own international adoption, but these figures offer a wider scope.
Keep in mind this is simply an overview.

Note- The federal government currently offers a tax credit to adoptive parents in the amount of $11,650 in 2008. However, you can only file for this credit in the year the adoption was finalized. For example, our son came home in June 2008. It was our agency's policy to monitor us for six months before releasing our paperwork and allowing us to pursue the finalization of our adoption. This process then took another five months. We will now have to wait to file for the tax credit on our 2009 tax return; therefore, we will have waited nearly 2 years to receive the tax credit to help pay for our adoption.

During 2007-2008 the average cost of any adoption ranged from $25,000-$30,000.
In general, international adoption costs more than domestic. However, part of this is due to the fact that adopting from the foster care system can cost nothing or very little.

Countries offering international adoption vary in costs. Ethiopia is listed as the least expensive program with an average cost of $20,000. Russia is listed as the most expensive program on average at $35,000+. Our adoption from Korea cost $25,000 (through our agency) which as stated before falls in the median cost for adoption in general.

To be continued...


Alicia said...

Thank you the guidance and info! My husband and I are looking forward to adopting in the very near future and need all the help that we can find.

Anonymous said...

Love this:
"That is why when people flippantly say, "Why don't you just adopt?" they have no idea what an uneducated and insensitive comment they are making.
It's almost like saying to someone who is facing a life threatening illness, "Why don't you just take vitamins and go to yoga classes." No big deal."

It's so true. The decision to adopt is a HUGE one. It took us years to come to that decision. Because in making that decision you are also saying to yourself, it's ok if we don't have a biological child. And in doing that you are grieving that child you never had that would have had your eyes and his nose. It's a lot to take in. I know I have fully accepted this. My husband, not so much. He is still hoping for that bio baby while I have moved on. (Something we are working with our infertility counselor on).

Missy said...

Thank you for this and for all you do. One thing I learned yesterday is that the federal adoption tax credit is set to expire in 2010. Unless Congress votes to continue it, but this bill is currently languishing in committee where bills go to die. Below is something from my friend's blog (I'm not linking b/c right now I'm trying to keep my RL and blogging life separate):

The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213 will keep the adoption tax credit from being repealed, and *may* make the tax relief measure permanent. It only takes a few minutes to email or call your senators and congressmen it's important for them to hear from families impacted by the tax credit.

Currently, there are 76 State Senators and Representatives cosponsoring H.R. 213. However, there are 16 states that currently have no sponsors of this bill, including eight on the East Coast* (one of the largest areas of the US with internationally adopted children). H.R. 213 is currently in committee, where most bills die. It imperative that adoptive families, and all friends of children waiting for families, act now. Find out which of your congress members support the bill .

It only takes a few minutes to write, call, or email your representatives and ask them to support H.R. 213. If they are already a cosponsor, please take this opportunity to thank them for supporting this important piece of legislation. Do it today!

Email Your Representative:

Email Your Senator:

KLTTX said...

The "Why don't you just adopt" comments makes me so mad! Our domestic adoption ended up costing us close to $40,000 after paying everything - agency, facilitator, birth mother expenses, living expenses in the other state, attorney and homestudy.

Mommy and them said...

your blog and website are very informative. I will be adding this to my family roll list, I have many friends who need this information. Actually after having my first child I was told I would not be able to have any more. I sit her a proud mama 5 babies later!
visiting from SITS


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