What You Need to Know About Adoption

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Costs and Other Considerations for Building Your Family

Adoption can be a loving choice to build your family.  There are many reasons why adoption can be a good option for singles and couples who want to have a child.  Let’s explore why people adopt and other considerations when you’re thinking about adoption.

Why Adoption?

There are physical reasons why a person or a couple may choose to adopt a child.  Perhaps the female partner is unable to carry a child, and the couple doesn’t want or can’t afford to use a gestational surrogate.  A single male who wants to have a family is in a similar situation, as is a male same-sex couple.  Some people who are unable to have a biological child opt for adoption as a compassionate choice.  More than 100,000 children in the U.S. who are in foster care are available for adoption.  Older children and teenagers are in particular need of loving homes.

Types of Adoption

The majority of children in foster care are adopted by their foster parents or relatives, according to AdoptUSKids.org.  Fostering first reduces the number of times a child has to move from one family to another, and allows the child to live with the family before the adoption is finalized.  Most states give priority to relatives and foster parents when a child becomes available for adoption. The rules governing foster care and adoption vary from state to state. Find more information here.

Fewer people give up their infants for adoption in the U.S. than in past decades, but there are 1,700 adoption agencies and attorneys who facilitate infant adoptions, which is known as independent adoption.  Some agencies facilitate international adoptions from countries like South Korea and China.  If you are considering an adoption agency, research the agency with your State’s Attorney General’s Office to see if there have been complaints or legal action taken against the agency.

Transferring donated embryos is an option at some fertility clinics and at a few specialized agencies which match embryo donors and prospective parents.  In these cases, the biological parents had IVF treatment and more embryos were produced than they were able to use.  Embryo “adoption” agencies may have their own requirements for donors and sometimes exclude single people, unmarried couples, and same-sex couples.

Babies vs. Children vs. Teens

Whether you are fostering to adopt or adopting from an agency, it’s important to examine your family situation and determine what age child you want to adopt.  Older children and teenagers have a much harder time getting adopted, while babies are often in demand.  Yet teens need love and care as much as babies do, but of a different kind.  Spending time with a teen through an organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters or CASA could help you decide if fostering or adopting a teen is for you.  Any adoption is for the rest of the child’s life.  It’s a big decision for you and for them.

Adoption Costs

The cost of adoption varies depending on whether you are adopting from foster care or from an adoption agency or attorney.  The average cost of adoption through an agency in the U.S. is $43,000, according to a recent study.  This cost includes adoption agency fees, attorney fees, and some medical and living expenses for the birth mother.  Adoption through an attorney averages $10,000 – $15,000 but may range from $8,000 to $40,000, according to Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Most adoptions from U.S. foster care are free of charge.  Adopting a child from foster care is usually funded by the state, and in most cases there are few or no fees. If you hire an agency to help you through the adoption process, the out-of-pocket costs can typically be recouped from state or federal programs after the adoption is final.

The cost of transferring donated embryos averages about $8,000 and the total cost of the transfer is $10,000-$15,000.  The cost is basically the same as a frozen embryo transfer in IVF, just with a donated embryo instead of one of your own.

Benefits of Adoption

By adopting, you’re giving the gift of family to a child in need, whether it’s a baby, a child, or a teenager.  And you’re creating or extending a family of your own.  Adoption is a gift of love, for a lifetime.