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Can I Afford to Adopt a Child?

Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_afford-adoption-naperville-lawyer.jpgWith a very wide array of adoption routes to take, exploring the idea of adopting a child can seem daunting. Adopting a child is a wonderful decision and can bring immense happiness to parents and the child. Many hopeful parents considering adoption fear the high costs commonly associated with the process. While it is true that certain routes to adoption cost more than others, every adoption does not have to be expensive. Illinois residents looking to adopt may be surprised to discover that not all adoption methods cost thousands of dollars.

There are different types of adoption that each have varying degrees of costs associated with them. As one would imagine, adopting infants typically is much more expensive than adopting a child in foster care or a child under the care of another state agency. In the United States, there are more hopeful parents waiting to adopt infants than there are infants available to adopt. Many would-be adoptive parents work with agencies to locate available infants, and these agencies can be costly. Adoption agencies can set strict acceptance criteria and can charge high rates for home studies, counseling, and medical expenses. Choosing to adopt through an adoption agency can often range from $20,000 to $40,000.

Other hopeful parents decide to adopt an infant privately. This method involves the parents finding a birth mother for themselves, typically with the help of a lawyer or physician. This method is illegal in a few states, but has become more common throughout the United States. Half or more of domestic newborn adoptions in the United States are done through private adoption. While the benefits of private adoption include having contact with the birth mother, controlling the search process, and forgoing requirements of adoption agencies, the costs can be higher. Including potential legal fees and medical expenses, these types of adoptions can reach upwards of $35,000.

Adopting a child from foster care, also known as a child in waiting, is by far the least expensive method of adoption. A 2012 study estimated that children in the foster care system awaiting adoption average 7.8 years old. Adopting a foster child typically happens in one of two different ways. Families can apply to adopt a foster care child, or families can apply to be foster parents with the intention of eventually adopting the child when the birth parents' rights terminate. This method can cost up to $3,000, but through tax credits and government reimbursement, any costs have the potential of being recovered. Government subsidies are also available to help support a child adopted through foster care.

While there is no right or wrong option when choosing to adopt, be sure to examine all options to determine which works best for your family. If you are considering an adoption, or need legal assistance through the adoption process, an experienced Naperville family law attorney can help. Please contact the Pesce Law Group today at 630-352-2240 for more information.

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