When a couple can’t have children of their own, or doesn’t want to, adoption is a very popular option. Thousands of American families adopt children every year, through various different means. However, the process of adopting a child can sometimes be prohibitively expensive, which can cause problems for prospective adopters. We were curious about why, exactly, adoption is so expensive, and we turned to our legal professionals to find the answers. They had a lot of helpful insights that make the complicated and costly process of adoption seem far less daunting and more reasonable.
1. Putting the Expense in Perspective
When people say that adoption is expensive, they usually mean in comparison to natural births. What they fail to consider, though, is how expensive having a biological child usually is. Our legal professional Brian of Aescheleman Law explains:
“The average child birth in the U.S. is billed at $30,000, so the $10,000 – $40,000 that nearly 80 percent of U.S. adoptions cost may seem more appropriate in relation.”
$40,000 is a lot of money–but so is $30,000. When compared to the cost of having a child via birth, adoption doesn’t seem so expensive. You just have to consider it in perspective.
2. You Aren’t Buying the Child
Another common misconception is people who think that the price of adoption is the price of the child, as if the child were a commodity that could be bought and sold. In fact, it is much more complicated than that. Legal professional Kimberly Pelkey Sdeo of Maselli Warren, P.C. elaborates:
“There are many moving parts in an adoption – social workers, legal fees, agency expenses, home study expenses, etc. … Adoption is not paying an agency or a birth mother for a child – it’s a process with many steps to ensure the integrity of that process and as such, it comes at a cost.”
It’s not the child him or herself who you are paying for when you adopt. You are paying for the adoption process, which ensures that children are placed in safe environments and properly cared for, just as you would pay for medical costs to ensure that a biological child came out healthy.
3. Less Costly Options
Additionally, while private and overseas adoptions can have staggering costs, they are not the only options. Thousands of children in the U.S. currently live in the foster system, which not only costs less to adopt through, but actually helps financially support adoptive parents. Legal professional John Ireland of RaiseAChild explains,
Fostering and adopting is usually no-cost…. Most children receive a monthly stipend of between $500 and $1,000 until they are 18 years old, even after adoption finalization. They also receive free health coverage. This support offsets the cost of raising children and the stipend can often function as a college fund, saved for later.”
Private adoption can get expensive quickly, but the thousands of children in the foster care system who need good homes can be adopted for a fraction of the cost. Many prospective adoptive parents are wary of the foster system, but in many cases it can be a better, more secure option. As Ireland also points out, “So much of the guess work of pregnancy, birth, relinquishment and change of heart afterwards are simply not present with a public adoption.”
Photo credit Swami Stream.