The variation in adoption fees produced by adoption professionals can be confusing for adoptive families who are mostly concerned about becoming a family. Many families pay the adoption fees with funds from a savings account or through a loan, so it is important to be completely informed about the adoption fees, where the money goes, and how families can guard themselves against losing their chance to adopt.
The cost of choosing to place a child for adoption is free for birth mothers. Many expectant mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy are considering adoption because they do not have the financial resources to provide for a child. Once an expectant mother chooses a family as the prospective adoptive parents, the family will help to provide the birth mother with things she may need during her pregnancy, such as maternity clothes and food. The adoptive family wants the best for the pregnant woman and her baby, and so they will help with a reasonable amount of living expenses. Adoption is not an easy choice, but if an expectant mother does choose adoption, American Adoptions and its families want to make sure that the birth mother has the resources she needs to be healthy and well-cared for.
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Adoptive families should be careful and require the adoption agency they choose to explain what is included in an adoption professional’s fees. Many professionals do not include some services which are essential to a successful adoption, which can greatly lower the cost of the adoption services they advertise. There are six categories of fees that should be included within adoption fees, and each category includes important services for a successful adoption.
Advertising costs are usually the category that is left out in many adoption professionals’ list of fees. Some professionals do not have the resources, so they will require that adoptive families place their own ads, which is usually not effective in finding expectant mothers who are committed to placing their child. National agencies usually spend nearly $8,000 on advertising in order to place one healthy Caucasian child. In addition, the money is well spent because the agency is able to support the birth mother through her decision with 24 hour professional counseling, and they are available right when an expectant mother makes the initial phone call inquiring about adoption. Smaller agencies have a much smaller outreach program and are only available during office hours. Families will have to wait a much longer time to complete their adoption if the agency or professional they choose does not have an established advertising outreach program.
Many expectant mothers who are considering adoption are extremely anxious about contacting an adoption professional. They do not know what to expect, what will be asked of them, and many are not sure if adoption is the right choice for them. Adoptive families should choose an adoption organization that has licensed counselors who are available to answer expectant mothers’ calls 24 hours a day. Most women call in the afternoon and late evening hours, so it is essential that the organization staffs counselors who are available throughout the day and evening. Also, the counselors must be professionally trained in order to help an expectant mother understand her options and help her to work through her emotions about her unplanned pregnancy. For every 10 women than inquire about adoption, only 1 places a child through adoption, making it essential that their initial call is handled with the care and understanding they need during this time in their life.
Part of the adoption fees included by some agencies is the cost of counseling that is provided for birth mothers. While not all expectant mothers want or need counseling, it is an important part of the adoption process for birth mothers who need to work through their feelings, anxiety and grief in order to be committed to the adoption. Many adoption lawyers and facilitators merely refer a birth mother to a counselor who may not have the expertise about adoption to answer her questions or calm her fears. Large agencies have dedicated counselors on staff who completely understand the adoption process and are able to help an expectant mother make her decision. If she has chosen adoption, they will then help her through the various obstacles that may arise, which leads to more committed expectant mothers who feel that they have made the right decision for them.
Case Management and counseling are connected, but case management mostly focuses on the procedures involved in the adoption, such as reviewing medical forms, preparing for the hospital stay, consulting with attorneys, and preparing the relinquishment papers. A trained case manager is knowledgeable about adoption procedures and state laws necessary to complete a successful adoption. Without a case manager, the adoptive family may not be informed about the steps in the process, and when problems arise, there is no one to handle the matter efficiently. Adoption lawyers, facilitators and small adoption agencies do not include case management in their adoption fees, so families must pay hourly for this work on top of the original cost of the adoption. This can cause the adoption fees to increase exponentially if a problem arises. Large adoption agencies include this in a successful placement fee that is detailed in the initial adoption fee quote.
Legal representation is necessary for every adoption to be finalized, and it is important for adoptive families to find an experienced adoption attorney. Many adoption facilitators will require that the adoptive family find their own legal representative and contact an attorney to represent the birth parents. Large and small agencies usually have ongoing relationships with legal firms that they trust, and they have in-house staff who are well-versed in the various state laws regarding adoption and can provide support to the attorney.
Travel is important to consider when considering the adoption fees. Many birth mothers may need assistance in traveling to doctor’s appointments, and adoption professionals usually charge a fee if they need to travel to meet the adoptive family or birth mother.
Evaluating the adoption fees presented by an adoption professional should be taken seriously. Adoption professionals do not always provide all the services necessary to complete a successful adoption, and many agencies do not provide any type of risk-protection for fees that would be lost in a disruption. American Adoptions provides a Risk-Sharing Program to families to protect them, and we allow families to determine an adoption budget so that they can complete a successful adoption within their resources.
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