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Do Mothers "Get Paid" for Adoption?

Understanding Living Expenses for Rent, Utilities, Groceries & More

As a woman considering adoption for your child, you likely know that prospective birth mothers are eligible to receive financial assistance for putting a baby up for adoption. However, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about this adoption “compensation” for birth mothers — what it really means and what it actually looks like to get financial assistance for adoption. It’s common for women to wonder, “Can I get money for giving my baby up for adoption? Do adoption agencies pay birth mothers for pursuing an adoption plan?”

The answer to both questions is no — there is a difference between “giving a baby up” for adoption money and receiving adoption financial assistance during your pregnancy.

However, while you don’t necessarily “get paid” for adoption, you may be entitled to get help covering your pregnancy-related expenses. Known as “living expenses,” these funds are determined by your financial needs and the amount allowed by the state in which you live. Here, we clear up some of the confusion about living expenses and outline what you can expect in the form of financial help when making an adoption plan for your baby.

“Do you get paid to give your baby up for adoption?”

No. This one thing should be made clear from the very beginning: a mother of a baby does not “get paid” for adoption. There are no adoption agencies that pay you for the baby or for your consent to adoption, and it is illegal to “give your baby up” for adoption for money. If someone offers to give you money to give your baby up for adoption, that could be considered trafficking, and it can have serious legal consequences.

The laws about pursuing adoption for compensation are pretty clear — so why is it that so many women still ask, “If you give your baby up for adoption, do you get money?”

It’s because many women do get money from adoption — but only to cover their pregnancy- and adoption-related living expenses. Read on to learn more.

“Is there financial assistance for adoption?”

Every state has unique laws, but yes, in most states, adoptive parents are able to provide financial help for birth mothers “giving a baby up” for adoption. It’s important to always work with a licensed adoption agency like American Adoptions to ensure you are receiving the living expenses you are entitled to, and that all payments made by the adoptive family to cover your living expenses are legal.

Living expenses may include:

  • Rent and utilities

  • Food

  • Transportation

  • Maternity clothing

  • Phone service

  • And much more

American Adoptions and the adoptive families we work with can cover your living expenses during your adoption plan. Both courts and adoptive families understand that you may need help with money during the adoption and that it may be difficult for you to work, live in your current environment or care for your family while you are pregnant, especially if your family, friends or community are not supportive of your pregnancy or adoption decision.

Your adoption specialist will speak with you to learn more about your possible financial needs and create a plan for covering your expenses during the adoption process.

“How much support can I get? When will it be available?”

Financial assistance for adoption varies by your living situation, stage of pregnancy and the state or county you live in. For example, if a woman is still in high school and living with her parents, she might not need as much support for living expenses as a woman who is in her 20s or 30s, lives on her own and supports herself and her children. We understand that your living situation and needs may change throughout your pregnancy as well. For instance, you may have the support of your family or boyfriend, but if you lose that support or seek a new living situation, your living expenses may change.

Once your adoption specialist has a better understanding of your financial needs during your pregnancy, he or she will work as quickly as possible to get you financial assistance. You may be able to receive financial assistance during your pregnancy and several weeks after.

Because living expenses are regulated through the court system and various laws, American Adoptions can provide you with just as much financial assistance as any other adoption professional.

More Common Questions About Financial Support When Choosing Adoption

If you’re considering your unplanned pregnancy options or starting the adoption process, you likely have some additional questions about financial support when “giving a baby up” for adoption. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about financial assistance and compensation for placing a baby for adoption:

“Do you get paid for putting your baby up for adoption? Do you make money by giving up a child for adoption?”

We addressed this question earlier in the article, but it bears repeating — no, you cannot “get paid” for adoption. However, it is always completely free to place your baby for adoption, and you may also be eligible to receive living expenses to help you financially while you’re pregnant.

“Do you receive money for adopting a child?”

While adoptive parents who foster or adopt a child from foster care may receive a stipend to help provide for any special needs the child may have, adoptive parents who adopt a baby through an adoption agency are not paid. In fact, adoption can be a costly process for adoptive families. Parents who are adopting a child do so because they want to complete their family.

“Do adoption agencies pay birth mothers?”

No. There are no adoption agencies that pay you to place a child for adoption. Giving a person money, gifts or favors in exchange for a child is illegal and unethical, which is why women who attempt to get paid for adoption when finding adoptive parents on their own can face such serious legal charges. This is why it’s important to always work with a licensed adoption agency to place your child for adoption.

“Who decides how much adoption financial assistance I can receive?”

Much of your eligibility will depend on your individual situation. Additionally, the laws of the state in which you live will often regulate how much and what type of assistance you can receive. A court will also usually need to approve the assistance that is paid to a pregnant woman choosing adoption by the adoptive parents. The adoption agency is rarely in control of how much assistance you’re able to receive, although they’ll be the ones to dispense those funds once they’re approved.

“What can I use the financial support for?”

Costs like medical expenses for your pregnancy, groceries, rent, utilities or help getting to and from doctor’s appointments are the most common uses for adoption financial assistance given to pregnant women. Again, the type of financial assistance you can receive will vary depending on your situation, so your adoption specialist can let you know what your living expenses can and cannot be used for.

“What kinds of expenses are not covered by adoption financial assistance for birth mothers?”

Most states have a law that says in order for you to receive living expenses, those requested expenses have to be approved by a court as being “reasonable.” That means you can’t use financial support from adoption to purchase luxuries or “unnecessary” items that aren’t needed for you or your family’s day-to-day living. So, for example, a new car would not be considered a “reasonable” expense, but if you needed help with your electric bill, a court will find that within reason.

“Why do mothers get paid for adoption expenses?”

Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be stressful, and it takes tremendous love and courage to make an adoption plan for your baby. Adoption is a selfless gift that you give to your baby and to a waiting family, and it requires significant emotional sacrifices on your part. It shouldn’t also be a financial burden. Adoption financial assistance is meant to help ease the financial challenges of pregnancy so you can have a healthy pregnancy and focus on making the best possible choices for yourself and your baby.

“How can I get paid for adoption-related expenses?”

Call 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about the financial assistance for which you may be eligible, or contact us online to request free adoption information.

Disclaimer: State, federal and local laws determine American Adoptions’ and an adoptive family’s ability to provide you with financial assistance and also determine how much financial assistance can be made available to you.

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Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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