As you’ve spent some time researching the adoption process for hopeful adoptive families, you may have stumbled upon something known as “living expenses” or “birth mother expenses.” These are fees that all adoptive parents pay to cover all pregnancy- and adoption-related costs for the prospective birth mother. In other terms, this is called “adoption financial assistance.” But, why do you have to pay expenses that were incurred before you were matched?

That’s what we are here to explain.We’ve created this comprehensive article so that we can explain exactly what birth mother expenses are and what they include. Keep in mind, though, that living expenses will vary depending on what state the prospective birth mother lives in. Now, without further ado, here’s everything that hopeful adoptive parents like you need to know about birth mother expenses.

What Are Birth Mother Expenses? [What They Include]

Birth mother expenses are fees adoptive parents pay so that prospective birth mothers don’t need to pay for any adoption- or pregnancy-related costs. This is so that prospective birth mothers don’t have to worry about handling the finances on top of their pregnancy. It allows them to dedicate all their attention to their health and their baby.

So, what do living expenses include, for the most part? Below, we have outlined a handful of examples of what adoption financial assistance typically covers. Although this is not everything, we’ve provided some examples to give you a general idea:

  • Maternity clothes
  • Transportation to doctor’s appointments
  • Necessary phone calls
  • Groceries
  • And more

There is one thing that we would like to clarify. Providing financial assistance for the birth mother is not “paying” them for adoption, and that’s seldom the reason why they choose adoption in the first place. Rather, birth mother expenses are a way to make adoption a much more accessible option for women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. When you handle these fees, it shows the prospective birth mother that you support them during this challenging time, and it will mean a lot.

If it weren’t for you, then the prospective birth mother would have to take on many of the expenses on their own. For example, they may be working a full-time job to afford their pregnancy, and their employer might not even offer paid maternity leave. This is when you step in to provide the help that they need.

Why Birth Parents Are Not “Getting Paid” for Adoption

Although it’s common to wonder if birth parents “get paid” for adoption, this idea is far from the truth. Prospective birth mothers do not receive any extra money aside from the financial assistance and living expenses that cover all necessary costs. Taken at a literal level, “getting paid” for adoption is illegal, as it could signify trafficking.

In most cases, your adoption professional, such as our trusted team at American Adoptions, will take care of living expenses in as direct a manner as possible. They will pay the prospective birth mother’s rent directly to the landlord, and they will pay utilities directly to the respective utility companies.     

Responsibilities of Hopeful Adoptive Parents [What You Need to Know]

Because you are a hopeful adoptive parent, you will be responsible for handling these birth mother expenses. It lets the prospective birth mother know that they have your full, unwavering support. Adoption is not about money, but by covering these costs, it goes a long way toward showing the prospective birth mother how much you care about them and their adoption process.

Aside from covering the costs of adoption and pregnancy, though, your most important responsibility as an adoptive parent is to be there for the prospective birth mother each and every step of the way. This includes being at the hospital whenever they may need you and staying in touch with them long after placement through open adoption, as long as they’re comfortable with it.


Hopefully, you now have a solid grasp of birth mother expenses and what they exactly entail. But, if you are still wondering why you need to pay expenses before matching, then we are here to answer all your questions. That’s why you can call us at 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to get free adoption information now. We’re happy to help you in any way that we can!