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Do Mothers "Get Paid" for Adoption?

[10 Questions About Financial Assistance for Birth Mothers]

You cannot be paid to choose adoption, nor can you sell your baby. But, you may be eligible for financial assistance when putting a baby up for adoption, in addition to getting free services. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about this adoption “compensation” for birth mothers — what it means and what it looks like to get financial assistance for adoption. To get basic information, contact us now at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Because an unplanned pregnancy is expensive and can quickly become a financial burden, it leaves many prospective birth mothers questioning what to do next.

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 for money and receiving adoption financial assistance during your pregnancy.

Here, we clear up some of the confusion about living expenses and outline what you can expect in the form of financial support when giving baby up for adoption. You can always call 1-800-ADOPTION or fill out our online form to get answers to all of your pregnancy- and adoption-related questions.

Until then, continue reading this article on how financial assistance works for birth mothers, and to get information and answers to 10 questions birth mothers have about financial assistance during adoption.

1) “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. 

2) "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. 

As one of the nation’s largest national domestic infant adoption agencies, with over 25 years of experience, American Adoptions can be that agency. We help birth mothers every step of the way, ensuring you are receiving the living expenses you are entitled to and that all payments made by the adoptive family for 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 pregnancy and adoption plan. Courts and adoptive families understand that you may need help with money during the adoption. They understand 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 professional will speak with you to learn more about your possible financial needs and create a plan for covering your expenses during the adoption process.

3) “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 professional 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 — different agencies are not able to pay you any more or less.

Other 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:

4) “Do you get paid for putting your baby up 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.

5) “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.

6) “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 the adoptive parents provide to a pregnant woman. 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.

7) “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 professional can let you know what your living expenses can and cannot be used for.

8) “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 need help with your electric bill a court will find that within reason.

9) “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 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.

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

We understand the financial aspect of adoption can be confusing, but we are here to help. Call 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about the financial assistance for which you may be eligible, or contact us online to get 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.

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

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

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