Here in Maryland, the average cost of adoption ranges from $20,000 to $50,000, which includes things like the home study, court and legal fees, birth mother medical expenses and legal expenses, and pre-adoption and post-adoption counseling for birth parents. And more than “60 percent of adopted children in the U.S. are adopted by middle- and lower-income taxpayers,” says Jim Daly, president of Focus on Family. So, saving for adoption is incredibly important.
Saving for Adoption 101
“If you have a child [biologically] and in the hospital, you have health insurance to cover the bills,” says Kendra Taylor, who is currently in the process of adopting four children from foster care. “Nothing covers the legal fees for adoption. You’re on the hook for it.” So, it can be helpful to know some of the resources available to help fund your adoption. “Sure, there are thousands of creative, boring, and downright ridiculous ways to save money for adoption,” writes Lori Resmer, Fund Your Adoption. But we are going to focus on a few key ways to help fund your adoption here in Maryland.
- Adoption Tax Credit: The Federal Adoption Tax Credit – $14,080 per child in 2019 – has been on the books for 20 years. “You qualify for the Adoption Tax Credit if you adopted a child and paid out-of-pocket expenses necessary to the adoption,” explains Dawn Davenport, Creating a Family. If you do not have enough tax liability to use up the credit in the first year, you can carry it over for up to five years.
- Adoption Grants: “A number of national organizations offer grant programs to prospective adoptive parents,” writes Michele Fried, The Penny Hoarder.
- Gift of Adoption Fund – average grant of $3,500
- Help Us Adopt – up to $15,000
- National Adoption Foundation – grants up to $2,000 and loans up to $50,000
- Boatner Family Foundation – up to $10,000
- Employer Adoption Benefit Program: Some companies actually offer financial reimbursement for adoption fees and paid leave. You may even be able to exclude some income as taxable. “Few employers advertise adoption benefits,” says Fried. “Don’t hesitate to dig a little deeper to see what might be available.”
- Maryland State Adoption Assistance Program: Click here to review the information about the adoption assistance benefits that may be available to families who adopt children from foster care in Maryland.
“Financial incentives do make a difference in people’s decisions on whether to adopt,” says Adam Pertman, president and founder of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency. “Not that they do it for the money, but it’s expensive and it makes a difference and helps people get to yes.”
Covering Birth Mother Medical Expenses and More
“The expenses that prospective parents can pay in connection with an adoption are regulated by state law, and vary from state to state,” says Colleen Marea Quinn, chairman of the Birth Parents Rights Committee of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. “In most states, adoptive parents can pay a birth family’s reasonable medical, legal, and counseling expenses.”
Maryland is one of those states. In 2013, Governor Martin O’Malley signed House Bill 563 into law, which allows adoptive families to help cover certain expenses. These include:
- Birth Mother Medical Expenses: If the birth mother does not have insurance, medical expenses, hospital costs, and reasonable expenses for transportation for medical care are covered by adoptive families.
- Birth Mother Legal Expenses: Adoptive families also cover all legal expenses.
- Birth Mother Counseling Expenses: “Counseling is a necessary component of infant adoption, not just prior to placement but, in many cases, after placement as well,” write Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of the National Council For Adoption, and Kris Faasse, LMSW, ACSW, Director of Adoption Services for Bethany Christian Services. Adoptive families also cover reasonable charges or fees for adoption counseling.
- Birth Mother Living Expenses: “In some circumstances, living expenses are also paid,” says Dean Kirschner, Ph.D., LCSW-C, “if [a birth mother] cannot work because of a condition directly related to the pregnancy – and prescribed by a physician.”
Once paid, these expenses are non-refundable, even if the adoption plan falls through. This is why “legal and medical expenses are paid AFTER the revocation period expires to prevent families from paying for expenses and losing the opportunity to adopt the baby,” says Dr. Kirschner.
Have Questions About Saving for Adoption? Talk to an Adoption Counselor
The professionals at Adoption Makes Family have many years of experience in adoption services, and will walk you through every step of the adoption process and provide tips to help with saving for adoption. We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland, and our experienced adoption counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
24 Hour Hotline: 410-683-2100
Adoption Makes Family uses a sliding scale for the adoption placement fees based on several factors, including household income. You may contact Adoption Makes Family to learn where you are on the sliding scale.
If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at email@example.com or use our online contact form.