At Abrazo, we understand that adoption is the investment of a lifetime, in a lifetime. We know that nobody has unlimited funding, and that financial status does not determine parenting potential. Adoption decisions should never be all about money, which is surely the “root of all evil.” Abrazo’s goal is to be good stewards of the funds with which we are entrusted; to ensure that needed support is carefully-administered and to never allow financial interests (on anyone’s part) to unduly influence the placement decisions that are made at Abrazo.
State laws and adoption standards dictate that licensed Texas agencies must provide well-qualified staff to provide quality services; for this, reasonable fees must be assessed, since private, nonprofit child-placement agencies like Abrazo have no independent funding source and rely solely on fees and donations to continue to operate.
Abrazo offers three different placement programs, with service fees that are all split into nonrefundable “pre-placement” and “post-adoption” assessments.
The Milagros (full-service) program, for applicants with documented infertility only, requires a fee payment of $8500 within ten (10) days after orientation/acceptance, and a post-adoption fee payment of $8500, due at time of placement.
The Designated (identified) program, for applicants with or without infertility who seek complete casework services for matches located through their own efforts, requires a fee payment of $6500 upon admission, and a post-adoption fee payment of $6500, due at time of placement.
The Promesa (special needs) program, for applicants with or without infertility who are seeking a special needs placement only, requires a fee payment of $4250 upon admission, and a post-adoption fee payment of $4250, due at time of placement.
Abrazo’s Promesa program facilitates hard-to-place cases (ie., children with documented and non-correctible medical disabilities known to the agency at time of placement, children over the age of five, and sibling groups of more than three.) Some special needs placements may also qualify adoptive families to seek state adoption subsidies; ask your homestudy worker for additional information regarding your state’s programs.
Additionally, adopting parents place $3k in escrow with the agency upon remission of fees, and maintain that minimum monthly balance through placement, remitting the balance of estimated case costs (including uninsured hospital bills, legal fees and post-partum support) in full at time of placement. (Click here for information on insurance coverage for adopted children; if your coverage doesn’t begin until Placement Day, you’ll need to budget for the baby’s hospital bill, as well.) Abrazo provides all adopting families with a customized written case cost estimate prior to matching, so clients are fully appraised of anticipated case costs in advance.
The State of Texas permits licensed Texas agencies to “pass-through” any allowable expenditures incurred on behalf of its cases to the prospective/adoptive parents matched with those cases. (This insures that clients don’t get stuck with “flat fees,” which profit agencies when Medicaid/insurance is available or maternity support is unneeded, since those costs are “rolled into” the exorbitant fees charged in such programs.) Only Texas-licensed agencies are permitted to help expectant mothers in Texas with “maternity-related support” during pregnancy and for a post-partum period following placement.) Such assistance is provided by Abrazo only on the basis of documented need, and may include some or all of the following: rent/housing, utilities, transportation, private therapy, childcare, groceries, clothing, medical care, etc.
Since adopting parents are contracting for professional services (not “paying for a child”), agency fees already paid are not lost if a specific match falls through. State laws do not permit agencies nor adopting parents to demand repayment of maternity support in the event that an expectant parent changes their mind about placement prior to relinquishment, so what is lost would be only the actual expenditures incurred by the agency on behalf of the case. The typical full-service case through Abrazo averages $24-27k, including routine maternity support, agency fee, legal fees and court costs for an uncontested termination, and assuming there is full insurance coverage for all birth-related medical charges. (Note: Abrazo does not guarantee medical bills for labor & delivery in advance of relinquishment. Many of Abrazo’s expectant parents do qualify for Medicaid, however, maternal coverage is never a given and adopting families are liable for all birth-related bills after placement if insurance/Medicaid is unavailable or denied for any reason.)
Independent adoption insurance may be available for those who wish to explore such options. However, Abrazo tends to be conservative in its support, and the agency has yet to see any clients lose so much on a failed match that they could not afford to continue the process and adopt successfully.
Additional costs and expenditures for which adopting parents should be prepared, which may not be incurred through the agency but will arise in the course of the process, include travel, homestudy and post-placement supervision, and legal fees and court costs for finalization of the adoption (6-18 months after placement.)
For additional reading about Abrazo’s fee information and financial standards, please refer to the Agency Policy Manual. (Contact your tax-preparer with any questions you may have about any existing adoption tax credit.)