Any time a question gets asked about money for adoption, one thing is sure: somebody is bound to get uncomfortable. And not without good reason.

Because no adoption should ever happen just because money was the reason, right?

It’s against the law in every state for babies or children to be bought or sold. This is why the best states (Texas included) prohibit anyone from arranging an adoption unless it is done a licensed adoption agency. (Even Texas attorneys cannot arrange adoptions– not without having a valid agency license.)

Can I get money for adoption if I give up my baby or child?

That’s a question that comes up often (especially since surrogacy agencies brazenly advertise on billboards across Texas what they’ll pay for mothers to carry surrogate babies. In adoption, though, nobody can buy or sell a baby or child. And anybody who arranges an adoption without a license or who offers to buy or sell a baby or child for adoption in the Lone Star State violates the babyselling statute of the Texas Penal Code. (Read it here.)

This means that in Texas, mothers planning to place babies for adoption cannot get paid for it. However, licensed Texas adoption agencies like Abrazo can help a mother planning adoption for her newborn with limited maternity support. Those with documented needs may get free housing, groceries, clothing, basic utilities, prenatal care, counseling,  transportation to maternity-related services and even childcare for her other children during hospitalization. This help from our agency continues for a few weeks or months after placement, as needed, to assist a recovering birthmother get back on her feet.

Where can we get the money for adoption?

Unfortunately, many infertile couples only turn to adoption after spending all their savings on unsuccessful fertility treatments. It can seem challenging to raise the funds to cover the expenses of adopting an infant, but don’t forget that the costs of 21 years of parenting will be far greater.

People who want to adopt children out of state foster care find adoption can be very inexpensive, since the taxpayers help cover most of the costs, except for home studies and legal services. Those who want to adopt only newborns or babies and wish to adopt privately, whether through a private, nonprofit adoption agency like Abrazo or through an adoption attorney, will find the costs vary widely, depending on the agency or attorney fees and the case expenses.

Still, there are adoption loans and grants available for those seeking money for adoption and ways of affording the adoption process in the US, where 50 couples are reportedly trying to adopt every one infant available for adoption. The Adoption Tax Credit is a federal program that benefits certain adoptive families in the US, as well as some hopeful adopters whose plans fell through. And in 2025, the word is that the ever-rising tax credit will again be refundable. (There are no similar tax benefits for the birthparents who make adoptions possible, unfortunately, nor for those whose adoption plans get unexpectedly abandoned by the adoptive parents. That says something, doesn’t it?)

Why do agencies charge so much money for adoption?

An adoption agency that is state-licensed in Texas can collect money for adoption services such as home studies, counseling, casework, foster care and post-placement supervision, which are called  “fees”.  Agencies, by law, can also be reimbursed money for adoption case costs like medical expenses, legal fees and court costs for termination of parental rights, for postage, childcare, providing placing parents with housing and other state-approved living expenses, client transportation, staff travel costs, etc. (These are called “pass-through expenditures” and must all be carefully documented, as these can be reviewed at any time by the adoptive parents, judges, ICPC (Interstate Compact) officials and/or state licensing investigators.)

Ethical adoption agencies tend to charge lower fees, even if case expenses may still seem high. Nonprofit agencies are typically more reasonable than for-profit adoption centers. (But regardless: all adoption agencies in Texas are restricted from seeking reimbursement for case costs from a maternity client/prospective birthparent who changes their mind about placing. In these situations, any lost funds are usually the responsibility of the adoptive parents, except for those using more expensive adoption programs that claim to cover lost support costs but make it up in the enormous agency fees collected upfront.)

If my parents had the money for adoption, why didn’t they have the money to help my parents keep me?

You don’t want to know how many adoptees secretly wonder about this. (But you can probably guess why this is the one question that birthparents, adoptive parents and even adoption professionals hope won’t get asked?)

There is a lot of inequity in adoption… and there always has been. It’s unfair that some folks get plagued with infertility, while others suffer from hyperfertility  Love isn’t all it takes to have a baby– nor to safely raise a child to adulthood. And yet, financial stability and home ownership are no indicator of superior parenting skills. Adoption cannot guarantee a better life, just a different one.

No baby who was ever adopted got to have a say in whether or not they wanted to be an adoptee. But you can bet that every adoptee has some kind of feelings about being adopted, no matter if they feel it was a positive or negative choice that got made for them.

Adoption is always borne of loss for someone. This is why many adult adoptees (and others) find it disturbing to see hopeful adopters using GoFundMe or adoption fundraising schemes to be able to afford to adopt. If viewed another way, all that money was donated to obtain the baby of someone who might have been able to parent, had all those financial gifts paid for the birthparent’s household costs or debts or legal fees, instead? (The problem with this logic is that lack of financial stability is rarely the only reason anyone places a child for adoption, even if it’s the reason they think others will probably understand best.)

To Sum It Up… (see what we did, there?)

There’s a lot to unpack here, we know. There’s way more to discuss about money for adoption than can possibly be covered in a simple blog post. But here’s the main thing to remember: to be  truly an adoption done for the best interests of a child, the adoption cannot be centered around money. It cannot have happened just because someone paid money for adoption, nor because someone got money for adoption.

Because someday, everyone involved will have to answer to the adoptee for how and why the adoption was done, and we all owe it to each child (and the adult they will one day become) to ensure that it happened the right way and for the right reasons. (And that’s never just about anyone giving or getting money for adoption.)






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