Jump to content
Stork Central

Financing An Adoption

Recommended Posts

RE: 2013 Fee Increases

After careful consideration of Abrazo's program costs and projected expenses, the ever-increasing costs of advertising and the changing technology, the following changes are necessarily being implemented for all clients receiving Abrazo placement program admission letters as of/after 1/1/13 (changes are in bold print):

Inquiry fee ($35): No change

Application fee ($150): No change

Orientation fee: ($299): No change, but all attendees must stay at the agency's host hotel at least one night.

MILAGROS (full-service) Program Fees:

Preplacement: $7750 / Postadoption: $7750

Designated Program Fees:

Preplacement: $5750 / Postadoption: $5750

PROMESA (Special Needs) Program Fee ($7500 total): No change

NOTE: healthy African-American infants will no longer be considered "special needs" placements.

Homestudy Audit/ICPC fee ($550): no change

Homestudy Fee ($1200): no change

Agency finalization service fee ($350): no change

Trip fee (currently $85 for all out-of-county staff travel): increases to $100 per out-of-county trip

Accounting research fee: $75 per hour or portion thereof: no change.

Post-placement supervisory visits: Abrazo can no longer waive the post-placement charge of $200 per in-office post-placement visits for out-of-state couples. We started writing these up "pro-bono" as a courtesy since out-of-state couples were already having to pay the homestudy audit/ICPC fee, but this is no longer possible, given that all in-state couples must pay for 5 post-placement visits now (as a result of licensing changes) and Licensing requires agencies to apply policies equally to all clientele.

Post-adoption service fees for those who did not adopt or place through Abrazo are still under consideration.

The fee increases cited above still distinguish Abrazo as the most economical adoption program in San Antonio. We regret the need to raise fees at all, because it is just as important to us as ever to ensure that adoption is affordable to all. However, we trust that our efforts to be conservative and to use good stewardship of our resources will enable us to continue to be effective in serving those who need us in the years to come.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stork,

Looks like the Q&A section of the abrazo.org adopting parent section needs an update with the changes listed above.

http://abrazo.org/want-to-adopt/adopting-parent-faq/

37. Does your “special needs” adoption option include bi-racial children or is that only children with physical special needs?

Abrazo’s special needs program applies to children of any age of full African-American ancestry, children of any race who are over the age of five, sibling groups of more than three being placed together, and children with noncorrectable disabilities known to the agency at time of placement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RE: 2013 Fee Increases

After careful consideration of Abrazo's program costs and projected expenses, the ever-increasing costs of advertising and the changing technology, the following changes are necessarily being implemented for all clients receiving Abrazo placement program admission letters as of/after 1/1/13 (changes are in bold print):

Inquiry fee ($35): No change

Application fee ($150): No change

Orientation fee: ($299): No change, but all attendees must stay at the agency's host hotel at least one night.

MILAGROS (full-service) Program Fees:

Preplacement: $7750 / Postadoption: $7750

Designated Program Fees:

Preplacement: $5750 / Postadoption: $5750

PROMESA (Special Needs) Program Fee ($7500 total): No change

NOTE: healthy African-American infants will no longer be considered "special needs" placements.

Homestudy Audit/ICPC fee ($550): no change

Homestudy Fee ($1200): no change

Agency finalization service fee ($350): no change

Trip fee (currently $85 for all out-of-county staff travel): increases to $100 per out-of-county trip

Accounting research fee: $75 per hour or portion thereof: no change.

Post-placement supervisory visits: Abrazo can no longer waive the post-placement charge of $200 per in-office post-placement visits for out-of-state couples. We started writing these up "pro-bono" as a courtesy since out-of-state couples were already having to pay the homestudy audit/ICPC fee, but this is no longer possible, given that all in-state couples must pay for 5 post-placement visits now (as a result of licensing changes) and Licensing requires agencies to apply policies equally to all clientele.

Post-adoption service fees for those who did not adopt or place through Abrazo are still under consideration.

The fee increases cited above still distinguish Abrazo as the most economical adoption program in San Antonio. We regret the need to raise fees at all, because it is just as important to us as ever to ensure that adoption is affordable to all. However, we trust that our efforts to be conservative and to use good stewardship of our resources will enable us to continue to be effective in serving those who need us in the years to come.

PROMESA (Special Needs) Program Fee ($7500 total): No change

NOTE: healthy African-American infants will no longer be considered "special needs" placements.

I was really happy to see this change.

Very fair and understandable updates throughout, Abrazochicks (and board). Good job. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wanted to add another fundraising resource that I have come across.

http://www.147millionorphans.com/

This website sells merchandise at discounted costs and allows potential adopters to use the funds raised toward their adoptions.

I know that the term "147 Million Orphans" applies to International adoptions, but they also sell really cute jewelry that was made by Haitian artisans. So, by purchasing their jewelry you can help Haitian artisans, help 147 Million Orphans fund medical clinics globally, and raise money toward your own domestic adoption. Everyone wins!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Parents-In-Waiting: please keep in mind that our agency's "financial stability" requirement does make it necessary for adopting parents to retain full personal responsibility for all escrow and fee payments for which they are contractually obligated. This means that Abrazo cannot accept financial nor legal responsibility for escrow fund and fee payments sent to the agency by persons or parties other than approved clients, under the directives of Abrazo's Board of Directors.

As a 501c3 charitable organization, Abrazo cannot document payments made by other persons or entities as "tax deductible contributions" if such are designated to the use or benefit or financial obligations of a specific adoptive couple. (Nor can adoptive parents consider the monetary gifts of others as part of their personal adoption investment when claiming the adoption tax credit.)

Our agency previously found itself in an ethical dilemma years ago when an adopting couple was discovered to have solicited adoption grants in excess of their actual adoption costs, in hopes of reaping the unneeded funds as part of their escrow refund after finalization. As a result of that experience, it was decided that adoptive parents receiving personal financial assistance from other persons, organizations or entities must have such funds remitted to them directly, to ensure that Abrazo is in no way liable for the acquisition or distribution of such "gifts," benefits or awards.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but Abrazo continues to do its best to keep its fees and costs affordable and to ensure that the adopting families granted acceptance have the necessary means (and fiscal responsibility) to not just adopt but to parent effectively for years to come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An adoptee's perspective on adoption fundraising:

http://www.laura-den...sary-spotlight/

(Text appears below, in case the link goes bad.)

Adoption Fundraising–Glossary Spotlight

I’ve avoided tackling this subject because I’ve been trying to develop a calm, logical reason as to why adoption fundraising is so “icky” … without playing the “you’re raising money to buy a child” card. So today, I will limit the snark in an effort to avoid alienating people who might be open to understanding my perspective.

Let’s all put on our thinking caps and our big-girl/big-boy underpants.

What is adoption fundraising?

It’s raising money (in increasingly creative ways) to afford the up-front costs of adopting a child, specifically an infant, domestically or internationally. Prospective adoptive parents are generally in need of $30,000-$50,000 in fees or travel costs. When adopting from the foster care system, fundraisers are often not needed because fees are nominal.

So what’s so icky about that?

Money-and-Adoption_Laura-Dennis_Serbia-300x274.jpg

Well, a clueless neighbor might later say to the adopted son, “Hey! I got a great record player at the garage sale for your adoption!” … Um? Ick. Devil’s advocate … Are people really that clueless? And if they are, does it actually scar the adoptee? What’s the big deal?

Blame the game, not the player

I want to remind my dear readers that I am an adoptee, in reunion and I love my adoptive family. I was adopted from a closed adoption system as an infant; and yes, my adoptive parents paid significant fees to get me. I don’t blame them, it was a different time, attitudes were different.

I blame the institution.

Because this is such a difficult subject, I also turned to the Lost Daughters bloggers, soliciting their opinions as adult adoptees. [Takes out magic wand, and waves dramatically.] I will now attempt to apply calm, rational arguments to a highly emotional subject.

Okay, okay, enough with the disclaimers get to the point already, Laura.

Adoption fundraising fuels a vicious cycle in a fraught institution.

Money should not be changing hands; because what happens is that the “best inventory” goes to the highest paying client. The moment you cap–or eliminate–fees, baby brokers and adoption agencies lose their financial incentive. Fewer adoptions happen, and fewer families are separated. I believe this is a good thing. I would like to see more families supported–emotionally and financially, and thereby preserved.

Fellow adoptee and adoptive parent, Rebecca Hawkes explains why those involved in adoption fundraising ought to rethink their stance:

We recognize that, in domestic infant adoption, at least, there are already far more hopeful adoptive parents than there are infants who are truly in need of homes. I can’t separate my reaction to adoption fundraising from all of this.

I can’t view the fundraising as contributing to the common good because I know too much about the whole picture of adoption.

I’m also aware that many mothers who relinquish do so from lack of support and resources; it’s problematic to me to think of giving money to one set of people (however nice and likable they may be) so they can acquire the child of someone else, who might very well have kept the child if they had the financial resources to do so.

Adoption fundraising feeds the beast.

Even if an agency is nonprofit, money changing hands in adoption sustains an industry that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

LD blogger Jenn, who blogs at Insert Bad Movie Title Here passed along this article about the large salaries and sketchy spending habits of executives of non-profit adoption agencies.

Adoption fundraising is a matter of misplaced priorities.

Amanda Woolston at The Declassified Adoptee had this to say:

"Some children do need a new home and adoptive parents do not set the fees. While adoptive parents do have influence and responsibilities to be ethical, the system structure is set by government and professionals who set these fees. We need to ask these entities, if a child truly needs a home, why set a catastrophic barrier to the tune of $50,000 in some cases for this to occur? Especially when we know from foster care adoptions that making it affordable to adopt increases the available homes for children.

"To me, not only does fundraising show the misplaced priorities, it shows more people aren’t questioning the system. I’ve received feedback over the years from some adoptive parents who don’t mind the fees because having more money pushes them ahead in the waiting list. If you can pay the fee, you get to adopt. If you cannot pay the fee, you cannot adopt. It gives someone who has more money, or who could raise the money, an edge on an otherwise enormous waiting list.

The system needs to change."

Yes, Amanda! The system needs to change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pie in the sky.

Adopting from foster care IS cheaper, but it is still expensive (around $10,000 for legal fees in this state).

While I can understand how this would make an adoptee fee "icky", it's unreasonable to assume that just because someone is infertile they have piles of money laying around to afford to expand their family.

It's not reasonable or ethical to suggest that infertile folks should give their resources away so that other families can "stay together". There is no way to ever prove that giving funds to others will increase their own ability to parent. It's not always about the money for placing parents.

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree this article didn't do much to convince me, to see her side. But I think there is a grain of truth to be found.

There is something much more endearing about parents working hard and saving for their future, for their family, sacrificing today and for many years, before their ultimate dream of parenting by adopting can be realized. And a life lesson of perserverance to share with their children. Rather than, just deciding adoption is the way to go and then figuring out how to enlist donations from others to help fund this decision. Adopting doesn't come easy, it's not supposed to.

Stability and perserverance are great traits to live by.

Karen

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pie in the sky.

Adopting from foster care IS cheaper, but it is still expensive (around $10,000 for legal fees in this state).

While I can understand how this would make an adoptee fee "icky", it's unreasonable to assume that just because someone is infertile they have piles of money laying around to afford to expand their family.

It's not reasonable or ethical to suggest that infertile folks should give their resources away so that other families can "stay together". There is no way to ever prove that giving funds to others will increase their own ability to parent. It's not always about the money for placing parents.

I'm relieved that I'm not the only person who felt this way. When parents choose to place, it's not always about the money, and that's okay. When people make statements that adoptions shouldn't happen, I'm not sure they consider that they're, in a way, judging birth parents who placed because they didn't feel they could parent well, or perhaps did not want to parent.

I know a few couples who had to raise funds to adopt because on their salaries, it would have taken many years to save the tens of thousands of dollars in fees that they would have needed to pay in a short amount of time. One couple tried adopting through foster care but after 3 years, they were getting no where with trying to adopt a child under age 5.

I agree that adoption fees should be regulated. Adoption should not be a for-profit business. If the author feels this strongly about the money exchanged in adoptions, I wonder whether she is focusing any energy on changing the laws?

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not reasonable or ethical to suggest that infertile folks should give their resources away so that other families can "stay together". There is no way to ever prove that giving funds to others will increase their own ability to parent. It's not always about the money for placing parents.

I think this has been dis proven in a way given that state aid is so generous yet placements still happen especially in subsequent children. Money alone is not all it takes to a raise a child.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a couple of fundraisers before we adopted our son. I have been told by many of our church members who helped that they feel closer to our kids because they helped us bring Jack home. We also applied for several grants whose foundations raise money to fund the grants, so is there a difference there?

I have a good friend who has three biological children who is currently waiting a international adoption. She is doing several fundraisers to bring her next child home. Grace Ann loves wearing the shirt she bought from one of their fundraisers because she is so excited to help another child come home.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is insulting to me that I have heard so much about potential/hopeful adoptive parents giving us biological parents money in order to make our problems go away. As if a lump sum of money is going to make our situations better. It isn't just about money (and I'm glad to know that so many Abrazo families recognize this!). How is a "donation" from a prospective adoptive couple going to fix the intangible and non-mometary problems that exist and make placements necessary or optimal for birth parents and their children? Sickening. To me, it isn't "buying" a child, as we birth parents never see that money.

I am totally for adoption fundraising! If a couple were pregnant with their biological child and did a fundraiser to help subsidize the costs of raising a child, would anyone raise an eyebrow? Doubtful. This is just a thought but I would be willing to bet people would be thrilled to help. People save for vacations, cars, houses, children's college funds, etc. Are they also unworthy of having these items because they cannot afford the initial costs from one pay check? Absolutely not! We all acknowledge (even the author, unwittingly) that it takes more than money to raise a child. Why is a couple who are incapable of producing biological offspring deserving of prejudice because they want to have a family too, but may or may not have the resources (IE funds) to help build their families?

I'll get off my soap box now. This has just struck a nerve with me.

Edited by elly_mae
  • Upvote 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is insulting to me that I have heard so much about potential/hopeful adoptive parents giving us biological parents money in order to make our problems go away. As if a lump sum of money is going to make our situations better. It isn't just about money (and I'm glad to know that so many Abrazo families recognize this!). How is a "donation" from a prospective adoptive couple going to fix the intangible and non-mometary problems that exist and make placements necessary or optimal for birth parents and their children? Sickening. To me, it isn't "buying" a child, as we birth parents never see that money. I am totally for adoption fundraising! If a couple were pregnant with their biological child and did a fundraiser to help subsidize the costs of raising a child, would anyone raise an eyebrow? Doubtful. This is just a thought but I would be willing to bet people would be thrilled to help. People save for vacations, cars, houses, children's college funds, etc. Are they also unworthy of having these items because they cannot afford the initial costs from one pay check? Absolutely not! We all acknowledge (even the author, unwittingly) that it takes more than money to raise a child. Why is a couple who are incapable of producing biological offspring deserving of prejudice because they want to have a family too, but may or may not have the resources (IE funds) to help build their families? I'll get off my soap box now. This has just struck a nerve with me.

I liked your soapbox, Ellen... stay on it for as long as you'd like!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is insulting to me that I have heard so much about potential/hopeful adoptive parents giving us biological parents money in order to make our problems go away. As if a lump sum of money is going to make our situations better. It isn't just about money (and I'm glad to know that so many Abrazo families recognize this!). How is a "donation" from a prospective adoptive couple going to fix the intangible and non-mometary problems that exist and make placements necessary or optimal for birth parents and their children? Sickening. To me, it isn't "buying" a child, as we birth parents never see that money. I am totally for adoption fundraising! If a couple were pregnant with their biological child and did a fundraiser to help subsidize the costs of raising a child, would anyone raise an eyebrow? Doubtful. This is just a thought but I would be willing to bet people would be thrilled to help. People save for vacations, cars, houses, children's college funds, etc. Are they also unworthy of having these items because they cannot afford the initial costs from one pay check? Absolutely not! We all acknowledge (even the author, unwittingly) that it takes more than money to raise a child. Why is a couple who are incapable of producing biological offspring deserving of prejudice because they want to have a family too, but may or may not have the resources (IE funds) to help build their families? I'll get off my soap box now. This has just struck a nerve with me.

I liked your soapbox, Ellen... stay on it for as long as you'd like!

I agree! Thanks for giving us your perspective, Ellen!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ellen,

Thank you so much for your comments.

We've had a few people make comments to us about the cost of adoption and why we did not go through the state, etc and why should WE be able to afford the fees.

I used to feel like I had to justify our reasons, etc but now I don't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I loved your response, Ellen... and Leah, I used to feel like we had to justify reasons and now I don't either.

When we were getting ready for Oliver's adoption, though we were financially prepared, we knew we could use extra money in the bank for travel costs, possible NICU, etc. So, with that waiting time, I put a note in our neighborhood newsletter asking for the "leftovers" from yard sales. If people were going to haul them off to the trash anyway, why not let us come and do the cleanup for them? They didn't have to haul off their "junk" and we got stuff we could sell at our next yard sale. We ended up having a couple of sales and raised thousands of dollars from the effort. Someone wrote an editorial for our city's newspaper, though, and obviously they visited our tiny midtown bungalow and got pretty mouthy with their comments. They basically said he heard this "wealthy" couple (we most certainly, obviously were not) talking to a buyer about what the funds would be used for. He heard a conversation spark amongst many buyers and he couldn't help but think about how our future child would feel, "knowing he'd been bought with the money gotten from a dusty old end table." Really? The comments he received online on that editorial were satisfaction enough for me, but for real.... adoption is a costly undertaking. It's a tightrope... I think many people believe all APs are "buying" a baby, but in reality (with Abrazo at least, thank goodness) we are paying for services that are desperately needed in creating forever unions and I for one feel pretty good about that.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with all of the above. I think sometimes the general public gets confused in figuring out if adoption fundraising is a "need" or a "want"?

Karen

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It raises all sorts of interesting questions. As this prospective adopter asks in the first comment of this blog: is it cheating for a family to fundraise to adopt if they're financially secure?

How many couples perhaps use "their own money" to pay for pricey infertility treatments, yet later "fundraise" for money with which to adopt?

What would the public response be if expectant parents engaged in fundraising to help them parent? Would that be more or less acceptable than adoption fundraising, and why?

The perspectives on the subject are widely varied, as demonstrated here: http://chinaadoptiontalk.blogspot.com/2011/07/dear-abby-fund-raising-for-adoption.html. "Pore chilluns"? (Gulp!)

Yet it seems significant that most adoptees appear uncomfortable with the prospect. Here's another adoptee's take on the subject: http://theadoptedones.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/fundraising-thoughts/. This may be something adopting couples want to explore before going public with efforts to solicit funds for their adoption-- how will you feel explaining this to your child, someday?

I'm hesitant to broach this subject for obvious reasons (because admittedly, I work in an industry that contributes more to the problem than the solution, and because the reality is that I would likely have to pursue an adoption from the state foster system, were I to financially undertake the adoption process, myself.) Abrazo requires couples submit all their financial records in the application process because we want to be sure that the families whom we accept are capable of managing the costs of adopting and raising a child-- without incurring unmanageable debts in the process.

Yet the debate over adoption fundraising troubles me. Is there any possibility the concept derives from that old "martyrdom myth" that suggested good upstanding citizens who selflessly rescued an unwanted urchin deserved monetary rewards for "taking in" a child not their own? It wasn't that long ago that the State of Texas paid out one-time "adoption subsidies" (some folks saw them as "cash bonuses") to any adopters who took placement of perfectly healthy infants or children who just happened to be born of a particular minority race. Was that really "adoption assistance," or something else, like a bounty prize? (I flinch, just typing those words.)

Many people question the true intent of "birthparent maternity assistance," as well. Is it really to help pregnant women have a healthier pregnancy, or to ultimately indebt them to the giver, to induce them to place? I know what the State of Texas has to say about why this support is permitted, but sometimes, when I hear from birthmoms about the "cash offers" made to them by out-of-state baby brokers, I'm not too sure it's really about the babies' best interests anymore.

Perhaps the propriety of birthparent financial support, adoption fundraising and/or adoption subsidy lies in the eye of the beholder.

The problem, though, is that ultimately, it matters not whether the birthparent or adoptive parent can justify their financial decisions (what they paid, what they collected) but rather, how the child involved comes to perceive it? As Stephen Covey says, effective people have to "begin with the end in mind" and the end isn't actually the giving or getting of a child but accounting to any child who was once adopted for how he/she came to be who and where he/she is-- answers that should never, ever be financially-driven.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps the propriety of birthparent financial support, adoption fundraising and/or adoption subsidy lies in the eye of the beholder.

The problem, though, is that ultimately, it matters not whether the birthparent or adoptive parent can justify their financial decisions (what they paid, what they collected) but rather, how the child involved comes to perceive it?

The above is very true. That is why when people questions how much we paid, I no longer answer. The only person we have to answer to is our son. We know that his adoption was handled in a ethical manner.

We did not fundraise and we did not request donations but I also do not begrudge people that do. Adoption is a expensive process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a strong opinion about fundraising, but the one thing that bugs me about adoption financing and adds to the expense of it is the maternity policies of many companies, who classify maternity leave as a "medical condition of a woman who physically gave birth". If you adopt, you don't qualify so you must take unpaid leave to care for a newborn child. My company, and Jocelyn's company, both large employers on a national scale, have this policy.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×