Jump to content

Managing Adoption Expenses


Recommended Posts

I want to make a point of clarification. I think that there is a difference between adoption costs that naturally fluctuate on a case by case basis, and actually having a fee structure that differs based on race. I also wanted to make it clear that I was not saying that children are more or less valuable based on the the cost of their adoption, birth, etc..., but rather that to have a fee structure that is concretely different solely based on the race of the child could communicate how we value people based on their race in the overall society.

The reason I bring this up is just because I feel like my original concern is being taken completely out of context.

I also wanted to say that while there is a recognition of "why" this takes place, I am not sure that this addresses the overall concern of "why" this needs to take place. Why should some individuals have to be given financial incentives to be willing to adopt a child based on that child's characteristics? Maybe others don't see that as a concern, but personally I have a big problem with that.

BTW- Thanks everyone for being willing to talk about this- money and adoption is another very touchy issue and one that I think hits a lot of nerves for all of us based on some of our experiences with others perceptions. As always, I value your willingness to tackle difficult issues and love the way in which you push me to think about things at a deeper level. I am thankful for all of you!

Bobbi

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 74
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I also will not tell Cecilia about the adoption fees unless of couse, she asks about it. I have to say this. Logan was in NICU for two weeks after her premature birth and we really racked up the medical bills (two years later, I'm still paying on them and probably will be for years to come). I don't remember the total amount of medical compared to adoption fees, but I do know they are similiar. Whatever the cost, I have two beautiful, intelligent girls!!!!

Jill

Link to post
Share on other sites

With our adoptions, we did not take the financials into consideration when presented with either girl. We didn't have a clue about any of it when we called about Nichole. Arianna was also persued without regard to the $$ involved. I just knew that there are several agencies that reduce fees for AA children. That had nothing to do with our decisions.

I know of people that won't work with agencies that reduce fees. That is their choice, but it isn't a child's choice as to what agency they are placed through. Regardless of fee structures, all children deserve a loving home.

This really is a difficult subject, but it is one that has much room for improvement.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I want to make a point of clarification. I think that there is a difference between adoption costs that naturally fluctuate on a case by case basis, and actually having a fee structure that differs based on race. I also wanted to make it clear that I was not saying that children are more or less valuable based on the the cost of their adoption, birth, etc..., but rather that to have a fee structure that is concretely different solely based on the race of the child could communicate how we value people based on their race in the overall society.

The reason I bring this up is just because I feel like my original concern is being taken completely out of context.

I also wanted to say that while there is a recognition of "why" this takes place, I am not sure that this addresses the overall concern of "why" this needs to take place. Why should some individuals have to be given financial incentives to be willing to adopt a child based on that child's characteristics? Maybe others don't see that as a concern, but personally I have a big problem with that.

BTW- Thanks everyone for being willing to talk about this- money and adoption is another very touchy issue and one that I think hits a lot of nerves for all of us based on some of our experiences with others perceptions. As always, I value your willingness to tackle difficult issues and love the way in which you push me to think about things at a deeper level. I am thankful for all of you!

Bobbi

Bobbi,

I "hear" what you are saying, and can understand why that is a concern. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
to have a fee structure that is concretely different solely based on the race of the child could communicate how we value people based on their race in the overall society.

Actually, Bobbi, I totally "get" what you're saying... however, it's not just race that factors into the variations in adoption fees. In some cultures, it's also impacted by gender or even religion. Closer to home, those willing to adopt school-age or teenage kids generally find their costs and fees of adopting are lower, as do those who are adopting large sibling groups, or children with diagnosed illnesses or disabilities.

A word of clarification: I think it's important to note that there are (or should be) no "prices" in domestic adoption!

At Abrazo, the costs entailed in modern adoptions break down to fees for professional services rendered (ie., agency fees for the social workers' casework, legal fees for the attorney's work, obstetrical fees for the doctor's work) and expenses for the maternity and adoption related needs incurred in the course of the process (birthparent housing, prenatal/postpartum groceries and clothing, fares for maternity transport, prescriptions for mom and baby, etc.)

All fees charged in our program had to be justified with our Licensing authority from the start, and the costs we pass-through in any case can only be for expense categories pre-determined by the State. In Texas, the law states that nobody but a Texas-licensed agency can charge a fee for handling the placement of a child, and it is likewise illegal for any entity other than a Texas-licensed child-placement agency to pay the living expenses of a birthmother who is or who has placed a child for adoption. Every client ledger and adoption expense is subject to state review, at any time.

We know this is a costly process. We regret that we do not have an alternative funding source (such as United Way or a national church denomination) to help offset the costs and fees our clients must pay. Our board struggles with the challenge of balancing the growing costs of working in such an intricate field and needing to keep adoption as affordable as possible while ensuring that money is kept out of placement decisions to every extent possible. I know they (and we, the agency's staff) welcome your input and suggestions in this regard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that race is not the only factor that impacts fees, and I wouldn't say that I have less qualms about fee differences based on gender, religion, or another characteristic of the child. I was simply highlighting race because that was what we have been talking about. I think the same basic issue is at hand.

In terms of the solution, that will definitely take a combination of more brain power than I have. Like I have said before, I don't even know if this problem can be "solved" at the agency level. I think that most agencies are simply trying their best to function in the system that they exist in. And believe me, I have no grand illusions that upstanding agencies are making a profit off adoptions. I can't think of anyone who goes into social work or related human service fields because they believe that it will be financially lucrative for them. I believe that there is deep desire to make society a better place for everyone. I had not intended to send the message that this was the case. Nor did I intend to send the message that agencies have negative motivations for the choices that they make, or as a critique of Abrazo and the fact that it has to charge fees associated with completing its work. Not only does it cost to run an agency effectively and complete placements in a legal manner, but I would hope that the agency is able to pay its employees that work so hard, that is completely understood.

While I agree that prices is a difficult word when it comes to adoption and I have no problem changing my terminology in a way that is more sensitive and reflective of the actual experience. I also think that most of us would agree that all agencies do not subscribe to the same ethical standards when it comes to fees in adoptions. I hate the conception that children are somehow "bought" in adoption, but I think that the public holds this view because of the sometimes very large differences in adoption fees. I don't know what the solution to that problem is either.

In terms of how to solve that issue, the first thought that comes to mind is more legislation in the field of adoption that regulates what can and cannot be done, which raises all sorts of concerns itself. I would definitely not be willing to recommend that without serious considerations of its implications. Especially considering the fact that many times policies are implemented by those who have no real experience with the field itself.

I admit that I am stuck when it comes to solutions. I think that these are problems that have been around much longer than myself and others much brighter than myself have attempted to solve them. But I also consider the idea that to not take action is an action in itself- and I think about how important it is to struggle together through these issues. Because ultimately I believe that although we represent a wide variety of views on these issues and how they should be handled, ultimately we are all passionate about the children involved and want what is best for them. I think that comes through in everyone's posts and the fact that they are committed to talking about these tough topics, rather than simply writing one another off. While I am not trying to send the message that I have this all figured out, because that would just be ludicrous, I do feel compelled to continue to struggle with these issues because I feel a deep commitment to all the communities involved.

I wish I had a more eloquent way to talk about this. Sometimes I wish that I truly saw a solution to some of the struggles that we have. What gives me hope is to see how many passionate individuals are truly concerned about these issues overall- even when we approach them from different viewpoints. And I am so glad that others are willing to share their thoughts and opinions. These posts simply represent mine.

Warmly,

Bobbi

Edited by MFTMOM
Link to post
Share on other sites
We as a society give people financial incentives to "do the right thing" all the time -- how many of us take tax deductions for our charitable contributions, for example? -- and I think that financial incentives are often more effective and more honest than emotional or guilt-based incentives.

This is what makes us different. I don't give to charities because I get a tax deduction. I give to causes that I passionately believe in. My donation is my effort to make a difference with the limited funds that I can provide. I don't even keep records for tax purposes (sorry Anthony :o:unsure: ). Much of what we give is untraceable, because it doesn't matter where it came from, as long as it helps.

I am offended by breaking down the costs of adoption based on race for many reasons, and the biggest one is the "financial incentive" that you refer to.

Adopting transracially is not an easy thing. Choosing your family based on "what you can afford" is irresponsible, and shouldn't be encouraged.

I don't think emotional or guilt based reasons are appropriate either. Adding to your family through adoption should be done carefully, and deliberately. If a financial incentive is what you base your decision on, I fear the consequences for the child and the family.

I don't have answers here. I just know that it hurts my heart that certain children (like my own) could be considered "easier to place" because of what she looks like. I HATE the message that that sends. She is certainly no better than children of other ethnicities, nor should she cost more. It is offensive to me that people would pay more for her based on appearances.

It hurts my heart that my dear friend's children may be considered "hard to place" just because they are darker than their mommies. They are unique, wonderful children with fabulous parents. Their worth to society can't be measured.

Giving financial incentives based on income of the AP's seems much more fair to me than basing the incentive on the color of the child placed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As an adoptee, I just can't bring myself to ask how much my parents paid for me. I will say that it makes me feel icky. You have explained many things to me. I will read this thread over again when I am not so exhausted.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a stomach-turning investigative report from the New York Times on the subject of adoption fees:

Market Puts Price Tag on the Priceless

But what's really frightening is the date this article was published, and how much more out of control the "market" (and the fees) have become, since then!?

Link to post
Share on other sites
We as a society give people financial incentives to "do the right thing" all the time -- how many of us take tax deductions for our charitable contributions, for example? -- and I think that financial incentives are often more effective and more honest than emotional or guilt-based incentives.

This is what makes us different. I don't give to charities because I get a tax deduction. I give to causes that I passionately believe in. My donation is my effort to make a difference with the limited funds that I can provide. I don't even keep records for tax purposes (sorry Anthony :o:unsure: ). Much of what we give is untraceable, because it doesn't matter where it came from, as long as it helps.

Wait a second...you are putting words in my mouth here. I don't give to charities BECAUSE of the tax deductions, and I didn't say that I did. I do take advantage of the tax deductions that our government offers as an encouragement to donate to charities, but that is something different. If anything, it allows me to give more money to my favorite charities to do good with.

If you don't like that example, then think about some of the many other ways that society gives people financial incentives to help push them to do certain things -- tax breaks if you renovate your house in environmentally conscious ways or if you use your money to buy health insurance or to save for your children's college tuitions, for example. Many employers give people time off to give blood or help with Habitat For Humanity. Many school systems give prizes or rewards for good grades....

Maybe you really don't like this idea, but I can think of dozens of ways in which our society seems to think that financially incentivizing certain choices is completely ok, and an effective way of shifting societal attitudes.

Choosing your family based on "what you can afford" is irresponsible, and shouldn't be encouraged.

I have a feeling that you aren't quite saying what you mean, but if this is genuinely what you mean then I have to strongly disagree and say that NOT choosing a family based on what you can afford seems far more irresponsible to me. Ignoring the financial realities of one's situation when bringing a child into your family seems like the very definition of irresponsibility.

d

Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe you really don't like this idea, but I can think of dozens of ways in which our society seems to think that financially incentivizing certain choices is completely ok, and an effective way of shifting societal attitudes.

Another incentivized choice in adoption is the AAP ( adoption assistance program) - This program was created to encourage the adoption of foster kids. In some settings, foster parents counld not "afford" to loose the state support they recieved. The funding would be cut off if the families completed an adoption - so it made better finacial sense for the children to remian foster kids The program allowed kids to "belong" and for their AP to continue to receive the benefits

Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe you really don't like this idea, but I can think of dozens of ways in which our society seems to think that financially incentivizing certain choices is completely ok, and an effective way of shifting societal attitudes.

Another incentivized choice in adoption is the AAP ( adoption assistance program) - This program was created to encourage the adoption of foster kids.

And while we're on the subject, what about that $10,500 adoption tax credit that adoptive families in America can get, just for adopting a healthy newborn of any race?

The funny thing us, if firstmothers were offered an equivalent tax credit for placing, we'd call it "inducement" and that would be considered a bad thing, wouldn't it??

(But when the shoe is on the other foot, well, ...?)

Link to post
Share on other sites
We as a society give people financial incentives to "do the right thing" all the time -- how many of us take tax deductions for our charitable contributions, for example? -- and I think that financial incentives are often more effective and more honest than emotional or guilt-based incentives.

This is what makes us different. I don't give to charities because I get a tax deduction. I give to causes that I passionately believe in. My donation is my effort to make a difference with the limited funds that I can provide. I don't even keep records for tax purposes (sorry Anthony :o:unsure: ). Much of what we give is untraceable, because it doesn't matter where it came from, as long as it helps.

Wait a second...you are putting words in my mouth here. I don't give to charities BECAUSE of the tax deductions, and I didn't say that I did. I do take advantage of the tax deductions that our government offers as an encouragement to donate to charities, but that is something different. If anything, it allows me to give more money to my favorite charities to do good with.

If you don't like that example, then think about some of the many other ways that society gives people financial incentives to help push them to do certain things -- tax breaks if you renovate your house in environmentally conscious ways or if you use your money to buy health insurance or to save for your children's college tuitions, for example. Many employers give people time off to give blood or help with Habitat For Humanity. Many school systems give prizes or rewards for good grades....

Maybe you really don't like this idea, but I can think of dozens of ways in which our society seems to think that financially incentivizing certain choices is completely ok, and an effective way of shifting societal attitudes.

Choosing your family based on "what you can afford" is irresponsible, and shouldn't be encouraged.

I have a feeling that you aren't quite saying what you mean, but if this is genuinely what you mean then I have to strongly disagree and say that NOT choosing a family based on what you can afford seems far more irresponsible to me. Ignoring the financial realities of one's situation when bringing a child into your family seems like the very definition of irresponsibility.

d

Some very valid points Darren. Thanks for your input (and there is some very good feedback from others as well). It's a heavy topic.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe you really don't like this idea, but I can think of dozens of ways in which our society seems to think that financially incentivizing certain choices is completely ok, and an effective way of shifting societal attitudes.

Another incentivized choice in adoption is the AAP ( adoption assistance program) - This program was created to encourage the adoption of foster kids.

And while we're on the subject, what about that $10,500 adoption tax credit that adoptive families in America can get, just for adopting a healthy newborn of any race?

The funny thing us, if firstmothers were offered an equivalent tax credit for placing, we'd call it "inducement" and that would be considered a bad thing, wouldn't it??

(But when the shoe is on the other foot, well, ...?)

good point!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Choosing your family based on "what you can afford" is irresponsible, and shouldn't be encouraged.

I have a feeling that you aren't quite saying what you mean, but if this is genuinely what you mean then I have to strongly disagree and say that NOT choosing a family based on what you can afford seems far more irresponsible to me. Ignoring the financial realities of one's situation when bringing a child into your family seems like the very definition of irresponsibility.

d

Some very good points. Thank you to everyone who gives us something to think about.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe you really don't like this idea, but I can think of dozens of ways in which our society seems to think that financially incentivizing certain choices is completely ok, and an effective way of shifting societal attitudes.

Another incentivized choice in adoption is the AAP ( adoption assistance program) - This program was created to encourage the adoption of foster kids.

And while we're on the subject, what about that $10,500 adoption tax credit that adoptive families in America can get, just for adopting a healthy newborn of any race?

The funny thing us, if firstmothers were offered an equivalent tax credit for placing, we'd call it "inducement" and that would be considered a bad thing, wouldn't it??

(But when the shoe is on the other foot, well, ...?)

Is it really the same thing though? You get the tax credit up to $10,500 for adoption expenses paid. If you only pay $8000, you only get a credit of $8000. Since first parents don't generally incur financial expenses when placing a child (at least that I'm aware of), giving them a tax credit for placing is "inducement." Isn't it?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe you really don't like this idea, but I can think of dozens of ways in which our society seems to think that financially incentivizing certain choices is completely ok, and an effective way of shifting societal attitudes.

Another incentivized choice in adoption is the AAP ( adoption assistance program) - This program was created to encourage the adoption of foster kids.

And while we're on the subject, what about that $10,500 adoption tax credit that adoptive families in America can get, just for adopting a healthy newborn of any race?

The funny thing us, if firstmothers were offered an equivalent tax credit for placing, we'd call it "inducement" and that would be considered a bad thing, wouldn't it??

(But when the shoe is on the other foot, well, ...?)

Is it really the same thing though? You get the tax credit up to $10,500 for adoption expenses paid. If you only pay $8000, you only get a credit of $8000. Since first parents don't generally incur financial expenses when placing a child (at least that I'm aware of), giving them a tax credit for placing is "inducement." Isn't it?

I agree Susan.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe you really don't like this idea, but I can think of dozens of ways in which our society seems to think that financially incentivizing certain choices is completely ok, and an effective way of shifting societal attitudes.

Another incentivized choice in adoption is the AAP ( adoption assistance program) - This program was created to encourage the adoption of foster kids.

And while we're on the subject, what about that $10,500 adoption tax credit that adoptive families in America can get, just for adopting a healthy newborn of any race?

The funny thing us, if firstmothers were offered an equivalent tax credit for placing, we'd call it "inducement" and that would be considered a bad thing, wouldn't it??

(But when the shoe is on the other foot, well, ...?)

Is it really the same thing though? You get the tax credit up to $10,500 for adoption expenses paid. If you only pay $8000, you only get a credit of $8000. Since first parents don't generally incur financial expenses when placing a child (at least that I'm aware of), giving them a tax credit for placing is "inducement." Isn't it?

This may be more applicable for the "Adoption Tax Credit" thread, but since it has been brought up within this thread...

And then there is the criteria about a failed adoption in relation to the credit. Failed Adoption....a very unfortunate event but one that happens about what... 20% of the time? ( I think we were told at Orientation only 4 out of every 5 adoptions domestically are successful). While it's nice to be able to recoop some of the lost expenses during that failed adoption, it offsets the available credit if you should be fortunate enough (as we were) to have a successful adoption thereafter. Since you can't claim that credit for a while, the funds lost during a failed adoption could jeapordize your ability to fund a successful adoption the same year. I know that was almost our case. The funds we lost in our "long" match put us in a spot, financially, where we did not know if we would have enough to cover the applicable fees of the successful one. Fees during an adoption are due "immediately". Sure you may get some money back at a later date (the next year when filing taxes for the previous year), but that can be a ways off.

Again, it's nice to have the credit, but, depending on when the baby is born and when you will actually finalize the adoption, you really can't count on it helping you financially for a while. Sometimes it can be over a year before you will get any of the credit.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Is it really the same thing though? You get the tax credit up to $10,500 for adoption expenses paid. If you only pay $8000, you only get a credit of $8000. Since first parents don't generally incur financial expenses when placing a child (at least that I'm aware of), giving them a tax credit for placing is "inducement." Isn't it?

I think many birthparents could tell us how they've incurred any number of unreimbursed costs, in deciding to continue a pregnancy that ultimately "benefitted" someone else-- whether it was in lost wages during periods of doctor-ordered bedrest; the application of the private insurance benefits covered by their paycheck deductions, arbitrarily used to cover labor & delivery costs that the adopting family would otherwise have to pay on their behalf; forfeited monetary support or inheritance from relatives or family members who disapproved of their adoption decision; uncovered medical expense for which collection agencies demand payment from them after Medicaid is filed by hospitals too late for coverage to apply and long after that window of time during which the adoptive parents could be held responsible; increased gas/food/clothing/childcare costs incurred during pregnancy, that they never sought agency/adoptive parent assistance with (proud as they were); etc...?

(I can't help but think of birthparents like Allison Quetts, who spent thousands of dollars out of pocket on in-vitro fertilization, to produce the twins that she was coerced into placing for adoption, and then incurred tens of thousands of dollars in legal debt afterwards, trying to extract herself and her children from that mess...? Whether you believe her actions or costs were justified, the reality is that only one party "qualified" for that $10,500 tax credit in that case, regardless of who footed the bulk of the children's costs, preceding the appeal.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think many birthparents could tell us how they've incurred any number of unreimbursed costs, in deciding to continue a pregnancy that ultimately "benefitted" someone else-- whether it was in lost wages during periods of doctor-ordered bedrest; the application of the private insurance benefits covered by their paycheck deductions, arbitrarily used to cover labor & delivery costs that the adopting family would otherwise have to pay on their behalf; forfeited monetary support or inheritance from relatives or family members who disapproved of their adoption decision; uncovered medical expense for which collection agencies demand payment from them after Medicaid is filed by hospitals too late for coverage to apply and long after that window of time during which the adoptive parents could be held responsible; increased gas/food/clothing/childcare costs incurred during pregnancy, that they never sought agency/adoptive parent assistance with (proud as they were); etc...?

Absolutely then, I think the laws should be changed to allow first parents who incur non-reimbursed expenses for a pregnancy in which they place the child for adoption and can document said expenses (as adopting parents are required to do), should receive a tax credit equal to that offered to adopting parents. Has anyone ever tried to get this done? Is it done through the laws, the president, or how?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a problem with incentives based on special needs children (medical problems, etc,). I have a huge problem with incentives based soley on skin color.

I had the awesome opportunity to hear some fabulous momma's talk about this very topic this weekend. These ladies opened my eyes to the messages we are sending (albeit however innocently). It hurts my hearts for them.

Like it or not, adoption isn't cheap. I don't begrudge our agency, because I think they do it honestly. Placement costs are based on need and situation.

I do resent other agencies that have price lists for babies and list them like products. Those agencies give adoption a bad name, and give me a lot more discussions to have with my little girl some day.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Simply put, and perhaps a bit crudely, "life ain't fair". I am just glad that there are discounts for some people so that they can afford to have/live the incredibly dream I am living after adopting my precious girl. It really isn't about skin color, or money. It's about love and being able to emotionally and financially make the leap of faith into the world of adoption.

I see several posts here where people are quite upset about the "financial discount" (for lack of a better term). Instead of focusing on the way people are charged for their adoption, how about we remember and focus on the wonderful results!

Abrazo does an awesome job managing the adoption process, including the financial end of it all. As I stated, it may not seem fair, but the end result is wonderful, which makes the journey all the more sweeter.

Jay <-- stepping off soapbox

"Bibles that are falling apart usually belong to people who are not."

Link to post
Share on other sites

O.K., here goes...

I'm just a bit confused with all this. Speaking as a Mother to a transracial child and one who is very open to a Full African American child, please explain to me why we shouldn't appreciate the ability to expand our family that we are so open to for all the right reasons? I'm sensing it's like families should be horrified that life offers possibilities. No, it's not right to place a lower material value on anyone, so are people supposed to say... I have another 10-15 thousand to give you when I know that if everyone had that much, they would prefer to use it on expanding their family again or for their current family. Is that wrong? I just don't get this. In a perfect world, this wouldn't be happening, but let's get real.

I for one feel I have beeen misread at one point regarding this view. I've never once said my child is worth anyting less than "EVERYTHING", but regardless wanting to adopt AA and seeing the opportunity of what the lesser amount can do as a whole is viewed like we just want to be cheap or something.

Please explain.

Claudia

Link to post
Share on other sites
O.K., here goes...

I'm just a bit confused with all this. Speaking as a Mother to a transracial child and one who is very open to a Full African American child, please explain to me why we shouldn't appreciate the ability to expand our family that we are so open to for all the right reasons? I'm sensing it's like families should be horrified that life offers possibilities. No, it's not right to place a lower material value on anyone, so are people supposed to say... I have another 10-15 thousand to give you when I know that if everyone had that much, they would prefer to use it on expanding their family again or for their current family. Is that wrong? I just don't get this. In a perfect world, this wouldn't be happening, but let's get real.

I for one feel I have beeen misread at one point regarding this view. I've never once said my child is worth anyting less than "EVERYTHING", but regardless wanting to adopt AA and seeing the opportunity of what the lesser amount can do as a whole is viewed like we just want to be cheap or something.

Please explain.

Claudia

I don't want any particular person to take offense to the above, but it's just my personal passionate take on the issue.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...