Input on Adoption Agency

Updated on January 10, 2009
A.G. asks from Elgin, IL
6 answers

Hi,
Friend of mine is looking to adopt. He started working with one agency and I just fell backwards seeing the fees that they drop on you to try to help a child out.
Is there anybody out there, that has adopted and can share the experience or recommend an adoption agency that is in business to help kids without parents instead of just selling them for big bucks?Thanks

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So What Happened?

WOW Ladies, thanks a lot for your input. I will forward your responses to my friend in a bit.
Your replies are packed with great feedback and new information.
Thank you all very much and good luck to your own motherhood or soon to be.
I appreciate everybody who took the time to help him out.

More Answers

L.C.

answers from Chicago on

Is your friend married or single? I am single, currently going through donor egg fertility treatments, but have been researching adoption as my plan b.

Here's what I've found out:
Domestic adoption is becoming increasingly difficult, but not impossible, for singles due to open birth adoption where the birth mom selects the parents. Birth moms often want couples. I know a woman who works at the Cradle, a well known agency, and she said that for singles the outlook is really bad at her agency.

Domestic private adoption is the best route for singles. Yes, it will cost a lot of money, but with private adoption a single is more likely to be matched sooner. Some people do domestic private adoption through an adoption attorney, who advertises for birth moms and matches. They usually only have a small number of clients and won't take more than a handful of singles because so many birth moms want to give their child to a couple.

There's domestic agency adoption, in which you go through an agency, such as The Cradle. Again, very hard for singles.

Then there are places that are facilitators. If I go to adoption I will go through adopthelp.com, which is a facilitator. They advertise nationally for birth moms, which means they have more of them. They also try to match the client and birth moms as opposed to just having a waiting list where you start at the bottom. About 20 percent of their matches annually are with singles. They charge: $4K retainer for admin work (screening of birth moms, etc.), $8K for advertising (they have an ad agency they work with), and then the birth mom expenses which you decide how much you're willing to reimburse - at least $3K as much as $7K. It's up to you to decide. State law only allows you to reimburse the mom for certain expenses. One tip someone told me is to let them know that you are only wanting to be matched with women who are six months or further, that way you have less time for the birth mom to incur expenses. Also, if you're willing to be matched with last-minute placements i.e. birth moms who decide to give up their child at nine months or after birth, you will incur almost no birth mom costs.

The good thing about adopthelp.com is that although they are pricey, they have one of the highest placement rates in the country, especially for singles, and they don't wait for you to do a homestudy to put you on the list. As soon as you pay your fees and have a birthmom letter written, you go onto their list of parents to match with. Then you have to do the homestudy locally through an agency (another $1,500).

Don't forget that the current tax credit for adoption is $11,500 - it's not a deduction - it's a credit. So if you spend $20K on adoption, you will get $11.5K of that back. In addition, there are grants you can apply for - free money: http://www.everythingforadoption.com/adoption-101.asp, http://www.giftofadoption.org/, http://www.helpusadopt.org/.

I'm not sure what race or age your friend is looking to adopt, but the cheapest way to adopt is to go through DCFS - you will have to pay for the home study, but otherwise you only have to pay the legal fees which are maybe $2K and with those you can often find lawyers who work pro bono and won't charge you. In addition, when you adopt through DCFS, the child's medical coverage is paid for by the state and you get a stipend to help pay for daycare, etc. However, many kids in DCFS have physical/emotional problems - something that could be very challenging for a single parent. That's why I won't go through DCFS - single parenting will be hard enough without taking on a child with special needs.

Anyway, hope this helps. Your friend can e-mail me at [email protected]____.com if he has more questions.
L.

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B.M.

answers from Chicago on

We adopted domestically through The Cradle in 2006 and were pleased with them. They tell you up front that the fees you pay don't even cover the total cost of adoption. One thing your friend should remember is there is a federal tax credit for adoption. That is a credit, not an exemption, so you actually get that money back from the gov't. I believe in 2009 the credit is now $12,150. You can start receiving the credit even before the adoption is final. A lot of companies give some assistance also. Or at least they used to. We received $5,000 from my husband's company in 2007. Because of the two forms of assistance, the final cost was about $9,000. Good luck to your friend.

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B.Z.

answers from Chicago on

We adopted and would be glad to share our experiences. Please message me with any specific questions you may have.

The fees are astronomical in most cases, but you will find that each agency will list where the money goes. There are laws about where the money can and can't go... i.e. no one can legally pay a pregnant woman to relinquish, but prenatal care and even food/rent can be a part of the fees. Domestic adoption seems to come with more financial uncertainty. A contract with an international adoption agency should state a bottom-line amount for the fees to protect your friend, but know that the agency assumes some risk if the costs of doing business increases. This happened with our adoption. We "saved" around $2500 during the process because of the contract. Unfortunate for the agency, that money had to come from somewhere other than my pocket.

The process is sometimes quite long. Think of who is paying for that child's needs until s/he comes home to your friend. Orphanages have to pay their bills some way.

You may want to advise your friend to stick with public, not-for-profit agencies if keeping the adoption above board is a priority. Even then no one can ever REALLY know what is going on behind the scenes, so check it out as much as possible.

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S.W.

answers from Chicago on

my girlfriend adopted 2 babies from Angel adoption in Cary IL. Not to long of a wait for them either. The moms picked them and she got to witness the birth etc.. Good Luck!

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B.L.

answers from Chicago on

We are currently in the process of adopting from China. We have three children biologically and have been told that we are not eligible for Domestic Adoption. We are using an agency in Virginia call America World www.awaa.org

While the fees are huge, most of the money goes places other than the adoption agency. Our agency fees are $6,000 with the total being about $30,000. The miscellaneous things add up...$1000 for Immigration, $3,000 for the home study, etc.

We are very happy with America World so far. I grew up in the area and my parents were big supporters of Sunny Ridge which I still think is a great agency. We chose America World mostly because of their philosophy on adoption. They help families adopt because it says clearly in the Bible in James 1:27 to care for orphans and widows. They are an overtly Christian agency which was appealing to us. They have weekly prayer as an agency where they pray for their adoptive families.

We had to have a local agency do our Home Study. We worked with Evangelical Child and Family in Wheaton. They were wonderful and I believe they do domestic adoptions. They are a small agency and we were extremely happy with them.

I think the cheapest way to adopt is to foster to adopt. You take in a foster child who you may be able to adopt at some time. This can be heart-wrenching as you may have a child from birth to age 3 and then the parent takes them back. The court process is long and can be uncertain. I know several people who have done this and continue to do over and over again even though it is very emotional.

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P.B.

answers from Chicago on

My sister in law used the Cradle to adopt my niece and had a wonderful experience.

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