In many of the email and Facebook responses we’ve received lately, one question continues to come up. Everyone wants to know the same thing. Cost. “How much does adoption cost?” “Why is adoption so expensive?” “Why isn’t adoption free?”
While it may look simple from the outside: a birth mother wants to place her child with a couple. Birth mother meets adoptive couple, baby is born, everyone signs some legal stuff, and ta da! In reality, it’s not that simple. A tremendous amount of activity goes on behind the scenes to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Whether you’re contemplating a domestic or international adoption, the following may apply (or not apply) in various ways. Please remember—this is only a general overview.
24/7 Service – as appropriate, of course…
We strive to be there whenever our birth mothers or our adoptive parents need us. We offer compassionate, confidential, professional Christian counselor services to our birth mothers, as well as post-adoption support for our adoptive parents. Yes, we are available to birthmothers 24/7 when they need us. Post-adoption support is available to domestic and international adoptive families with our current focus on developing better support programs for older and special needs children. In addition, we do not charge our birthmothers for our program services. We do everything we can to help women in need, including offering safe and secure birthmother housing at our Erwin Maternity Care Home at no charge.
When you go through the adoption process, almost every detail about your life is in the home study. Our highly trained social workers will write an in-depth evaluation of your relationships, inspections of your residence, parenting ideals, medical history, employment verification, financial status and criminal background checks. We are committed to maintaining the security and privacy of your information, so we don’t keep these files in a garage somewhere. As a licensed adoption agency, we are required to maintain adoption records forever, and all homestudy files are retained for at seven years. New Beginnings maintains all adoption records in a locked, fire-proof vault room.
As mentioned above, a home study is much more than just a background check. It’s an in depth evaluation of your family and living conditions to help determine the best adoption match for your family. Before any adoption can take place, a home study must be completed, whether your adoption is coordinated by an agency, the foster care system or an attorney. The home study process typically takes around three months to complete and includes multiple visits with the family. New Beginnings is licensed to provide international and domestic homestudy services throughout Tennessee and Mississippi. Families from other states who adopt through our agency are required to undergo a homestudy with an agency licensed in their home state.
Cost of doing business
With all organizations there is a minimum cost to operate. Every month we face the usual cost of utilities, the cost of computers and network systems, printing, office supplies, vehicles for transporting birthmothers and home study travel, travel, training, internet advertising and even the cost of responding to social media inquiries. Staffing is the highest cost, and New Beginnings is staffed by professional social workers, many with advanced degrees, not volunteers (a requirement to be a licensed agency). When you choose New Beginnings to guide you through the adoption process, you are relying on a team of professionals to help you bring your baby or child home. We know you want to work with the best, so we’ve hired top notch social workers to help you.
Adoptive parents pursuing international adoption in particular are now required to complete a minimum of 12 hours of adoption education, and this number will be increasing. This is why we have our monthly Ask and Eat workshops and why we have partnered with resource providers like Creating a Family and Adoption Finance Coach. The Creating a Family resource is provided free of charge for our adoptive families and offers hundreds of dollars of adoption classes for free, and you’ll have access to these long after your adoption is completed. We do everything we can to provide you with resources at little to no cost to you.
Both birth parents and adoptive parents are targets for adoption scams. By encouraging a birthmother to reach out to an agency, it protects the potential adoptive family and the birth mother. Our social workers speak to, on average, over 300 hundred women experiencing unexpected pregnancies each year. Only about 10% will make an adoption plan for their child. Some birth mothers may decide late in their pregnancy not to place for adoption, even after our agency has helped them financially. Adoptive parents working with New Beginnings never lose money because a prospective birth mother chose to parent, because we pay for the birth mother’s expenses up front. Our social workers screen both birth mothers and adoptive parents to make sure your family doesn’t experience the atrocity of an adoption scam.
International adoption often costs more than domestic simply because there are more people and more travel involved. In an international adoption, not only are we working with the officials in the child’s birth country, but we also have to work with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. That’s two governments and at least two different government agencies. Both the U.S. government and your child’s home country require paperwork and court fees. Many countries are now requiring more in-country “bonding” time. We can’t eliminate or discount any of these fees and they vary depending on the country from which you are adopting.
We’re here to help
If you’ve considered adoption but are not sure how to pay for it, we’re here to help. We will guide you through the entire adoption process, including the financial planning part. Many families start the adoption process thinking that the only financial options available are through personal loans or savings accounts. That isn’t always the case. To help our adoptive families find all the resources available to them, we offer a free service that helps them develop a comprehensive financial plan for their adoption. Our Adoption Financial Coaching System is proven to help adoptive families find alternative ways to finance their adoption.
We are also proud to be partners and friends with the great finance assistance team at America’s Christian Credit Union. ACCU has provided low-cost adoption loans for over 1,300 families in the past few years.
If you have questions about the cost of adoption or about adoption in general, visit our website or call us directly at 662-842-6752.