Adoptive parents often ask why adoption costs so much. Adoption is an expensive process because it involves professionals; operational expenses; a legal process; state regulations on best practices; birth parent expenses, legal fees and counseling; and adoptive parent training, inspections and counseling. A private non-profit adoption program is not operated like a for profit agency or social service agency funded largely by government grants. Revenue from adoptive parents covers the cost of expenses and the services provided, including:
- A team of Professionals – An adoption agency coordinates services with multiple attorneys; provides counselors for birth parents; provides workers to complete home studies, train, support and provide post placement services for adoptive parents; and business professionals required to maintain the agency’s infrastructure.
- Operational Expenses – Adoption agencies have many of the operational expenses that any organization has such as rent, utilities, telephone service, parking, travel, equipment maintenance, office supplies, postage, insurance, accounting and marketing.
- Legal Process – Adoption is a legal process. Every case involves multiple conversations between the birth parents and their attorney in addition to filing documents and attending hearings. Each person in the adoption triad must have legal representation.
- Regulations & Standards of Practice – Regulations detail the best standards of practice and set guidelines for agencies to follow. Each year, the Office of Inspector General sends an auditor to monitor files and review records to ensure compliance. The standards must be met before licensure is awarded.
- Birth Parent Expenses – A significant percentage of the fees that adoptive parents pay go to assist birth mothers with pregnancy related expenses.
- Birth Parent Counseling – Counselors are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for birth parents. These counselors reduce the disruption rate. Their services are another significant percentage of the fees that adoptive parents pay.
- Adoptive Parent Services – Counselors are available to adoptive parents for support, counseling, home studies, post placement services, group facilitation, training and more.
Be careful when comparing prices. At first glance a full service adoption program, such as Adoption Bridges of Kentuckiana, has a fee structure that appears higher than other agencies. The reason it appears that way may be that all the adoption services are provided by one agency. When you are comparing costs, be certain you are comparing all the services that are needed in your adoption process and fees associated with each. Some agencies provide home studies and post placement services and might encourage you to seek matching with a birth parent through another agency. Additional fees are likely to be required by that other agency as well.