Nothing makes loving couples shy away from adoption more than its cost. In the US, a domestic infant adoption can range anywhere from $15,000 to $45,000, with the costs including legal fees, agency fees, and possible medical expenses for the birth mother. International adoptions can be more than $50,000 because costs also include lodging abroad, air travel, and legal services coordinated by two different governments, such as Visas and passports for a new child. While the Adoption Tax Credit, employer assistance, and adoption grants can help offset these expenses, many families are still not comfortable with the financial investment associated with adoption, all the while longing to provide a caring home for a child who needs one. Foster Care is by far the least costly way to adopt, and your child will continue to benefit from programs designed to assist them as they get older.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the average cost of adopting through foster care is anywhere from $0 to $2,500. Parents receive a monthly stipend to help them care for the foster child, and in some states a home study is free. Children adopted through foster care also receive health coverage under Medicaid until they are 18, and may be eligible for free college tuition. In some states, legal fees for adoption may be covered, and the parents may also be able to take advantage of an adoption stipend.
While there are many financial benefits to choosing foster care over private adoption, some risks are involved, such as the birth parent choosing not to place his or her child up for adoption. Once rights are terminated, however, the adoption is final, and the adoptive parents are legal guardians. Many states have fos-to-adopt programs where foster parents are made aware of children who will likely become available for adoption in the near future. In addition, many children, such as those on state heart galleries, are already free to be adopted.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, contact your state agency for more information and find out where you can attend an orientation. You will be asked to complete a home study, undergo a medical and background check, and fulfill training both before and during the fostering of your child. You will be matched with a child, and if the placement is a good fit, you will be the first person to be given an opportunity to adopt them if and when the child becomes available.
Foster parents need to be at least twenty-one years old and should demonstrate the patience, teachability, and sound judgment necessary to be a parent. It also helps to have a flexible schedule and the willingness to try new parenting styles that are successful with children who have been abused or neglected in the past. You do not have to be married. As with all adoptions, if you feel called to care for a particular child or children, your love, patience, and commitment will lead to blessing as you make an undeniable difference in the direction of a life.