FPA Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey 2012:
Domestic Private Adoption - How long will it take? How much will it cost?
For the results of the 2012 FPA Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey, click [here].
What exactly is private adoption?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of private adoption?
How does private adoption work in practice?
How many private adoptions are there in the U.S. each year?
What is "open adoption"?
What does private adoption cost?
How long does it take for adoptive parents and a birth mother to be matched, ending the search process?
How do I go about expanding my family through private adoption?
What is FPA?
Why should I join FPA - what are the benefits of membership?
Is there someone I can talk to about private adoption and/or FPA?
Private (or independent) adoption is a legal method of building a family through adoption without using an adoption agency for placement. In private adoption, the birth parents relinquish their parental rights directly to the adoptive parents, instead of to an agency. Like other types of adoption, private adoption is governed by state laws. In addition, if a child is brought from one state to another, then the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children apply.
The advantages include:
The disadvantages include:
With the guidance of an experienced attorney, a person or family should make it as widely known as possible that they want to adopt a child. Many of our members have used newspaper or internet advertisements to successfully locate a birth mother. Other times, a contact is made via word of mouth from a friend of a friend or family member. Jurisdictions in this area require that adoptive parents and birth parents have direct contact about the decisions regarding placement of the child. Once contact has been made, an attorney can and should step in to ensure that all transactions and documents are handled according to the law. After the baby's birth, the attorney will prepare the necessary papers to be signed and filed with the court.
No one knows because comprehensive statistics are not kept. According to recent statistics in Virginia, 70% of newborn adoptions are private (independent) adoptions.During the past 25 years, more than 2,500 children were adopted by FPA members through private adoption.
Unfortunately, this phrase is nearly meaningless, because there is no precise, agreed-upon definition. In some legal contexts, just exchanging limited identifying information (such as names and addresses) between birth parents and adoptive parents can be deemed "open." However, in the adoption community, open adoption usually refers to some type of continuing contact between the birth family and the adopted child.
According to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse: "Open, or fully disclosed, adoptions allow adoptive parents, and often the adopted child, to interact directly with birth parents. Family members interact in ways that feel most comfortable to them. Communication may include letters, e-mails, telephone calls, or visits. The frequency of contact is negotiated and can range from every few years to several times a month or more. Contact often changes as a child grows and has more questions about his or her adoption or as families' needs change. It is important to note that even in an open adoption, the legal relationship between a birth parent and child is severed. The adoptive parents are the legal parents of an adopted child."
"The goals of open adoption are:
For more information, see Child Welfare Information Gateway fact sheet on openness in adoption at http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f_openadoptbulletin.cfm. Elsewhere on the website, you will find a wealth of helpful information about all facets of adoption.
The costs of private adoption depends on several factors. These include separate legal representation for the adoptive parents and the birth mother/father; a Home Study by a licensed professional; advertising expenses; travel costs (if applicable); and possibly counseling and/or medical expenses for the birth mother - depending on the nature of insurance coverage, if any. An amount between $20,000 and $25,000 is likely, but costs can be higher or lower. It is illegal to pay a birth parent or anyone else to adopt a child.
The Federal government has enacted a maximum adoption tax credit of $12,970 (in 2013) that can be used to offset adoption expenses. For more information on the tax credit, visit the IRS web site at http://www.irs.gov/ and look at "Publication 968, Tax Tax Benefits for Adoption."
Some adoptive parents and birth mothers have found each other and made an adoption plan in just a few weeks. Other adoptive parents have searched for two years or more. However, both of these extremes are unusual. The average search time among FPA members is about 9 -12 months from the start of their efforts.
Join FPA. We're here to help.
FPA is a non-profit volunteer group in the Washington, D.C. area providing support and education to those involved in the process or considering private adoption. FPA is concerned with preserving the dignity of all parties involved in the private adoption process and advocates an active role for adoptive and birth parents. FPA works to maintain private adoption as a legal option. And it is active in monitoring pertinent legislation throughout the nation.
Peer support and guidance throughout the adoption process, including FPA's "buddy system"
Opportunities to attend special workshops and seminars for adoptive families and prospective adoptive families. For example, learn about:
Call FPA at (202) 722-0338 and leave you name and phone number; a member will return your call. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive a personal response.