Payment of Living Expenses in Adoption

Permissible Payments in Adoption

Fees and payment of permissible expenses in an adoption are governed by state law. In some states, the payment of living expenses to or on behalf of an expectant mother is allowed while in other states, such payments are strictly prohibited. It is important to consult with an experienced adoption attorney licensed in your state prior to payment of any birth parent expenses. In most cases, the adoptive parent(s) generally should anticipate paying for, the following:
• Attorney fees and costs for the adoptive parent(s)
• Attorney fees and costs for the placing parent(s)
• Fees for the adoptive parent home study
• Counseling fees for the placing parent
• Medical expenses related to the delivery of the child or the pregnancy of the placing birth mother that are not covered by insurance or government assistance
• In some states, where an attorney is appointed for the baby (often called a guardian ad litem), the fees for such attorney
• The costs of post-placement visits by the supervising adoption agency

Additional costs, which may be permissible, depending on the state include:
• Adoption agency fees where the agency is placing the baby and/or matching the placing parent(s) and the adoptive parents; this may include the agency’s attorney fee and costs
• Travel costs for the placing parent to see a counselor, attorney, or doctor or come to court
• Reasonable and necessary living expenses for the placing parent(s) – this is state dependent with many states having restrictions on the total amount or requiring a doctor’s note verifying that the placing mother is unable work due to the pregnancy or recovery period after delivery
• Maternity clothes, if allowed, by state law
• Marketing or advertising costs incurred by the adoptive parent(s)

Adoptive parents must understand that if the placing parent changes his or her mind about the placement, it is unlikely that any living expenses or other monies paid to a third party (including the attorneys and agency) will be recovered by the adoptive parent(s).

The overall cost of an adoption can vary; however, an experienced adoption attorney, particularly a Fellow in the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, will be able to explain the factors that can impact the cost and provide an estimate based on the facts of your adoption plan.