ADOPTION Tiona Furin, Melissa Cowley, Marianne Ruff Why is adoption so hard? Today, adoption has become increasingly harder because there are fewer children available to adopt and more couples looking to adopt. Some of the reasons why adoption has become so hard are listed below. Increasing abortions No obligation to marry (instead single mothers are keeping their babies) More mothers keeping their baby - only 3% of unplanned pregnancies result in adoption Increased desire for infants by adopting parents Adoption Steps Adoption can be a challenging procedure, so knowing in advance the steps you need to take can be helpful. Below are twelve steps that most adopting couples must go through. 1. Educate yourself and family The more you and your family know about adoption, the easier the process will be 2. Decide what type of adoption you want There are 5 types of adoption from a domestic perspective: public agency, kinship, private agency, independent adoption, and international adoption Cost will vary depending of which type you select 3. Investigate ways to handle expenses Adoption is expensive, plan wisely! 4. Select an adoption agency, facilitator, or attorney You will need to choose some sort of professional to help you through the process Cost will vary depending on which professional you choose 5. Complete an agency application 6. Begin the homestudy process This is where the majority of your time will be spent during the adoption process Includes rigorous interviewing, in-home observations, paperwork, examinations 7. Attend adoption classes This step concludes the long preparation process before choosing a child to adopt 8. Be matched with or locate a child 9. Prepare for your child’s arrival 10. File a petition to adopt 11. Finalize the adoption 12. Post-adoption services and education Types and Costs of Adoption From a U.S. citizen’s perspective, there are five different types of adoption. The table on the next page summarizes the cost ranges for each type of adoption. Domestic Public Agencies are typically foster homes, and most children you can adopt will be older and often will have special needs. Private agencies and independent adoptions cost more because someone is acting as the middle person and doing the adoption work for you. Domestic Public Agency 0 - 2,500 Stepparent/Kinship 1,500 - 2,500 Domestic Private Agency 4,000 - 30,000+ Domestic Independent Adoption 8,000 - 30,000+ Intercountry Private Agency or Independent 7,000 - 25,000+ Domestic Costs The cost ranges listed above are assessed based on what the adopting couple would pay if they were pregnant. Typically, the adopting couple has to pay for medical expenses related to the birth of the baby and hospital expenses for the birth mother. Adoption costs also include a variety of fees: advertising, agency, homestudy, attorney, counseling, and many others. Federal and state tax credits are available to help offset the costs. However, when all fees are included, adoptions can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $60,000. Make sure you know up front all of your fees and expenses and budget your money accordingly to pay for everything. LDS Family Services: Adoption One agency that an LDS couple can go through to adopt is LDS Family Services. Their adoption program includes an in-depth qualification process prior to couples adopting, adoption education classes and support groups, and a wide range of adoption plans. Adoption Plans LDS Family Services has three different adoption plans listed below. By far, infant adoption is the most popular. Non-disclosed Designated Adoption is adopting through a third party. 1. Infant Adoption 2. Non-disclosed Designated Adoption (NDDA) 3. Special Needs Adoption Infant Adoption: Steps The three most important steps of infant adoption through LDS Family Services are below. 1. Home study a. Includes a series of 3-4 interviews b. Paperwork c. In-home observations 2. Adoption classes 3. Support groups Infant Adoption LDS Family Services usually has an infant adoption wait time of 6-24 months, which depends on the following: o Number of approved adoptive couples o Children available for adoption o Birth parents’ preferences o Adoptive couples involvement Fees of infant adoption through LDS Family Services are generally lower than other agencies, $4,000 to $10,000. Fees are based on 10% of couple’s combined gross annual income from the previous tax year. Infant Adoption: Requirements Adopting through LDS Family Services requires more than other private agencies because they want the couple to be worthy according to church standards. Some of the requirements are that the couple be Married at least two years, Married to each other in the temple and maintain current recommends, Able to clear criminal background and child abuse registry checks, Able to financially provide for the child, and Given a positive recommendation from their Bishop International Costs Although many of the domestic costs are included with international adoptions, several added costs exist when adopting internationally. These costs can add up to an additional $50,000. The most expensive cost is traveling expenses (plane tickets, food, lodging, accommodations) to and in different countries. A few of the unique costs of international adoption are listed below. Dossier: Personal Information ex: Marriage certificate, medical records, police records, etc. Adoption agencies can ask for a lot of information before you can adopt a child. o Filing fees: I-600, I-600A, Fingerprints, N-600 o Immigration fees: This includes for you, your spouse, and your child. Visa: application & issuance Travel expenses: The plane tickets alone can cost between $1500 and $4000 just for one person. Other travel expenses include food, lodging, and the ticket to bring your child home with you. Some countries require you to stay 2-3 months before you can go home. Adoption Program Fees Adoption Program Fees are another additional international cost. Below on the next page is a table showing how the range of adoption program fees varying across different countries. Adoption Program Fees Country Cost China 9,000 Ecuador 7,500 Guatemala 7,500 India 7,500 Korea 12,250 Mongolia 9,000 Philippines 7,500 Romania 7,500 Thailand 7,500 Vietnam 9,000 What Costs Depend On Costs of adopting internationally can differ depending on these things: Private vs. Independent Agency—different agencies have varying costs Court Fees—legal fees the country requires and paying lawyers to handle them Travel vs. Escort—if you do not pay to travel to the country where your new child is, you can pay for an escort to bring the child back to the U.S. for you; either way you pay Traveling Fees—this includes your accommodations while you are in the foreign country as well as airline tickets to and from the country for you, your child, and any others traveling with you. If you can find somewhere cheap, it will cost you less. Donation to Orphanage—a lot of orphanages require that you give a donation when adopting a child so that they can have funds to continue running the facility Immunization Fees—the U.S. requires immunizations for the child you adopt Factors to Consider A few factors to consider when adopting an international child are as follows, Laws of Country-Some countries don’t allow inter-racial adoptions, require extended visits, or require you work through an agency. Cultural Background-Your child may be treated differently when they live in the U.S. Sicknesses Typical of Country-many children in African countries have AIDS Behavior taught by Family/Culture-The older the child is when you adopt, the more likely they will have learned behaviors from their environment. Ages 2-5 are high learning ages. Other cultures teach children behaviors very different from what we would consider acceptable. Websites with More Information: www.ldsfamilyservices.org www.adoption.com www.lds.adoption.com www.international.adoption.com LDS Family Services…………1-800-537-2229 Adoption.com…………………1-800-ADOPT-HERE Biographies: Marianne Ruff is graduating this December in General Business Management. She hopes to work in the administration department at a hospital. She is from Highland, Utah, where she has been living all her life. She currently lives with her parents, older brother and younger sister. She has two older brothers who are married with children and an older sister who is married. One interesting thing about her is that she was almost scalped in a sledding accident as a child. Melissa Cowley is graduating this April in General Business, and she hopes to work in a Human Resource Department. She is from Idaho Falls, Idaho. She is the oldest of five children and has two brothers and two sisters. She has a younger sister who is married with two kids. Tiona Furin is graduating this April in Finance and is moving to California to work in the Finance and Business Department at Northrop Grumman. She is from Vancouver, Washington, but has lived in six different states. She is the oldest of four children, and has one sister and two brothers. One of her big accomplishments is running the St. George Marathon twice in the past two years.