eli5: When you adopt a child, why do you have to pay so much money?

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This was a question I had back when I was in elementary school. I had asked my mom but she had no clue. In my little brain I thought it was wrong to buy children, but now I’m wondering if that’s not actually the case. What is that money being spent on?

In: Economics

40 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

There are many people/agencies involved. Mine was international and had even more. Home-studies and background checks are standard. In the US, many states supplement the costs to ease the process when adopting a special needs child. As a side note, some countries require bribes to get through the process.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because adoption is a legal process rather than a biological one. To adopt a child, you typically have to involve attorneys, social workers, physicians, government administrators, adoption specialists, counselors and more. Most of those folks charge for their services.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You don’t. If you adopt a child in the system (orphaned, foster with no suitable family etc), it’s free (paid for by the government agency)  

If you adopt a child from another country and inport them, or you adopt directly from a women having a baby (who is giving the child up) or a surrogate, you pay the legal fees, expenses, travel, etc.

People tend not to want to adopt children who need homes because they want an infant, and think a foster child will have behaviour, medical or trauma problems. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

You arent buying a child. You’re paying all of the costs that are associated with adopting the child.

Say I give you the materials to build a house for free. The house still isn’t free because you have to pay someone to build it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Adoption fees vary substantially by circumstance. Adoption isn’t free – it requires substantial amounts of paperwork and perhaps the services of a lawyer – so unless some other charitable organization is paying for it, some money is required.

With that said, in the bad old days of international adoption (like, the 90s), there wasn’t much to stop adoption from taking on the characteristics of a ” market for babies.” If a lot of international parents want children from your country, you can charge them fees that don’t really cover any necessary costs. Let this get out of hand, and you will get unscrupulous “adoption agencies” who pay poor parents to convince them to give up their children. That’s how you get [a whole Wikipedia page of international adoption scandals](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_international_adoption_scandals). Countries are a lot more cautious with international adoption in the present day, typically preferring to foster children within the country if possible.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I thought the same until I became a lawyer and saw what actually happens, although I still believe it’s disgusting that we have people donating to museums when we have children in foster care.  Anyway so in the instance where the parents are still alive you are literally taking away all the parents rights and giving them to the adoptive parent if the bio parents don’t consent. And as you can imagine a court is going to require a pretty damn good case before they say nope you will never be this child’s parent again. That case and the time it takes to prove that is not short or easy. And that’s just to take away the parents rights.  Then you look at making sure the new parent is safe and actually good for the child. Yes we likely assume that any person that wants to adopt is good person but unfortunately I assure you they are not always. So the case has to be made why this person is fit to be appointed as this child’s parent. Imagine if there was not detailed case to determine that and children were then abused. We as society would hopefully not stand for that. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

We adopted locally. The total cost to us was about $20K. Adoption is handled by states, and varies significantly across the US.

About $13K of that went to the adoption agency. They have people who work with women who are seeking to give children up for adoption. They help would-be adoptive parents through the process of getting their state certification (our state requires you to be first certified for foster care). The agency also works with the finding possible matches. Additionally the agency provides support to both sides of the family during and after the adoption process. And the agency maintains its own certifications and runs deep background checks and makes inspections.

About a few hundred went to classes and certifications for our foster license.

The last ~6K went toward lawyer and court fees for the legal side of things.

After the adoption closed, we were able to claim a $13K deduction for our costs. This was recouped by reducing our federal income tax over the next few years.

EDIT: Also note that in a lot of infant adoptions the birth mother changes her mind, and the match does not go through. So the agency’s costs need to cover the potentiality that they will need to work with multiple birth moms for every adoptive family.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you adopt through the state/county it costs you damn close to &0. It’s a time commitment and paperwork commitment but my wife and I did not pay anything besides the fingerprinting and licensing fees(which was somewhere around $100)

Anonymous 0 Comments

Adoption in many places used to be a humanitarian issue, first and foremost. These days, it’s seen more as a business than anything else by many agencies that facilitate it, particularly in international agencies. People from these places realized that many prospective parents looking to adopt will pay money to ensure the well-being of the child they’ve been matched with and tack on numerous ‘processing’ fees and other nonsense to try to milk out as much money as they can. It’s apparently gotten so bad and corrupt in some countries that agency officials will straight up steal children (usually infants) from poorer women/families in order to adopt them out, which has led to at least a couple countries actually closing themselves to international adoption so they can get all their corruption settled out.

Source: Am internationally adopted.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’m assuming we’re talking about USA here?

None of the costs mentioned here by other posts are normal in the UK. By adopting you are avoiding the state having to care for the child and therefore the costs are covered by the state.

Why that is the way applies to most things in the US like healthcare – it’s just a money making scheme.