As an expectant mother, you may have found yourself in a situation you were not expecting. You may have a partner or be married and were not prepared for another child. You may be a single mother finding yourself unexpectedly pregnant. Or you and your partner or spouse may be contemplating the options for your family and baby. You may not know what options are available to you and might be concerned that the cost of the pregnancy and adoption make creating an adoption plan too expensive or unattainable. You may be wondering, is financial assistance available during the pregnancy? Facing an unexpected pregnancy can feel overwhelming and even scary. Financial pressures are not an obstacle in deciding to parent or place your baby for adoption. There are many resources available to you in terms of financial support. This article will seek to answer some of your questions as you begin your journey of learning more about adoption and the financial assistance available during pregnancy.
What financial assistance is available during the pregnancy from the federal government?
As you begin to understand more about what financial assistance is available during the pregnancy, it is important to know that there is substantial assistance available for pregnant women from the federal government. There are many sources of financial support available, and the federal government is a great place to start.
There are various agencies and organizations within the federal government which offer financial assistance during pregnancy for pregnant women. Although these financial assistance programs are offered through the federal government, you may have to apply for assistance through your specific state’s health department or another agency at the state level first.
Women, Infants, and Children Program
One such program is Women, Infants, and Children or WIC Program. WIC offers services such as nutritious foods and referrals to healthcare for low-income pregnant women and women who are postpartum. It is also available to breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to five years of age. WIC is a program with the United States Department of Agriculture that is administered at the national and state levels. This financial assistance is available at most grocery stores and even some farmer’s markets. When you are at the grocery store you will see “WIC approved” on the item label with the price.
The program issues a check, an electronic card, or a voucher to purchase these foods for yourself and/or your baby. To be eligible for this financial assistance during the pregnancy, you must have an income that is at or below 185% of the United States Poverty Income Guidelines. There may be additional requirements you must meet according to your respective state. To understand more about what is approved in your respective state, you can contact the WIC Program office in your state to learn more about how to apply for this financial assistance program.
Medicaid is a form of financial assistance available during pregnancy. Medicaid is administered to individuals and families at the state level. It allows pregnant women and their families to receive health services—services that are critical during your pregnancy. The federal government sets the predetermined requirements to be eligible for Medicaid services during your pregnancy. However, every state is different in how it sets up its specific guidelines for being eligible for this assistance. If you qualify, you can keep Medicaid throughout your pregnancy and your baby will be covered as well. Other members of your immediate family can also be covered. Medicaid is a source of financial assistance that has no time limit. If you qualify you can have it throughout your life and after the pregnancy.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
As you contemplate additional financial assistance that is available during pregnancy, you will find that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is an option for many pregnant women. The TANF program offers financial assistance to pregnant women who qualify due to financial constraints. TANF is a federal government program but, like other programs I have shared, it is administered at the state level. TANF is financial assistance offered to pregnant women and/or families through financial aid which can be allocated to groceries, food supplies, housing, clothing, utilities, and medical supplies. Depending on your state, TANF is available for pregnant women in the last trimester of their pregnancy, which is roughly the last three months of the pregnancy. Your Medicaid or WIC office can share information on the TANF program in your state and how to apply to see if you qualify.
An additional federal government program available to pregnant women in need of financial assistance is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. SNAP benefits are provided to low-income individuals, which includes pregnant women or families, who qualify through the use of debit cards to purchase food and groceries. Again, requirements on qualifying differ from state to state. It is important to ask if you qualify for SNAP when you look into the other financial assistance programs.
How You Can Afford to Create an Adoption Plan
Many women who have found themselves unexpectedly pregnant may have to decide whether to create a parenting plan for themselves and their baby or to create an adoption plan. Many women may want to create an adoption plan for their baby but they do not know how they can afford to carry the baby to term and place him or her for adoption. This is one area that you do not need to worry about. Most great adoption attorneys and adoption agencies will help you understand what resources are available to you and what financial assistance is available during the pregnancy. An example of a great adoption agency is the Gladney Center for Adoption. The Gladney Center for Adoption works to help pregnant women who are contemplating an adoption plan to better understand the options available to them. There is no pressure to move forward with an adoption plan and, even if you decide you wish to place your child for adoption, you can change your mind. You can call an adoption agency at any point during your pregnancy and they will provide all of the information you need to understand what options are available and what type of financial assistance you are eligible to receive.
Many agencies like the Gladney Center for Adoption offer free legal services so you do not need to pay any money to finalize or process the adoption. They cover all of the costs. Most agencies also support you during each step in your pregnancy to understand what financial assistance is available and can get you in touch with the various federal assistance program offices shared above. They can help with applications for Medicaid and help you understand what you may qualify for in your state. Further, most adoption agencies will help you figure out how to pay for medical visits and housing, as it is usually a primary concern for most pregnant women who are struggling financially. An adoption agency, such as Gladney, can offer financial assistance to you during the pregnancy to help cover expenses related to the pregnancy and birth of the baby. The adoption laws in each state control the regulations as to what can be covered in each state regarding birth parent expenses and how you can receive this financial assistance. Most states allow adoption agencies to cover a pregnant woman’s living expenses, such as phone bills, rent or mortgage payments, maternity or baby clothes, food and groceries, and utilities. They can also support you financially by covering medical expenses and, as discussed above, legal expenses. Some adoption agencies and states allow for hopeful adoptive parents, to cover some of these birth parent expenses. Again, the laws vary from state to state and your adoption agency or adoption attorney can help you understand what is legally feasible in terms of financial assistance for birth parent expenses.
You can begin to ask these questions by contacting an adoption agency or adoption attorney in your area, or anywhere in the country as long as they work with pregnant women in your state. Adoption.com has a wonderful resource for pregnant women contemplating their options through Free Pregnancy Support and Counseling. It is important to mention that most great adoption agencies will also fully cover the costs for counseling services during your pregnancy. This can be very helpful as you decide whether to parent your child or create an adoption plan. Speaking with a licensed counselor who specializes in working with pregnant women in adoption and with families is important in your journey. Most states allow adoptive parents and adoption agencies to cover the costs of counseling services not just during the pregnancy, but also after the baby is born. Finding an adoption agency near you to provide all of these details as well as give you the answers to whatever other questions you have is important at this point in the process. There is no pressure to use an adoption agency and you can stop using them at any time. You can find an adoption agency near you here.
Post-Partum Financial Assistance
Most of the federal programs shared above are available to qualifying women during pregnancy. You may need time to decide if you are going to parent your child or create an adoption plan for your baby. Understanding what financial options are available after the birth of your baby is important, too. There are plenty of wonderful options if you choose to parent your child. You are not alone and there are many resources for mothers and their children. Reaching out to your local house of worship—your mosque, church, or synagogue—is also important as they often have wonderful resources for mothers who are struggling financially. They can offer a great deal of support emotionally, logistically, and financially.
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Another resource available to pregnant women and mothers is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP is designed for pregnant women, mothers, or families who earn too much financially to qualify for Medicaid but private insurance options are too expensive for the family to purchase for the children. CHIP provides your child, if eligible, with regular checkups, vaccinations, prescription medication, laboratory testing, hospital visits, X-rays, and other medical services.
Drug Prescription Assistance Program (DPAP) provides low-income pregnant women and individuals and families medications at a lower cost. Free medical and dental clinics can provide pregnant women and their children with free or low-cost medical services and dental check-ups, cleanings, and procedures.
There are also agencies in each state that support women once their child is born in applying and collecting child support. Child Support Enforcement (CSE) agencies will provide you with a caseworker who will help you apply for child support and they will work to ensure that the child support is enforced and that you receive the child support your child deserves if you are divorced, separated, unmarried, or estranged from your child’s father.
There are many things to think about during your pregnancy. Understanding what financial assistance is available during the pregnancy is important so you can take one stress off of your plate. There is a great deal of support for you during the pregnancy and after, whether you choose to parent your child or place them for adoption. You are not alone.Are you considering adoption and want to give your child the best life possible? Let us help you find an adoptive family that you love. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.