Good Afternoon:
I just received an information packet from a private adoption agency. They are well know and are nationwide. Under there list of fees for domestic infant adoption they have pre placement fees listed at $4750, $2000 of which includes the homestudy. It also states this fee includes adoption prep, birthmother counseling, birthmother living and medical expenses,etc. It states that this must be paid prior to being assigned a social worker. Is it strange that an agency would make you pay a fee before you have even been matched with a birthmother?? What if they don't find a match for you and you're unhappy with the service and want to go elsewhere. It states that the fees are nonrefundable. I am just trying to figure out if this is ethical and should I avoid this situation??
Thanks in advance.
I think ours charged around $8000 up front for advertising. Our homestudy was separate and was about $3750 (payable in different installments-post placement visits included). I believe ours was non-refundable as well but they would work with us until we had a successful match with no additional agency fees. You would want to make sure that you could take your homestudy with you if you decided to leave that agency, then yes you would be out the $2750 but your homestudy would be good with another agency.
Thank you for your response Sheababy! It sounds like these agency fees are not unreasonable. I guess it makes sense that they would want some money up front to start providuing services.
Could you PM me with the agency you used and if you had a good experience with them?
Upfront fees are not right. If anything, you should pay as you go for services rendered (classes, homestudy) then pay when you are matched. That is how our agency worked. If you pay upfront, and then are not happy, or if you just want to expand and use a second after a long possible wait with one, you may not have the money available....
I think that most folks here will say that pay upfront is not right...
Good luck....
I did not have to pay any fees upfront. Before getting matched, I paid the application fee and homestudy fee. After getting matched, then I paid fees towards that, then a placement fee when the baby came home. And, all the fees after getting matched could be applied towards another match if that one fell thru.
Thank you for your responses about the pre placement fees. I did think it was strange to have to pay money up front. The agency that requires this as I mentioned is a well known, nationwide agency so I am really surprised. It does make me feel uneasy to have to pay for services that I'm not sure I will be happy with. Like, what if I don't feel they are working for us and I don't get any matches and I want to switch to a different agency. I don't think it's fair that I would lose that money. We are definitely going to have to consider this when coosing an agency.
We were an International adoption but we also paid upfront fees of 4750.00 plus our homestudy fees. I'm sure there may be agencies that don't do this, but, it is also very common to see this. Good luck with your journey!!!
Thanks for your responses everyone! Lots to think about. Do you think it makes a difference if you use a full service agency?? I am trying to figure out what some agencies provide and don't provide. It seems like some of my local agencies provide a homestudy and do very few placements a year and will help you locate a bigger agency out of state or help you find your own birthmother. I have to be honest, I don't want to have to do that. I want to sign up with an agency who works with birthmothers and the birthmother picks from prospective parents. I don't know if that's what it means when they say they are a full service agency?
P.S. Kelly your son is beautiful. What a cutie!!
mommasomeday - Yes, that's exactly what they mean by full-service agency - they work with hopeful adoptive parents and expectant mothers considering adoption throughout the whole process.
I don't think that matters one way or the other with regard to up-front fees, though. Ours was a full-service agency, but they charged nothing up-front except a small application fee & a homestudy fee that was due before we were assigned a social worker. Everything else was paid at placement. We chose an agency that didn't charge up-front fees specifically for the reasons you mentioned - if I ever had any concerns/doubts/problems with the agency I wanted to be able to leave without losing thousands of dollars.
Thanks for clarifying that for me Meghann. I am just trying to learn as much as I can right now and it can be a bit confusing.
My husband and I have started the process, and feeling excited and overwhelmed. Can you share (PM to me) the agency you used that was successful. We live in CA.
We had to pay for the home study, which we could then take elsewhere. Plus we had to pay a non refundable deposit. I think it was 10% of our placement fee which was a sliding scale based on our income. I think this is fairly common. Then we had to pay the remainder of the placement fee at placement. That included everything but finalization, which we did on our own. I think it's better if you don't have to fork over any money upfront but I don't think it's uncommon.
Hi Magic Hat,
Thanks for your response to my posting. From the research I've been doing it does seem to be the norm to have to pay something up front to the agency. My concern now is that we have met with almost all of our local agencies (one of which will do our homestudy), but I'm not sure if we should register with them (could cost a couple thousand dollars) and register with a national agency. I live in Rhode Island which is a really small state and most of the agencies here only do about 6-10 adoptions a year and the wait time is 12-24 months. I really don't want to wait that long so I am thinking of using a national agency. What did you do for your 2 adoptions? Can you PM me with the details including agency names.