The concept of adoption can be overwhelming and downright scary to those who aren’t familiar with it. Movies portray extreme and highly improbable adoption situations that cause even the most seasoned adoptive parents to grasp their chests in horror. More realistic and common fears can be:
It’s too expensive.
It’s going to take forever.
Can they ever take my child away from me?
Those thoughts and many more can make your head spin and your stomach sick. Yes, adoption can be hard. It can, and very likely will, be frustrating. However, if you are led to adopt, you don’t have to be afraid that it will all end in ruin and heartache. Let’s tackle a few fearful issues.
1. Cost is probably the #1 fear that those approaching adoption face. Yes, adoption can be absurdly expensive. The cost for adoption can range from $0 (foster care adoption) to $55,000 (domestic and international adoptions). Factors depend on state, country, and whether you choose to work with a lawyer or agency. Those numbers are staggering, aren’t they? Don’t panic yet. There are a myriad of methods to obtain adoption aid to help you afford your adoption.
In this article, the author gives this good advice: “Before moving forward with an adoption loan, consider your funding goals, how much you need to borrow, your adoption timeline, and your overall financial situation.” Adoption loans can provide several benefits, like the ability to access funds immediately, flexibility to make payments toward your adoption while you fundraise, and manageable repayment terms, some that are interest free.
Adoption Grants. There is a wide variety of adoption grants available for eligible families. These agencies offer funds that do not need to be repaid. Every grant has a list of criteria that the applicants must meet before they can be considered for funds, and most require a home study from a licensed agency. Each agency has specific deadlines scattered throughout the year.
Fundraising & Crowdfunding. Creativity and simplicity are keys to a successful fundraiser, and the sky is the limit on what you can do. Another popular method to fundraise is to use crowdfunding, where you persuade people to give you donations via a website like GoFundMe or YouCaring.
“Tax benefits for adoption include both a tax credit for qualified adoption expenses paid to adopt an eligible child and an exclusion from income for employer-provided adoption assistance. The credit is nonrefundable, which means it’s limited to your tax liability for the year. However, any credit in excess of your tax liability may be carried forward for up to five years. The maximum amount (dollar limit) for 2017 is $13,570 per child.”
It is important to note that this is not a refund, but rather a credit. This can be beneficial in helping to offset adoption expenses. Also, don’t forget that there is an annual federal child credit of $1,000 available per child as well.
2. Another aspect of adoption that can cause fear is the length of the wait to be matched. Waiting can range from a few hours to a few years. There is no hard science to set the waiting rules. That being said, the more specific you are in your preferences or what needs you will be willing to accept, the longer your wait can become. (Example: You want a 100% healthy, Caucasian baby girl. vs. You want a baby who needs a home.) You will likely have a general set of preferences or ideas of what you are hoping for in a baby. Things that you may want to consider are ethnicity, gender, age, sibling groups, and degree of special needs. There is no wrong or right choice. Only you can determine what situation works for your family. You may have good reasons for opting out of certain situations, so don’t be swayed easily, because as time goes on, you may be tempted to reevaluate your choices. Waiting is hard, but remember that good things come to those who wait. Try to be patient. You can use the time between your application approval and placement to raise funds, read up on issues that pertain to your type of adoption and your prospective child, and prepare your home for your child. Don’t fear the wait. Embrace it, and use this time to prepare…and rest. (You’ll need a reserve for later.)
3. Yet another fear people may have is that they will finally bring home this beautiful baby and that something horrible will happen and someone will take the child away. Movies are terrible at making this scenario seem real. Rest assured that once an adoption is facilitated by a licensed adoption agency or an adoption lawyer and is signed off by a judge, the adoption is finalized. The child’s biological parents’ parental rights have been terminated in accordance with the laws of the state in which you live. All Is have been dotted and all Ts have been crossed. The adoptive parents are put on the child’s birth certificate, and the original birth certificate is sealed. The child is legally, irrevocably your forever child. You won’t have to lose sleep over this fear.
So, there you have it. Three big fears about adoption confronted head on and defeated by fact. You don’t have to be afraid of adoption. A lot of patience, a good printer, a trusty ink pen, and a few hand cramps later, you’ll be on your way to your forever child. Don’t let the fear of what could be ruin the joy of what will be.