Fees in Robyn’s Adoption Land

Alice in Wonderland, Cards painting the roses redAs I’ve discussed previously, adoption is expensive. It shouldn’t be. In Robyn’s Adoption Land, adoption costs what it costs, no more and no less.

What does that mean, precisely?

Fees are set based on the costs of actual services. Fees are not charged based on the race or gender of the child.

All adoption agencies are non-profits. Any funds generated go back into the agency. The people who work for the agency – social workers, attorneys, counselors, receptionists, and so on – do get paid, but there are salary caps. A social worker can make between $X and $Y, +/- a percentage for cost of living in the area. For example, a social worker in Iowa is going to make less than a social worker in San Francisco, CA. Of course, the caps are adjusted every so often for inflation.

After we pay all the people, we figure out “how much does it cost:

  • to  keep the lights on? (overhead)
  • to advertise?
  • to counsel all members of the adoption triad?
  • to file paperwork with the court?
  • to provide post-placement services (not counseling)?
  • to provide services to expectant/birth mothers?

We figure out how much it all costs, and charge that. No more.

I’ve been trying to find out how much it costs the state when people adopt from foster care. The best I can come up with is this paper, stating that “state and federal expenditures for adoption administrative costs” are $10,302. So, without analyzing a bunch of salary and cost data, I’m extrapolating that adoption is still going to cost more than $10K, but less than $20K, before travel. But, because the laws are the same in all of the states, I do believe there will be less of a need for PAPs to travel.

When it comes to attorneys, there must be a discussion about reasonable costs for an attorney’s time. I’m sorry, but $350 an hour is ludicrous. (That’s how much our LA attorney billed.) Yes, attorneys have specialized knowledge and they spend a lot of time in school. So do teachers. They don’t make $350 an hour.

Speaking of attorneys, I have an idea of how to handle expectant/birth parent attorney expenses. It’s always seemed like a conflict of interest that the expectant parents’ attorney is paid for by the prospective adoptive parents. The idea I’ve come up with is that adoption attorneys must do a certain number of pro bono hours each year. Yes, adoptive parents may indirectly pay for that, as attorneys will have to factor that into their costs. However, it’s not nearly the conflict of interest that occurs when the PAPs and EPs are represented by the same attorney, and the PAPs are paying.

The goal here is to do away with the multi-billion dollar adoption industry. It’s to replace the idea of making money off of desperate PAPs with the idea of building families. So much lip service is paid to the phrase, “Adoption isn’t about finding a child for a family, it’s about finding a family for a child” but when the PAPs are paying $33,000 for “services rendered,” it’s no wonder that the phrase rings hollow.

By the way, all adoption expenses in Robyn’s Adoption Land are tax deductible.

Photo credit.

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4 thoughts on “Fees in Robyn’s Adoption Land

  1. I love our local agency (though most of our adoption was w a lawyer in another state which I didn’t think much of- mainly because of these ethical issues). The local agency has income based fees. Adoptions range from $15,000-$26,000 based on income of the adoptive parents paid in three installments all after placement. (Home study is the only “extra” which is $1000 up front but is deducted from the $15000-$26000). It made planning much easier.

    I know the Thomas Foundation really has pushed for employers to be involved in adding contributions as benefits for employees. Thoughts on this and how it might play a role if any?

    • I do like sliding scales based on income better than fees based on race.
      I think employers should be encouraged to provide some reimbursement for adoption-related expenses. However, I’d hate to see that be used as a reason to increase adoption fees. I don’t know how true it is, but I think that agencies/professionals use the amount of the Adoption Tax Credit as an excuse to raise adoption fees, and I know I’m not alone in that belief.
      However, I really think that agencies shouldn’t be making a profit on adoption, and APs should be charged actual costs, not whatever the agencies/attorneys think they can get.

  2. Pingback: Robyn’s Adoption Land | The Chittister Family

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