What Does an Adoption Cost?

A common concern brought up by prospective adoptive parents is how much an adoption will cost. There are a few different types of adoptions that vary in cost, but choosing to adopt from foster care is basically free. Whether you are still deciding if adoption is the right path for your family or are already foster parents looking to adopt the children that have been placed with you, here are some tips to get you started:
First, you must be a foster parent in order to adopt children younger than 9 years old from foster care. If you need to become a foster parent, the process is simple for the most part. The basic qualifications are that the applicants are older than 21 years old, pass a background check, and are financially able to support themselves and their families without reliance on foster care reimbursement from the state. Click here for more details on how to become a foster parent in Utah.
After becoming a foster parent, understand that the first child(ren) placed with you will likely not be the ones you get to adopt. The goal of foster care is to reconcile and reunite the children with their birth parents, so only after the state finds that sufficient efforts have been expended without progress are the birth parents’ rights terminated and the child is eligible for adoption. About 59% of foster children are reunited with their birth families or other relatives, whereas 46% of foster children are actually adopted by their foster parents. As long as you enter foster care with this in mind, remembering that the best thing for all involved is for the children to reunite with their birth families, you should be fine.
When you are given the opportunity to adopt a foster child, the process may not be as long as you think. In fact, once the birth parents’ parental rights are terminated, an adoption can be finalized immediately as long as the foster child has been living with their foster parents for at least 6 months. Finalizing an adoption requires the preparation and filing of certain documents to the Utah Courts, an adoption hearing, and a name change. This is where hiring an attorney becomes necessary.
Luckily, the State of Utah has provided a way to ease the financial strain on foster parents when hiring an attorney. According to the Utah Annotated Code R512-43-4, the state will reimburse foster parents for up to $2,000 to cover “non-recurring expenses,” which includes attorney and court filing fees. When I handle adoptions, I make sure the total expenses I require fall well below that $2,000 limit so families can be fully reimbursed for what an adoption costs them in the end. An additional benefit that I offer is continuing to assist in obtaining documents like birth certificates and certified copies of court documents after the hearing is finished. My representation doesn’t end until a new birth certificate with your adopted child’s new name is in your hands. I’ve had to order amended birth certificates from as far away as Louisiana, but it’s worth it to help a new family feel united together.
In the end, the entire process ends up costing foster parents very little, if anything. As long as DCFS finds you financially stable enough to be foster parents, there is no need to worry about how expensive the adoption process will be. The feeling of adding a new loved one to your family may be priceless, but fortunately the price of the experience is quite manageable.
If you have any further questions, give us a call at 435-592-1235!