While adoption CAN be expensive and the process may feel very overwhelming, it’s important to know there are resources and support available that can make a big difference in taking this important first step. I speak with many families who reference limitations, obstacles and worries around the thought of adoption and whether adopting will even be possible.
Resources to Help
If you’re considering adoption or starting on that process, WACAP wants to provide resources to empower you to have the confidence to build your family through adoption. By knowing what resources are available, it’s my hope that I can help families see that adoption is achievable.
In response to these conversations, I feel it’s beneficial to share this information with families who are facing the same concerns. Therefore, I’m writing a 3-part series that will touch on the following topics over the next few weeks:
- Adoption Benefits and Credits
- Family Leave and Adoption
- The Adoption Tax Credit and the Financial Part of Planning for Your Adoption (Including WACAP Resources, Coaching for Adopting Families)
As they start out, families may not realize that there are a number of assistance programs set up to help absorb the costs of an adoption. Currently, the Federal Government offers a tax credit of over $13,000 following the finalization of an adoption that helps many families. Additionally, some states offer financial incentives to families that adopt a child from their state foster care system.
There are also many low-interest loans and private grant programs available across the country to adoptive families, so we encourage your family to do research on those programs. WACAP’s Family Finders Team keeps a list of grant and loan programs our families have found recent success with and we are happy to share that list with you by request. To request a copy, email FamilyFinders@wacap.org.
Ask about your adoption agency’s grants to see if you meet the eligibility requirements. WACAP offers grants to families who meet certain financial requirements and who are adopting specific children waiting for an adoptive family because of their age or because of other individual needs they may have.
Be Your Own Advocate
Many employers offer an “Adoption Assistance” benefit so their employees can be reimbursed for some of their adoption expenses. Companies may offer benefits to include additional time off, flexible schedule, access to onsite daycare and so on; it’s important to find out what type of benefits may be available to your family.
Keep in mind, if the company doesn’t have adoption benefits currently in place, ask about putting this in place. Be your own advocate. It only takes one person to start the conversation to establish adoption benefits and while it may or may not be put into place in time to benefit your adoption, the conversation will be able to help other employees with their adoptions.
Minimize your worries. (Ask)
It’s important to check with your Human Resources Department to better understand what your benefits include. I’ve had many conversations with families about taking time off from work and concerns with insuring their adopted child. In most situations, leave from work is available for adoptions, and don’t feel uneasy about asking how much time is allowed after placement.
Ask your employer for details about your leave benefit. In some situations, benefits are available even before you have custody: for instance, for in-country stays and traveling to bring home your child home.
Medical insurance is another common worry with an adoption, but rest assured that insurance companies cannot wait until the adoption is finalized to provide coverage for a child. Medical coverage normally takes effect when you have legal custody of your child. We encourage you to contact your insurance provider to discuss your medical benefits as this will provide good peace of mind. (You aren’t the first pre-adoptive parent with this question!)
It’s also important to know your rights as an adoptive parent and the benefits that may be available to you. … So stay tuned next week’s post on Family Leave and Adoption: The Law, Your Employer, and What You Need to Know.
About Debbie: Debbie joined WACAP in September 2015 as our adoption information specialist, and she continues to build strong relationships with families every day. She’s committed to helping families understand and navigate their choices as they consider adoption, and is passionate about building community partnerships to support families and connect them with the resources they need.