Getting Paid To Adopt?

Many families who adopt special needs children through their state receive a monthly check even after the finalization. Some people become irritated when learning this. I’ve heard the argument, “I don’t get paid to raise my kid,” and frankly, I can understand the feelings behind such comments.

There are many parents who give birth to special needs children and don’t get monthly support in the form of a check. As an adoptive parent I’ve struggled with receiving certain assistance for my children. We did not adopt our children as a charity; we didn’t need the money. We wanted to be parents and set out to adopt knowing we would likely face special needs. While many families pay thousands of dollars to adopt, not only was ours free, but our children are being provided with medical, dental and mental health coverage through our state (the good tax payers) at no cost to us; all this in addition to their monthly adoption subsidy. Is this really fair? I think it depends on how you look at things.

What is the cost to keep a special needs child in foster care until they’re 18? What type of home setting is better for a child: a foster home, or an adoptive home where the parents want to be committed to the child for life as a family? Prior to our children’s finalization we received foster care payments. We received more money while our boys were technically foster children than we did once our adoption assistance fell in place. In our state, the amount determined for special rates in foster care and that for subsidy are factored differently. Foster care special rate payments may pay out for extra time spent working with special needs whereas adoption subsidy might pay out for specific support to promote the well being of a child for the purposes of adoption.

The purpose of adoption assistance—which also often consists of certain adoption expense reimbursements including attorney fees to finalize, is to make it easier and perhaps even more appealing for families who might not otherwise be able to adopt special needs children due to the added costs of care.

While I hear over and over from parents that they would have adopted their children regardless of the subsidy they receive, I’ve also heard the cries of parents who find their child’s needs to be beyond of what adoption assistance provides financially. To be honest, initially I’m not so sure my husband and I would have been able to afford the cost of an additional special needs child if we did not receive some sort of support. We were able to rest much easier knowing if either of our boys needed additional special services, support was there for us.

The typical parent does not decide to parent knowing they will have a special needs child. I fear that if subsidy was not available, there would be many more children without forever families to call their own.

Please check out these related blogs:

Who’s Causing More Damage, The Home or The State?

Choosing the Type of Adoption That is Right For You

Adoption Subsidy Payments

How We Started the Adoption Process in Our State

Mental Health and Insurance: Advocating for Makala

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