If you are a gay man or a couple looking to adopt, the first step you have to figure out which route you want to take. One is adopting through a non-profit agency, an agency that in addition to adoption services also helps dozens of pregnant women without means every year. We spoke with Tara and Jean-Charles from Friends in Adoption, about adoption; how much it costs, what is the process and what happens if the pregnant woman changes her mind.
If you are looking into adoption as a gay single or couple, there are three ways that you can adopt
1. Foster-to-Adopt (the government route)2. Private Attorney3. Private Agency
The third option, which is the most common, divides into two types of agencies: an agency that is a business, and an agency that is also a non profit organization. The difference between the two is where the “agency fees” that you pay as part of the cost go. To a non-profit organization there is a charitable side, which helps pregnant women who have no one to turn to. “We receive inquiries from about 300 individuals a year who are pregnant or parenting,” says Tara Stalis, Executive Director of Friends in Adoption, a non-profit adoption agency. “[We help people] from all over the country to consider their options, we provide counseling, support and education, we provide help with housing if they need that help to stabilize them. We also provide [access] to a doctor, to appointments, food and things like that so that they can really be in the best place possible to look at all of their options, one of which might be adoption. Out of those 300 inquiries a year we do about 30 placements. So part of the agency fee helps provide case management services to individuals who may not decide on adoption, but we literally helped hundreds of people to truly look into their options and decide what's best for them.”
Adoption: How Much It Costs
The average cost to adopt whether you decide to adopt with a private licensed non-profit adoption agency, or even adopt privately using an attorney and not using an agency, is about $45,000. “There is a wide range and a lot of it does depend on the situation, the pregnant individual that you're matched with and what her needs are as far as expenses,” Tara explains.
“Part of it covers an agency fee, and the rest of the expenses are, for example, your attorney, attorney for the birth parents that you're working with, counseling fees, home study fees plus placement fees. Agency fees really cover case management services, if someone wants to adopt they will have a case manager from the time they reach out to us, right through deciding to work with us, and right through [the process] and becoming matched with the pregnant individual and the placement. And we're also a life-long resource, we keep in touch with the adoptive families…”
Waiting time can be another key factor in choosing your adoption agency for some gay parents-to-be. “Our average wait time is about 14 months,” says Tara, “and the way we measure that is between when you become active until you become matched, so if you decide to work with any adoption agency, you would have to go through the home study process and have a home study completed and you would have to create an adoption profile. Once those two things are done in Friends in Adoption you're considered “active” - we post your profile on the website, pregnant individuals can find you, you're active. So the average is 14 months but I will say that in the past several years people have been moving through more quickly and most people don't wait longer than a year, so the good news is that people are not waiting as long as they used to, but it could happen.”