Adopting a Child

Fees & Financial Resources

  1. Adoption Programs Overview and Fee Structure
  2. Family-based Financial Aid Application
  3. Refund Policy
  4. Additional resources to assist in financing your adoption
  5. Financial Resources
  6. Illinois Adoption Tax Credit

Understanding the costs

Most adoptions, like those through private attorneys or through licensed child welfare agencies, involve the adoptive parents paying costs, fees and expenses. The variability in cost depends on the kind of adoption, the agency’s or attorney’s fees, legal cost, the cost associated with marketing, birth parent expenses and whether or not the agency offers any kind of fee modification based on the financial situation of the potential adoptive parents. If there are legal challenges to any adoption and adoptive parents are compelled to absorb unexpected additional legal expenses.

Where does the money go?

  • Salaries
  • Heating and electric for the facility
  • Health insurance for staff
  • Liability insurance
  • Cost of worker mileage
  • Financial assistance to women who are considering placing children adoption – as permitted under Illinois law
  • Marketing expenses (internet advertising, cost of printing promotional materials, etc.)
  • Supplies and hardware
  • IT support
  • Printed forms and mailing costs
  • Office phones and cell phones
  • Expectant mother and child medical expenses

A note about medical expenses

Under Illinois rules, when a child is being placed for adoption, after his or her mother has signed final and irrevocable surrenders, and prior to being legally placed for adoption, because that child has no parents until they are placed for adoption, they are eligible to have their medical expenses covered by Illinois Department of Public Aid (IDPA) because they do not have any financial resources of their own. With regard to expectant mothers, under IDPA rules all women who are pregnant in Illinois are entitled to have their medical expenses covered (Kid Care) provided that their income is below a certain level. The overwhelming majority of birth parents meet this criteria and are eligible for public aid coverage of their medical expenses.

In some circumstances, either because an expectant mother earns too much income to be eligible for aid, or she has identified a father whose income exceeds the requirement for eligibility, there will be medical expenses that need to be paid if an adoption ensues.

ACI does take responsibility for these medical expenses. The convention around medical expenses for women who place their child for adoption is that they should not be required to pay any of their pregnancy related costs or the medical expenses of the child she places for adoption.

Why do some agencies charge more than others?

With most agencies, fees are set by their board of directors. Fees take into account operational costs and what board members consider to be fair and reasonable.

All licensed child welfare agencies that practice in the field of adoption in Illinois are recognized by the federal government as charitable 501(c)(3) organizations. Charitable designation is a requirement of Illinois law. What this means is that regardless of what fees are charged.

  • The organization is dedicated to activities that are charitable in nature
  • The organization has a volunteer board of directors who derive no financial benefit from their service on that board
  • None of the agency’s staff is being inordinately compensated for their work
  • Donations to the organization are tax deductible

In the case of ACI, were it not for the generosity of families who adopted through ACI previously, the organization would either have to charge fees that were considerably higher, or, the organization would not be able to meet its expenses and would not be able to operate. All of ACI’s fees for services are in effect subsidized by individual, corporate and foundation charitable giving.