Here's a frequently-asked question about birth mother expenses: "If a birth mother decides to not place her baby with us, can we get back the money we paid for her living expenses during the pregnancy?"
Most adoptive couples are open to helping out with living expenses, and many birth mothers greatly need this help.
Keep reading to learn more about birth mother expenses!
The expenses that adoptive parents can pay are regulated by state law, and the laws vary from state to state. But in most states, adoptive parents are allowed to pay a birth mother's medical, legal, and counseling expenses within reason. Many states also allow couples to provide some assistance with living expenses.
Even though you may be willing to help with birth mother expenses, you might be wondering: "If she decides not to place her baby with us, can we get our money back?”
The answer depends on your state's law. In some states, birth mother expenses are deemed to be a gift and can't be recovered. In others, the courts may refuse to require that the birth mother reimburse adoptive parents. There are only a few states where a reimbursement agreement with the birth mother is legal and enforceable. Usually, though, states consider such contracts unenforceable.
Research on open adoption has shown that children do best when their birth family and adoptive parents have established a trusting relationship. In modern adoption, adoptive couples and birth mothers get to know each other well. Writing up a contract with the idea of pursuing legal action certainly isn't the best way to establish and build a positive relationship, one built on mutual respect!
At Lifetime, we offer every birth mother licensed, third-party counseling at no cost to her. She is also given the opportunity to speak with a peer counselor, a woman who made an adoption plan for her child in the past. When a woman gets counseling as she is going through the adoption planning process, she is more confident in her decision. This confidence results in far fewer reclaims. In fact, Lifetime's reclaim rate is 3 to 4%, which is much lower than other adoption professionals.
So instead of worrying about birth mother expenses, you're better off preparing your adoption budget wisely. Learn all that you can about the adoption expense tax credit, an incredible resource for adoptive parents. By doing so, you can make the most of the tax credit when you file taxes after your adoption is finalized. In a recent webinar, Lifetime's adoption experts covered important questions about this tax credit.