According to national statistics, more than one million children live in adoptive homes. Two to four percent of families in the U.S. include an adopted child.
People adopt for many reasons. Some women are physically incapable of becoming pregnant or cannot carry a child to term. Single women often choose to adopt because they have not found their perfect mate, but still want children. Some adopt because there is a family member who is unable to take care of their child for some reason. Whatever the reason, adoption can give a warm and loving home to a child who might otherwise be caught in the foster care system for most of their childhood.
There are just as many reasons for placing a child for adoption.
I’ve heard people say in conversation, “How can anyone just give up their child for adoption? How selfish is that?”
I believe placing your child for adoption (in most cases) is a very unselfish act. Sure, there are some who give up their kids so they can do drugs or have the freedom to do what they want.
For the most part, however, I think young women place their children for adoption because they feel that is the best choice for the child. Teenagers who get pregnant unexpectedly and often have no one to turn to. They may recognize that they cannot take care of a child while they have no education or means of support. They want their child to have an opportunity at a better life than they can give him or her. How much more love could a mother give?
When thinking about adoption, many potential parents do not consider adopting a special needs child. They worry they may not be able to handle the stress or may not be able to afford adoption or the added cost in raising a special needs child.
While adoption can be expensive, often state governments and other agencies provide reimbursement for adoption of special needs children or children with disabilities.
For special needs children adopted from the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) system, there may be a monthly subsidy available. This stipend is offered to help with the extra expense of raising a child with special needs (i.e., therapies, medications, etc.). Most likely, the child will also be covered under Medicaid for insurance. To read more about this program and to see if you may qualify, visit http://www.nacac.org/adoptionsubsidy/stateprofiles/georgia.html.
Also in Georgia , nonrecurring expenses of up to $1,500 per child, including legal fees/court costs, travel/lodging/meals (as part of pre-placement visits) and physicals for adoptive parents in the process of legal adoption of a child with special needs may be reimbursable through the state. The contact for these services is Adrian J. Owens, DHS/Social Services Administration Unit, 2 Peachtree St. NW, Ste. 8-400, Atlanta, GA, 30303. You can also call 404-657-3558 or 888-460-2467 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Georgia has a tax credit of $2,000 per child per tax year for families who adopt from DFCS foster care. The credit is available beginning with the year the child was adopted and ends in the year the child turns 18. Families must complete an Individual Income Tax Credit form (IND-CR) to claim this credit. The form can be found at https://etax.dor.ga.gov/inctax/individual_income_tax_forms.aspx.
Military service members are eligible for adoption fee reimbursement through the Department of Defense (DoD). Their regulations state that military members may receive $2,000 per child or a maximum of $5,000 per family to help cover adoption costs. These benefits are payable after the adoption is final and will only be reimbursed up to one year after adoption. For more information on this program, check out http://support.militaryfamily.org/site/DocServer/DoD_Adoption_Reimbursement.
I have even read blogs where communities and churches have come together with fundraisers to help families who wish to adopt. There are banks that will finance the cost with low-interest loans. The possibilities are many. Don’t let cost prevent you from giving a child a loving home. Explore your options.
Pam Rasmussen is a resident of LaFayette. She is the mother of a child with spina bifida and an advocate of special needs children and adults. She can be contacted at email@example.com.