Terms of Payment, paid directly to Lifeline Children’s Services, Inc.:
- Application Fee (due with application): $250.00
- Home Study Payment 1 (due at first home study visit): $875.00 ($500 for 2nd adoption)
- Home Study Payment 2 (due at last home study visit): $875.00 ($500 for 2nd adoption)
- Program Fee Payment 1 (due when Profile is submitted): $2500.00
- Program Fee Payment 2 (due when matched with a birthmother): $4,000.00
- Placement Fee (due at placement): $16,000.00
- Annual Home Study Update Fee: $350.00 per update (as needed)
*None of the above fees are refundable. The 2nd program fee is transferrable to another
birthmother match if the match does not result in placement.
In addition to Lifeline’s adoption fees, there are other fees that will be paid directly to each provider:
- State Police Clearance Letter: approx. $10.00 (varies by state)
- Criminal Background Check: approx. $50.00 per person (varies by state)
- Additional Background Check Fee: if matched with a birth mother in another state
- Medical Exam: made payable directly to health care provider
- Prepare/Enrich Relationship Assessment: $35.00 (per couple)
- Consultations: if additional consultations are needed, these fees are also payable directly to the provider.
- Travel and Lodging Expenses: for domestic training in Birmingham Alabama (if applicable)
- Travel and Lodging expenses: for ICPC (if applicable)
- Attorney’s Fee
- Court Costs
- Child’s Birth Certificate
Total Lifeline Adoption Fees: $24,500 ($23,500 for 2nd adoption) plus annual update fees and attorney fees.
Lifeline is a licensed, non-profit adoption ministry, dedicated to full-service help to both the adoptive couple and birth parents.
The actual cost to Lifeline to accomplish each adoption is approximately $30,000.00. While we rely on private donations to support the shortfall, there are adoption related expenses and bills that must be paid and that is what we charge the families. The adoptive couple’s ability to pay the agency fees, along with the availability of the income tax credit are factors to be considered in every fee decision. While the above is an estimated cost, there are circumstances where the fee could differ.
We realize that the unfortunate thing about domestic adoption is that many people see it as a lucrative business, but we try to see it as a ministry to the family, the child, and ultimately the birthmother.
Any couple experiencing significant financial difficulties should ask their social worker about filing an application to be reviewed by the board setting forth the reasons for fee considerations. This should be done, reviewed and dealt with prior to selection for a particular placement. It is the couple’s responsibility to raise this issue early and get a resolution in writing. It is also required that the couple apply to Show Hope, ABBA Fund and Life Song for Orphans prior to requesting a fee reduction from Lifeline. It should be noted these and other grant resources require a copy of an approved home study. Therefore, the question of whether or not a fee reduction will be granted by Lifeline cannot be answered until the home study is complete and until grant resources respond to the request for funds. Couples should consult with their social worker about this process.
When considering Lifeline fees, please remember:
- Some agencies only project their agency fee, which does not include birth parent expenses, hospital and medical fees, etc. Many agencies require a $10,000.00 to $15,000.00 deposit to begin the process, where Lifeline only charges minimal fees before an actual placement is made. A fee of $250 is submitted with the application to adopt. A home study fee of $1,750 is paid in two installments: $875 due at the first home study visit, and $875 due at the third home study visit. This home study fee is credited to the final placement fee.
- The $24,500 adoption fee is comprised of the following payments: A fee of $250 is submitted with the application to adopt. A home study fee of $1,750 is paid in two installments: $875 due at the first home study visit and $875 due at the last home study visit (for a second Lifeline adoption these fees are discounted to $500 each, for a total of $1,000 for the home study fee). There is an additional charge of $350 annually for home study updates. The first program fee is $2,500 and is due at profile submission. The second program fee is $4,000 and is due when matched with a birthmother. This fee is transferrable to another birthmother match if the placement does not take place. The placement fee of $16,000 is due at placement.
- Most agencies charge $10,000.00 to $15,000.00 for expenses that can be lost in the case of a failed adoption. In contrast, the large placement fees that reflect the majority of the adoption expenses are charged when a successful adoption occurs. Lifeline minimizes upfront costs and allows most fees to be transferred to other birthmother matches until an adoption takes place. Lifeline couples are never financially involved in the cases that do not result in a placement.
- Effective 1998, a federal adoption tax credit became available to reimburse adoption expenses. The adoption tax credit was made permanent in 2012. For additional information, click HERE to read an article written by Lifeline’s Executive Director, Herbie Newell. Please consult your CPA regarding the current status of the adoption tax credit and whether your family qualifies.
- There will be additional expenses incurred by the family and paid to outside parties (including final legal and court costs), related to filing the adoption petition, obtaining a final decree of adoption, birth certificates, etc.
- A family’s concern over a fee or their ability to pay a full fee should never be a reason for not applying to Lifeline. Questions regarding fees or other policies can be addressed to a couple’s social worker.