It is critically important to make sure that you comply with relevant state law when considering (and especially, when paying) expenses involved with an adoption. These laws are designed to ensure that a birth parent’s decision to place a child is an informed and voluntary choice, free from undue financial influence.
Each state has its own laws governing what expenses adoptive parents are permitted to pay in connection with an adoption. These laws vary widely from state to state. Typical permitted expenses include the following: state-licensed adoption agency fees, legal fees and court costs, and medical expenses. Adoptive parents may also be allowed to pay for birth mother travel expenses, necessary and reasonable birth mother living expenses, maternity clothes, and a small gift for the birth mother. Keep in mind that these expenses may only be permitted up to a certain dollar amount. Violating state law on permitted expenses can jeopardize the adoption or even constitute a crime.
The best way to stay on the right side of these laws is to have such payments go through an adoption agency or your adoption attorney. You should discuss anticipated expenses with your adoption attorney to make sure they are permitted by law. Keep meticulous records of every penny paid, when, to whom, and for what purpose.
If you are involved in an interstate adoption, the laws of two states will potentially govern what you can pay in adoption-related expenses. Make sure that you discuss these issues with your adoption attorney so that you understand what is permitted, before you make any expenditures.