Can I Pay Expectant Mother/Birthmother Expenses?

Q&A with the Experts

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Can I Pay Expectant Mother/Birthmother Expenses?Q: Can prospective adoptive parents help support an expectant mother who is considering placing her child with them?

A: According to Jim Thompson, an adoption attorney in South Carolina, like most adoption law questions, the answer depends on  state law.  Many states allow prospective adoptive parents to pay reasonable living expenses and pregnancy related costs on behalf of birth parents.  Some states are very specific about the type of expense that is allowable and the total expenses that may be paid.  Generally, these payments should be paid through the attorney or agency handling the adoption and should not be paid directly to the birth parent, but should be paid instead to the provider of the service.   Another word of caution:  when a birth parent and a prospective adopting parent live in different states, one must be mindful of both state laws when it comes to living expenses.  One should never make the first payment for living expenses until both state laws are evaluated by an experienced adoption professional.

For more information on this topic, listen to the Creating a Family radio show: “Using an Adoption Consultant, Facilitator or Attorney.

Image credit: Muus Creation

02/02/2015 | by Q&A with the Experts | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Q&A with the Experts | 1 Comments



One Response to Can I Pay Expectant Mother/Birthmother Expenses?

  1. marilynn says:

    I think we need to do a better job of enforcing the laws on the books already and possibly institute new laws geared toward preventing child trafficking. There are a lot of little weasel words and loopholes currently used that attempt to ensure or raise the chances of people being able to get and keep custody of other people’s offspring. Out of respect for the human rights of minors we need to be looking deeply into the financial records of parents who are giving up their offspring and deep into the records of individuals who wish to adopt those people’s children. And we should probably keep looking into their financial records over the first couple of years after the adoption to make sure they don’t receive any goods or services in the future.

    This post is about money. The IRS views money received as income unless its a lone. They view gifts as income. I know from personal experience that government agencies evaluating income for the purpose of child support look at a father whose rent is paid by his mother for instance they count the rent she pays as his income if even if she pays it directly to the landlord and not to him. This of course is intended to prove that since he’s not paying rent he has more income available to support his child than appears on his pay stub so they’ll increase his income in the amount of the rent. And yes if the IRS catches wind of that they’ll want to tax him on it unless they can prove it’s a loan. All this boring stuff about taxes and child support law is important because it illustrates a point that people overlook – ultimately paying someone’s expenses for them is the same as paying them to do a job for you. You can say that you are doing it just to be nice but then in all honesty would you be doing it if the parents said flat out they were poor but had no interest at all in giving up their offspring for adoption when born? If the answer is yes then great – we should be making sure that the people paying the expenses won’t be allowed to adopt any children from those expectant parents they helped. If they ever give their kid up for adoption it would have to be to someone who had not paid their expenses in order to prevent children from being sold by their bio parents.

    I can see where even if those laws were instituted a middle man agency could set up some kind of co-op where hopeful adoptive parents would be guaranteed a child if they paid expenses for expectant parents but the child they’d get would have to come from a set of parents who’d been supported by a different member of the co-op. We really owe it to adopted people to go deep and make facilitating brokering and arranging methods to circumvent laws that were intended to protect minors from being traded or sold or given like gifts. There will always be abandoned and relinquished minors in the world and that is very sad we should never want people to do anything to encourage that trying to improve their chances of getting and keeping a kid because that is not done to serve the kid.

    Poor women who are pregnant receive medical care for free they also receive groceries and they qualify for welfare payments and things like section 8 housing. Once the baby is born the father then has financial obligations to the child. We need to be talking about what it is exactly that these people are paying for and we need to look at whether or not she’s disclosing it as income on her taxes and whether they are disclosing where the money is going. This is not a $25 check that nobody cares about it’s often maternity clothes and a phone and phone bills paid, cable, utilities, possibly a car and a gas card and 8 months of rent at $2000 a month for a dump in San Francisco is $16,000. These type of pregnancy expenses paid directly to service providers could easily add up to $20K in undeclared income – it’s hidden because it was not paid directly to her it conceals what’s actually happening and they are paying the money believing she and her partner will give the kid up at birth. Adoption support boards are filled with stories of parents who changed their minds when the kid was born and the people who paid their expenses for half a year are pissed off about it but they stop short of saying that they should have to get the kid because of the money they spent. Truth is those parents might be able to keep their kid because they did not have to pay bills or rent for the better part of a year and now they got the help they needed to keep their kid.

    Best course of action might be to only offer to adopt children who are already available for adoption where the opportunity to be caught in that ethical trap is long gone.

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