Monday, July 20, 2015

Private Placement Adoption FAQs

Private Placement Adoption FAQs

Are there many children who need adoptive homes?
In 2010, there were 52,981 children adopted from foster care and in FY 2014, 6,441from overseas. Domestic infant adoption statistics were not available.  However, we know that direct parental placement adoption is popular with birth parents.
How long does it take to adopt?
According to a 2012-2013 reader survey by Adoptive Families magazine, 66% of families who adopted in the U.S. received a referral less than one year after they completed their paperwork.
What are the benefits of private adoption?
A large benefit is that you are usually present for the birth of the child and begin to bond with the child in the hospital.  The baby is discharged directly to you instead of to interim caregivers as in an agency placement.  A simultaneous meeting in which you meet the birth mother and exchange information on the child is required for private adoption.  The information obtained in this face –to–face meeting can be very important as your child grows older.  This meeting may occur in an agency placement without exchange of identifying information.  Another benefit for adoptive parents who are “make it happen” type of people is that they locate the birth mother for themselves to achieve an adoptive placement rather than sitting on an agency waiting list.  Sometimes the adoptive families and birth parents stay in touch, which again can be very important to the child as they enter adolescence.  Finally, private adoption generally costs less than adopting through an agency.
Can I adopt if I'm over 40?
Yes, there are no age limits in a private adoption. Check with your adoption attorney to see if private adoption is available in your state.  It is available in Virginia.
Isn't it really expensive to adopt?
1.      It's true that adoption should be free, however, protecting your family's interests means that you have to hire professionals to help you comply with your state's adoption laws.
2.      There is help available. The federal Adoption Tax Credit provides up to $13,400 for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child in 2015. The credit is indexed for inflation and will increase annually. Eligible expenses include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging) and other expenses directly related to your adoption.
3.      There is an income limit for this credit.  See for the forms and additional information.
4.      Further, many large employers offer adoption assistance. Those payments may qualify for exclusion from your income for tax purposes in addition to the tax credit. You may exclude up to $13,400 from your income in 2015. So, for example, if your employer offers adoption assistance payments of $5,000 and your total adoption related expenses were $18,400, you could claim $13,400 as a tax credit AND exclude $5,000 from your income. However, if your total expenses were $13,400, you could not take the credit and the exclusion-the same expenses cannot be counted twice. The income limits for the tax credit also apply to the exclusion.
I've heard horror stories of birth parents "reclaiming" their children after several years-does that happen very often?
It's very rare. Adoption is governed by state law and if you and the birth parents work with licensed adoption professionals, your risk is small.
In Virginia, there is a "fall-through" rate of 1 to 2% after the child is born, and that usually happens in the first three days after birth. The "revocation period" or time which the birth parent has to "change their mind" after consenting to the adoption, varies by state as well. For a private adoption in Virginia, the birth parent's consent is irrevocable seven days after signing. If a birth parent places through an agency, consent is revocable once all three of the following have occurred: seven days have passed since the signing of the entrustment agreement, the child is ten days old, and the child is placed in the physical custody of adoptive parents. An adoption cannot be challenged for any reason 6 months after a Final Order of Adoption is granted by a Circuit Court in the Commonwealth.
What are the next steps if I want to pursue a Private Adoption?

First, have a home study by a reputable licensed agency in your state.  Then, create an adoption profile book.  You agency will provide guidance on the how to do this and also see our blog post  Distribute your profile to adoption attorneys in you state and any other state where you have connections.  For a list of adoption attorneys go to  Let people in your circles know you are interested in who can assist you because word of mouth is the most successful way to locate a birth mother.  Some adoptive parents also post their profiles on

Drafted by Bernadette Miller, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.
This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this blog are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2015.

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