How to Adopt a Baby or Older Child for Free or Receive Reimbursement

By Esperance Barretto
You can adopt special needs children in foster care homes for free.
You can adopt special needs children in foster care homes for free.

If you adopt children from the U.S. foster care system, including special needs babies, an older child or siblings, your adoption costs will be reimbursed. Compared to private adoptions where you have to pay adoption fees, your local department of human services reimburses the adoption and medical expenses of your foster child until he turns 18 years old. Once you decide to adopt a child from a foster care home, you should complete a home study, understand adoptive assistance and apply for a match.

Adopt Foster Care Children

You are entitled to receive pre-or post-placement federal or state aid when you adopt children from a foster care home, according to "Adoptive Families" magazine. Because of the unique physical or emotional needs of these children and the challenges involved in caring for them, you gain access to numerous incentives. The government also reimburses your adoption expenses, including travel and legal costs. However, you should be aware of the physical and psychological challenges involved in adopting children from foster care homes.

Request a Home Study

Contact a state-operated adoption agency to participate in a home study that will educate, prepare and evaluate you on the advantages and disadvantages of adoption through the foster care system. It will also help your state-licensed social worker identify an appropriate adoptive child match for you. The average duration of the home study ranges from three to six months and is valid for one year from the date it is approved.

Understand Adoption Assistance

Contact the North American Council on Adoptable Children for specific information on adoption assistance. The NACAC can provide you with the adoption assistance or subsidy rate applicable to your state, as the eligibility criteria vary in each state. Depending upon your adoptive child’s developmental, psychological and physical needs, your state may approve a monthly subsidy that covers his medical aid, counseling, day care and tuition. You should use licensed and non-profit adoption agencies instead of attorneys to place your adoptive child to avoid risking the loss of your child’s adoption assistance.

Apply for an Adoptive Match

While you can wait for your adoption agency to find a child for you, you can also proactively find a child on your own. You can access potential matches by subscribing to your state’s adoption photo book and referring to online resources that provide a photo database of children available for adoption. Reinforce your adoptive match search efforts by attending matching parties that are sponsored by adoption agencies, and review the "waiting child" columns of your local and regional newspapers.