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Living Expenses questions

I’ve been looking at some situations with attorneys (FL and CA attorneys) where the living expenses for EM is about $15,000.  Is that way too risky and high?  Is there any way to set up to make it less risky?

Also, should I be going by my state laws or the EM’s state laws as far as living expense payments and other issues?


I am in MA and adopted from OH.  I used the laws of OH for expenses.  There are some agencies (like American Adoptions) and some private groups that offer reimbursement in the case that a birth mother decides to parent or places elsewhere.  You might consider that option.  Otherwise, in general, you should only agree to spend as much as you are willing and able to lose.  There is no guarantee that the placement will occur, and these expenses are not reimbursable in most states.

Posted by Kate on May 09, 2018 at 5:51pm

I believe it is the EM state. Also, look into the tax credit and see if that will help. I seem to recall you get up to 12k for each adoption situation, completed or not, but I know the tax credit laws have changed etc.

Posted by Bella228 on May 09, 2018 at 5:54pm

First, I highly recommend going with an ethical agency as opposed to responding to situations online. I truly wish we had.

Second, you need to ask an attorney which rules you have to follow. It’s not always her state or always your state and it could be both.

Third, how much can you afford to lose and never get back? Because expectant mother expenses are not refunded to you. This is another reason I urge you to go with an agency that has an expectant mother expenses fund. All HAPs pay a certain amount into that fund instead of subsidizing a particular woman.

We said we could pay up to $3000 in expectant mother expenses. We knew we couldn’t afford any more than that.

Bella228: The tax credit is a credit against taxes owed, not a refundable credit. You don’t just get $13K back on your taxes. Also, you have to wait until the year the adoption is finalized or two years after the adoption expenses were paid to claim them.

Posted by rredhead on May 09, 2018 at 6:07pm

Thanks for your help.  I also posted another thread asking about facilitators and if Lil Snee was one.  She said she spoke with an attorney who said that I would go by the EM’s state regarding laws, since its in their jurisdiction.  So basically she is saying that I can use a facilitator if the EM’s state allows it.  Anyone have any idea if thats true? 

We did actually just sign up with an ethical NJ agency, they are just so slow moving to get our profile up on their website.. so I was trying to be proactive and look at online situations in the meantime, since I dont know how long it will take to actually match with the agency.

Posted by Emiluke on May 09, 2018 at 8:38pm

I believe it’s according to the birth mom’s state. We used a facilitator in CA and she could only present us to expected mom’s in States where facilitators are allowed.

As for birth mom expenses, we spent around $5,000 which was our limit. We said we luck not afford any more than that nor would we feel comfortable spending more than that. We also got an itemized bill to show WHERE the money was going and our social worker actually saw the bills.

Posted by KChiarilli on May 10, 2018 at 2:28am

In Florida expectant mother expenses are capped at $5000;  the attorney has to petition the judge to allow expenses to exceed that amount (which they can do).

I would agree with others who say you should not spend more on expenses than you can afford to lose.  We lost money with a failed match, and almost immediately matched with our oldest’s birth parents.  I was so convinced the match would fall through again that I wasn’t worried about the money… and then we suddenly needed it at placement.  We were able to make it work, I am not complaining, but it was a tough time.

Posted by jszmom on May 11, 2018 at 6:09pm

I was also wondering,  is it normal to pay living expenses from the time before you were matched?  For example, if the EM is matched wih you at 6 months pregnant, can you be asked to pay her living expenses from the prior six months, or should you only pay for living expenses for the months after the match?

Posted by Emiluke on May 14, 2018 at 7:35pm

We adopted from Florida, and the expenses are capped at a set amount, up to 6 weeks postpartum.  We had a long match with our 3rd adoption (half-sibling of our second child), so attorney did petition court to go over that cap.  The expenses were limited to actual living expenses (housing, groceries) and cell phone, and it went through the attorney.  I don’t recall that we retroactively paid stuff from before the match.  I would be careful, the law is pretty clear, and it could be interpreted as coercion if you go beyond reasonable living expenses.

Posted by jszmom on May 15, 2018 at 6:16pm

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