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Cost of Adoption at All-Time High: Help for WV Families

August 11, 2010

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - Adopting a child can now cost $40,000 or more, with rules that vary from state to state and country to country. Lacking federal standards for adoption, West Virginia families can find themselves at the mercy of adoption agencies and attorneys to navigate the confusing process.

This year, international adoptions also have become more costly, with countries like Russia and Haiti requiring adoptive parents to make multiple trips before they can bring their child home. When Becky Fawcett adopted her son, she says she was stunned by the cost.

"There's a big difference between not having the money to raise a child and not having the 30, 40, 50,000 dollars sitting in a savings account to adopt a child."

That realization prompted Becky and her husband to start www.helpusadopt.org, a nonprofit group that offers grants to families and individuals around the country who want to adopt. Since 2007, the organization has awarded grants for 35 adoptions.

Kelly Scherrer and her husband received a grant late last year and adopted their son. The couple chose adoption after their first child was born with a genetic disorder and died nine days later.

"It was a great encouragement to us, this agency was willing to help us, help us out. We'd applied for a few different grants and had been turned down for lack of funds, and we'd just kind-of given up hope."

Earlier this year, the government extended the adoption tax credit until December 2011. Adoption advocates would like to see the tax credit made a permanent part of the tax code.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV