People: A Cause to Adopt

In 2007, Philly natives Becky and Kipp Fawcett started the nonprofit The five-year journey that led them there, and to their son Jake, has them fighting to change the face of adoption

SHE’S RIGHT. ON average, a private adoption — in which the birth mother chooses the adoptive parent or couple during her pregnancy and hands over parental rights when the child is born — averages around $25,000, and can easily hit $35,000 or more. Though the government attempts to soften the blow with a $10,000-plus tax credit for each adopted child, depending on household income, that still leaves a large chunk unaccounted for.
Certainly, not every adoption costs that much. Adopt one of the 129,000 children nationally who are currently awaiting adoption in foster care, hoping for a permanent home, and the price drops dramatically. The child’s age, however, tends to increase: Most of these children are eight or older. And, sadly, all have also been abused or neglected. For Becky and others, that isn’t an option. “My whole life, I thought I would grow up and have a child,” Becky says. “I needed to have a baby. And I realized [with a private adoption] there was a chance I could be in the delivery room. I wanted that experience.”
Which is why half of all adoptions are made through a private attorney or private adoption agency. What isn’t known is how many dreams of adoption are dashed by the high cost. “The people for whom the cost of adoption is a deterrent are largely invisible,” says Gloria Hochman, director of communications for the National Adoption Center. “Often it’s a private decision made by a couple or single person.”
Becky didn’t come to her resolve to try and help those people overnight. In fact, it’s the by-product of her and Kipp’s five-year-long struggle to have a child, and of a change in her own attitude about how families are created.