Feedback on Fee Philosophy

By Michael Hill

Last month, I had an opportunity to conduct an Adoption STAR orientation in Manhattan for New York City area families that were looking to learn more about our agency. After the orientation was over, I had a family approach me to express how pleased they were to see that our agency fees are collected incrementally over time and that the timeframe for collection of these fees directly corresponds to what work is being done at that specific point in time in the adoption journey.

What this couple was alluding to is an interesting reality – some adoption agencies charge tens of thousands of dollars right at the start of linking with an adoption agency, before any of the adoption journey (and work) for the family has even begun!

It was encouraging to hear that the couple realized and appreciated the fact that Adoption STAR doesn’t operate that way. How are we different? Well, when you register with our agency, you pay a registration fee. When you are about to embark on the home study process, you pay the home study fee. Prior to the assignment of a social worker to complete the required visits for the home study, you pay your domestic adoption program fee (for clients interested in domestic adoption). The next time any fees are slated for payment is at the time of match (when an adoptive family is matched with a expectant mother that’s looking to make an adoption plan for her child) and at the time of placement (when the child is placed with his/her adoptive parents).

Fast forward a few weeks, and I had a chance to talk with clients that had stopped into the agency to sign all the necessary paperwork before heading out to a hospital for placement of their newborn daughter. One half of this couple took me aside and said, “I really appreciate your model. The fact that you collect fees gradually, and that the single largest fee isn’t due until time of placement really makes sense.”

Two different couples on opposite ends of the adoption journey – one considering linking with our agency, the other on the way to the hospital to take their new daughter home – united in recognition and appreciation of the fee structure we utilize here at Adoption STAR.