While raising eight children here in Washington (five natural, three foster with legal guardianship), the financial barriers faced by families who wish to adopt children soon became apparent.
For a couple of years, I volunteered for a no fee adoption agency in Seattle, doing development. They were a very small operation. Many families were helped, but many couldn’t be due to limited resources. So two years ago, Liberty Adoption Advocates was founded: a charitable organization, corporation, and non-profit public charity providing financial assistance to adopting families. We have already paid the fees required to enable several low-income families to complete their families through adoption. We also advocate changes to Washington regulations that permit adoption agencies to charge excessive fees. Some agencies charge different fees based on the age and race of the children. We hope to create a law requiring a flat fee that cannot be arbitrarily changed by the agency.
Recently, I was given statistics from a Regional Director for the Department of Child and Family Services in King County. As of April 20, 2014, Washington State is legally responsible for financially supporting 10,207 children. Of those children, 1,564 are legally free–which means parental rights for their biological parents have been legally terminated—so those children can be adopted. The bottleneck is many families cannot afford attorney, court, or agency fees up front. The state can only help through reimbursement, and it usually takes a month or more after the court date before the family receives reimbursement. Each case averages $1,000-$1,500. Other issues– sibling groups with different fathers or births out of state– increase case complexity and attorney fees for time.
Every year, kids age out of the foster system. Frequently kids are moved because court fees are not in grasp of the foster parents or relatives caring for them. Please consider partnering with us, and helping us to give permanency to these children.
Note- Microsoft has a match grant program that we are a part of. We receive funding through this every year.
Jolie Wolcott / firstname.lastname@example.org
Founder and Executive Director
Liberty Adoption Advocates