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Payments by Adoptive or Proposed Adoptive Parents
Wisconsin statutes set three different sets of standards regarding payment by adoptive parents or prospective adoptive parents related to completing an adoption. Allowable payments vary according to the type of adoption. Felony provisions apply to payments outside of allowable standards for most adoptions.
Three Types of Standards:
|Agency and Independent Adoptions||Relative and International Guardianship Adoptions||International Adoptions Abroad|
- Agency and Independent Adoptions
One standard applies when the adoption occurs as an agency placement or an independent adoption. The following are allowable payments, according to s.48.913(1)(a) to (m) , Wis. Stats., when made by prospective adoptive parents prior to a termination of parental rights or by adoptive parents after the adoption is finalized:
- Preadoptive counseling for a birth parent of the child or an alleged or presumed father of the child.
- Post adoptive counseling for a birth parent of the child or an alleged or presumed father of the child.
- Maternity clothes for the child's birth mother, not to exceed $300.
- Local transportation expenses of a birth parent of the child that are related to the pregnancy or adoption.
- Services provided by a licensed child welfare agency in connection with the adoption.
- Medical and hospital care received by the child's birth mother in connection with the pregnancy or birth of the child. Medical and hospital care does not include lost wages or living expenses.
- Medical and hospital care received for the child.
- Legal and other services received by a birth parent of the child, an alleged or presumed father of the child or the child in connection with the adoption.
- Living expenses of the child's birth mother, in an amount not to exceed $5,000.00, if payment of the expense by the proposed adoptive parents or a person acting on their behalf is necessary to protect the health and welfare of the birth mother or the fetus.
- Any investigation ordered under s. 48.837(4)(c), Wis. Stats., according to a fee schedule established by the department based on ability to pay.
- If the adoption is completed, the cost of any care provided for the child under s. 48.837(4)(c), Wis. Stats. Typically this care is out-of-home care of the child after the parent petitions for a termination of parental rights until the court offers an adoptive placement in an identified adoption.
- Birthing classes.
- A gift to the child's birth mother from the proposed prospective adoptive parents, of no greater than $100.00 in value.
Except as allowed above, other payments by the prospective adoptive parents or a person acting on behalf of the proposed adoptive parents may be subject to the felony provisions described below.
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- Relative and International Guardianship Adoptions
The second standard applies to international adoptions under
s. 48.839, Wis. Stats., applies to adoptions by a person who is a relative of a child and the child is not in the guardianship of an agency. Relative means a parent, grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, first cousin, nephew, niece, uncle or aunt of the child by blood, marriage or adoption. International adoptions under s.48.839 749kb), Wis. Stats., occur when the prospective adoptive parents are named as guardian in a foreign court and when an adoption abroad is handled like a guardianship because the family has not met a federal immigration requirement that the adopting parents personally see the child prior to the adoption.
In these adoptions, no allowable expenses are stated. However, any payments made in these adoptions are not subject to the felony provisions below.
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- International Adoptions Abroad
The third standard applies to international adoptions where the adoptive parents adopts abroad after seeing the child in person.
No allowable expenses are stated except for the actual cost of legal services and other services rendered in connection with the adoption. Payments related to these adoptions abroad may be subject to felony provisions.
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Under standards I and III, any person who makes an unauthorized payment in order to receive a child for adoption is guilty of a Class D felony. A Class D felony occurs if a person, other than a licensed adoption agency, negotiates, solicits or arranges the placement of a child for adoption for anything of value. If a parent(s) places or agrees to place his/her child for adoption for anything exceeding the items specified under Standard I, they are subject to the Class D felony provisions. Class D felonies are punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 5 years, or both.
These provisions apply to all adoptions, except relative adoptions and adoptions from other countries where the adoptive parent is named as guardian in the foreign court.