Act of Love is full-service infant adoption agency based in Sandy, UT and can perform other services in most areas in the U.S. Act of Love primarily facilitates standard placements (domestic, infant) but also does special needs placement (which may have reduced agency fees), and agency assist placement (helping match clients while they work with another agency or attorney). Other services include home studies, post-placement services, interstate compact services, legal services, counseling services, and outreach programs. The agency is not accredited to perform intercountry placement services but may provide adoption services for clients looking to place internationally if supervised by an internationally accredited agency.
- Eligibility & training
- Budget flexibility
In business since 1993, the agency has over two decades of experience with domestic adoptions of all levels of openness. Birthparents and adoptive parents can decide what works for them: no contact, meet in person, talk on the phone, Skype, send emails, share pictures on social media, send pictures and letters through the agency, etc.
In 2015, they placed with 60 families, and the wait time from approval to placement was 6 months. Act of Love employees can be available to support adoptive families if services are required outside of normal working hours.
Eligibility & Training
There is no strict age limit for prospective adoptive parents. Other criteria for adoptive parents include:
- Good physical health and normal life expectancy (although health issues don't always preclude applicants from parenting)
- Good mental health
- Married for at least one year if married (exceptions are considered case by case)
- Single parents are considered, but cannot be cohabiting with another person by Utah law
Home study minimum requirements must meet the standards of the state of Utah, Act of Love, and the state where the adoption is taking place.
Act of Love requires both adoption orientation classes and parenting classes for clients living in Utah. For out of state adoptions, families can obtain similar education through online training classes and reading materials offered through Adoption Learning Partners (cost per couple is around $130). Adoptive parents who have previously taken classes from other sources may be able to count those as adequate training with a certificate and approval from AOL. Adoptive parents must become certified in infant and child CPR. Families who haven't parented a child from infancy must also attend a basic infant care class through a hospital, community center, or high school. All adoptive parents will be subject to national and state background checks according to their state of residence.
Act of Love provides a full disclosure of all fees upfront, including which fees are refundable or transferrable within the agency. Beyond the base agency fee, adoptive families can either stick to a strict budget or be more flexible with costs depending on the situation. The two budget options are:
- With option one, the adoptive family can choose to be presented only with birth parent situations that match their budget parameters, not exceeding the amount designated. The family can set a maximum for agency fees and total birth parent expenses (minus medical expenses, which can be unpredictable).
- With option two, the adoptive family can opt to review all birth parent situations, regardless of projected expenses, and decide after that if a particular situation and expenses fit within their budget.
Though there is some flexibility available to families with a budget, the base agency fee is the same regardless. Standard placement in Utah is $22,975 and the cost goes up from there if clients live in a different state and/or need to pay extensive birth mother expenses and medical expenses. Most families pay between $25,000 and $45,000 total.
- Application fee: $700
- The base agency fee for standard placement: $22,975. This includes:
- Payment due following intake interview: $4,700
- Third before start matching process: $7,000
- Fourth payment (1/2 at match, ½ due 30 days before due date): $10,575
Not included in base fee (may not apply to all situations):
- Home study: $700
- Home study update $250
- Staff travel within Utah: actual costs and expenses
- Travel outside of Utah: $5,500
- Post adoption arrangement one-time coordination fee: $575
- Communication facilitation fee after that: $75/hour
The Bottom Line
It's hard to beat a wait time of 6 months, which was the agency's average wait time from approval to placement in 2015, so it's not surprising that they're laden with testimonials from satisfied families online. However, the base agency fee is steeper than average. Still, it's nice that clients can set a cap for their fees beyond that, which helps with affordability and planning in an otherwise unpredictable process.