Spence-Chapin facilitates international adoptions in families across the United States as well as domestic infant and special needs adoptions in the NYC metro area. With office locations in Manhattan, New Jersey, Long Island, and Brooklyn, the agency offers home study services to families living within 100 miles of New York City, including counties in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. They offer services beyond that radius for an additional travel fee. Most of the infants they place are of African-American or Latino backgrounds, reflecting the diversity of the area. They specialize in placing children with special needs.
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Rank Chart
Fees
Waiting Time
Our Score
#1
$20k-30k
2-3 Years
8.1
#2
$5k - 30k
Up to 2 years
8.1
#3
$26k - 50k
1-12 Months
7.9
#17
spence_chapin
~$33k
6 - 24 mnths
6.0

The Good

Fee Structure

Full-service domestic infant adoptions cost $33,300. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Application: $300 (due at application submission)
  • Home study & professional services fee: $5,000 (due upon acceptance into the program)
  • Pre-Adoption and matching services: $14,000 (due upon completion of home study)
  • Placement and post-placement fee: $14,000 (due within 30 days of the scheduled placement of a child with your family)

Adoptive parents who have already been matched with birth parents for the placement of an infant can choose between two packages:

  • Placement package without home study: $6,100
  • Adoption package with home study: $8,100

Domestic special needs adoptions do not require a placement fee but require a home study.

International adoption fees are as follows:

  • Bulgaria: $7,000 program fee + home study, immigration and other fees, and travel costs
  • Colombia: $9,000-12,000 + home study, immigration and other fees, and travel costs
  • South Africa: $4,000 + home study, immigration and other fees, and travel costs

The agency also offers individual services such as:

  • Domestic home study: $1,500
  • International home study: $2,500
  • Concurrent domestic and international home studies: $3,500
  • Adoptive parent counseling: $150/hour
  • Post Adoption Contact Agreement (PACA) counseling: $150/hour
Financing Options

Spence-Chapin helps make adoption affordable for families by not charging any professional service fees for international adoptions. Additionally, all clients have access to Your Adoption Finance Coach, which provides tools to create a customized financial plan to fund adoption. This includes on-demand webinars, templates to download and print, fundraising help, and email communication with finance coaches. Clients are also provided with an individual gift registry for donations towards adoption expenses. Families that use the system typically raise between $5000-$15,000 for adoptions.

Experience

Spence-Chapin celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008. They have been doing adoptions for over 108 years now and have placed 20,000 children in that time.

Education & Training

Spence-Chapin offers several educational events every month. These include informational meetings and webinars but also topic-specific classes, such as “10 Ways to Prepare for a Transracial Adoption” and “Adoption in your 40s and 50s.” The agency’s Modern Family Center offers workshops for kids and parents with mental health counseling, parent coaching, community education, and social events.

Finding Your Match

Spence-Chapin allows virtually all who “want to be parents” to adopt, including same-sex couples, single women, single men, married and unmarried couples with children, and couples transitioning out of fertility treatments. They do ask that those over the age of 50 consult with them before applying. Heterosexual couples and single women tend to have shorter wait times, and the international programs all have specific requirements that may be much narrower. But the agency is committed to advocate for individuals and couples who may take longer to find a match. Rarely does a person or family find they are without any options.

Most infants adopted in the domestic program are of African-American and Latino backgrounds. They often have risks and unknowns in their medical history (some have been exposed to cigarette smoke, drugs or alcohol). Families in this program must be open to adopting a child of either gender.

Adoption Process

For domestic placement, families generally wait 6 months-2 years after completing the home study. Infants are placed from newborn age until around 8 weeks. Usually it is the birth parents who select the adoptive family, after which a match meeting is held.

International adoption is different in that the focus is on school-age children, sibling groups, and children with special medical needs. Wait times vary. Spence-Chapin has programs open in Bulgaria, Colombia, and South Africa.
Post-Adoption Support

Spence-Chapin hosts events supporting adoptive families in their New York, NY office year-round, such as “Bagels & Blox,” where early childhood experts are available to answer questions—childcare provided! This is just one example, but their events calendar is full of cultural and educational events benefiting families post-adoption, as well as the general public.

The Bad

Adoption Types

The agency encourages and promotes only open adoptions, where adoptive and birth families are able to have ongoing contact with each other at their own discretion. This may include exchange of letters and photographs, emails, phone calls, or visits. They maintain that open adoptions benefit the adoptee, the birth family, and the adoptive family alike. Regardless, some families prefer a semi-open or closed adoption.

Fees Non-Refundable

Spence-Chapin makes it clear that all fees are expected when due and are non-refundable—regardless of a birth parent’s choice to parent, select another adoptive family, or choose another permanency plan.

The Bottom Line

Spence-Chapin is second to none in regards to inclusivity of adoptive individuals and couples, education and training, and post-adoption support. For families in the NYC metro area, these perks might make it seem like a no brainer to go with this agency. However, their fees are non-refundable in the event of a change in the birth parent’s adoption plan—which is not at all uncommon. If money is a concern, an agency with a low-risk refund or transfer policy is probably a better choice.

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