First Union National Bank of Maryland has established an adoption financing program.

The program at the First Union Corp. affiliate will aid families in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., with the costs of adopting children. Those expenses can total between $10,000 and $30,000 per child, including legal, medical, and airfare costs.

Norman Hecht Jr., the executive who created the program, said borrowing money for adoption was "just as valid" as financing a boat or car.

"I have been financing adoptions for (a long time), but what's different is now a major financial institution is loaning to families for the sole purpose of adoption," said the 44-year-old Mr. Hecht, who with his wife, Leslee, adopted two South Korean children.

Under the new program, parents submit a personal financial statement and complete a loan application. A First Union adoption specialist looks at loan options which match the parents' financial situation, such as a home equity loan, unsecured loan, or line of credit.

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