Adoption Cost in Pennsylvania

If adoption is something that you are considering in Pennsylvania you will most certainly have questions, and one of the biggest will most likely be cost. Adoption can be expensive in every state depending on what avenue you have decided to take. There can be a significant costs associated with adopting a child, especially if you go down the private adoption path. From agency fees, lawyer fees, travel, etc. these can all add up to large amounts. However, adopting a child through the foster care system in Pennsylvania can have little to sometimes no costs attached to process. The state will usually take care of almost everything. If adoption is something that you are serious about, you will have to decide what direction is best for you and your family. Below we have outlined information on adoption costs in the state of Pennsylvania. For more information please call Adoption Network Law Center and one of our qualified adoption specialists will help in any way we can.

Private/Agency Adoption

A private domestic adoption might be the right option for you. A trusted adoption entity will lead you in the adoption process by offering support and guidance throughout. Spending time doing quality research on different entities will help you filter through and find the right one for you. A good, licensed, trusted professional will help create the right atmosphere ending in a successful adoption which is the ultimate goal.

A private, domestic adoption comes with significant expenses, but please do not let that deter you if you feel that this is how you want to grow your family. Taking the appropriate first steps and creating a financial budget will help you to see where your money is going and exactly what costs are involved. Adopting parents can expect to pay $30,000 to $50,000 for agency or professional related expenses. These expenses may include:

  • Pennsylvania Professional adoption service fees
  • Pennsylvania Home study fees
  • Birth Mother expenses – as allowed by laws of the state she resides in
  • Travel expenses
  • Court costs
  • Child abuse/FBI clearance fees
  • Home meetings for pre-placement – usually charged as part of the home study.
  • Possible fees for travel to the birth mother’s location
  • Post-placement reports which are required by law

Adoption costs will vary as the process will be a little different in each situation. As we mention often, research is imperative and doing your due diligence will help you to understand the important aspects of the financial adoption journey as well.

Public Adoption

Another adoption possibility to consider is the Pennsylvania foster care system. There are many foster children waiting for forever homes in every state, including Pennsylvania. Anyone who has the desire and capacity to love and care for a child can adopt through the foster care system. A good place to start is the Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption & Permanency Network or SWAN. Public adoption expenses such as lawyer and court document fees, pre-adoption fees, home studies and placement costs and finalization hearings are largely subsidized by SWAN. If public adoption is something that you are interested in, take some time to research your options and the fees that may be associated with it. Familiarize yourself with the Pennsylvania Adoption Laws. Figure out what it is that you are looking for in the adoption process and get your questions answered. Knowledge and insight into the process will only help you to understand what it is you may want. Adopting a child through the Pennsylvania foster care system just might be the best decision you ever make!

International (Inter-country) Adoptions

International adoptions do not change much in Pennsylvania or state to state but can have significant differences depending on the country the child comes from. This depends largely on each of the laws and regulations for adoptions. We will break down the average cost of what an international adoption might look like across the board, but know that it will vary case by case depending on each country’s particular adoption process. As you begin your personal journey to adopt a child from another country you will need to have an overall idea of what it will cost. Once you know cost-wise what you will be looking at, you can figure out how to pay for your particular process. You will need to find the specific country that you are interested in and begin to sift through the adoption laws, rules and regulations. It might be a good idea to work with an adoption agency and/or and international adoption attorney as they will be up to date on government adoption laws and procedures for the different international region.

Average cost of an international adoption may be somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 to $40,000. This will vary depending on the agency or adoption professional you choose to work with as well as the specific country you are adopting from. Fees may include -

  • Applications – you must apply with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to be able to bring a child into the United States.
  • Adoption program fees - such as pre-adoption education and training, finding available children, matching them with a family, communication with adoption authorities etc.
  • Home study services – a home study will be need to be completed for an international adoption and is similar to a domestic adoption
  • Documentation and authentication Fees – You will need to present specific official documents for an inter-country adoption as well as obtain a visa, passport and birth certificate for the child.
  • Travel – You may have to travel to the country you are adopting from (possibly several times) depending on their requirements.
  • Legal – In most cases there will be legal steps to be taken in the country you are adopting from as well as filling out the appropriate documents once you return to the United States. You will want to make sure that you work with a well versed agency or attorney to help you through the legal process of an international adoption.

Attorney or Legal Fees

If you are interested in pursuing or have already started the process of adopting a child in the state of Pennsylvania, you might want to consider working with a well informed adoption attorney who knows the ins and outs of a successful adoption. They will help you in all aspects of the adoption process. Including advising you on the types of adoptions permitted in Pennsylvania, helping to choose the best kind of adoption plan for you and your family, and help you put together an adoption plan to make your journey as stress free as possible. The cost for adoption-related court document preparation including finalization paperwork can be anywhere between $500 to $2,000 and the cost for legal representation may range from $2,500 up to $12,000 depending on the services provided. To locate and research the best attorney for you please visit here.

Birth Mother Expenses

In a private domestic adoption, adopting parents and birth mothers will put together an adoption plan. Within the adoption plan, birth mother expenses will be addressed. Birth mother expenses are costs associated with the pregnancy of a woman who has made the decision to find an adoptive family for her baby. These costs vary, and each state has different rules defining what is allowed and what is not. Pennsylvania law permits that if the adoption is to finalize pursuant to Pennsylvania law that prospective adoptive parents may pay the birth mother’s medical and counseling expenses. If the birth mother is in a different state, then the laws of the state the birth mother lives in will apply. In Pennsylvania, adopting parents may consider paying for the following for expenses related to an out of state birth mother’s pregnancy:

Pregnancy related medical and hospital costs
Counseling expenses
Housing related expenses – i.e. Rent/mortgage
Utility costs
Travel costs – i.e. Transportation to and from doctor visits or hospital stays
Maternity clothes
Attorney and Legal fees

Home Study Costs

No matter the type of adoption you have chosen, you will be required to undergo and pass a home study. This is mandatory in Pennsylvania just as it is in every state or country from which you may be looking to adopt. The cost for the home study is generally paid for by the adopting parents and will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 to $3,000. For foster care adoption, there is usually no cost to conduct the home study, however the prospective parents might be responsible for medical or psychological evaluations that could be part of the process.

For more information or to talk with one of our adoption specialist please call Adoption Network Law Center. We are here to help in any way we can!