Why does adoption cost so much? How do some families adopt at no cost? Questions about the costs of adopting are often one of the first questions that hopeful Adopting Parents looking to adopt ask. With so many different types of adoption programs and different costs associated with the process, one family’s cost to adopt may be completely different from another’s. Every adoption is unique and the costs will vary, but it is important that you get an understanding of all the services involved and a range of what fees may look like.

Why Does Adoption Cost so Much infographic

Private US Newborn Adoption Costs

Private US newborn adoption costs often range from $35,000 to $50,000 and Adopting Parents must be prepared to pay for expenses such as:

  • Adoption professional service fees
  • Marketing/networking expenses to find a Birth Mother, if applicable
  • Home study fees
  • Child abuse/FBI clearance fees
  • Birth Mother expenses, as allowed by state law
  • Travel expenses
  • Court costs

Adoption Professional Service Fees

For private US newborn adoptions, adoption professional service fees vary widely because there are many different types of adoption professionals and different services that are provided.

When you are comparing costs of adoption professionals, make sure you understand what your adoption process will look like from beginning to end and get a detailed description of the services covered so that you can make an accurate comparison. For example: Is the adoption professional limited to working in a specific state or do they work nationwide? Does the adoption professional handle all of the marketing/networking efforts to find a Birth Mother or is that something you will be required to do partly/completely on your own? Is the adoption professional quoting only its service fees or are they including any and all 3rd party costs?

Birth Mother Expenses

Birth Mother expenses also widely vary depending on a specific Birth Mother’s needs and what is allowed by state law. Most Birth Mothers are in a situation where they will need some financial assistance from the Adopting Parents. In most states, Adopting Parents can expect to pay a Birth Mother’s reasonable medical, living, legal and counseling expenses.

Financial Protection

Adopting Parents pursuing private US newborn adoptions are warned of the possibilities of an adoption opportunity disrupting. This is a heartbreaking event and for Adopting Parents an adoption disruption can leave them in a situation where they have paid for a Birth Mother’s expenses and are now unable to complete the adoption. Financially, this can be further devastating if they now find themselves unable to move forward with another adoption opportunity because of their inability to pay for additional Birth Mother expenses.

Ask your adoption professional if they provide any type of financial protection in the event of an adoption disruption. Some national adoption agencies and entities are able to provide some type of financial protection in certain situations and this can make all the difference to a family trying to move forward with their adoption journey after a disruption.

US Foster Care Adoption Costs

For foster care adoptions in the US, Adopting Parents will have little or no out of pocket expenses. Typically, the children available for adoption through the foster care system are older children and the adoption is often funded by the state. Some Adopting Parents may hire a private agency to help them through the process but these costs are often reimbursed through federal or state programs after the finalization of the adoption.

Unlike with other types of adoption, Adopting Parents that adopt through foster care may also receive federal and/or state adoption assistance, which can include medical assistance and monthly maintenance payments. This assistance is made available to parents that adopt through foster care to ensure that finances do not prevent them from adopting and to ensure that a child’s special needs are met until they become legal adults.

International Adoption Costs

For international adoptions, costs can range from $35,000 to well over $50,000. The cost will vary based on the country that the Adopting Parents choose to adopt from and the Adopting Parents must be prepared to pay for expenses such as:

  • Adoption Service Provider fees
  • Home study fees
  • Immigration and visa fees
  • UCICS filing and fingerprinting fees
  • Medical examination fees
  • Travel expenses

For international adoptions, families must be prepared for significant costs related to travel and stay requirements. Depending on the country they are adopting from, families can be required to stay anywhere from a few days to several weeks as well as arrange for multiple visits prior to being cleared to adopt a child.

While many families are interested in international adoption, in recent years there have been revisions in adoption protocols which make it more difficult for Americans to adopt from other countries and has resulted in a lower number of international adoptions. In 2017, continuing on the downward trend, there were only 4,714 children adopted internationally.

Budgeting For Adoption Costs

Whatever path that Adopting Parents choose as the best route to grow their family, most will have to budget for their adoption costs. This can include:

  • Speaking to a tax professional about whether you qualify for a tax credit or adoption assistance programs
  • Researching different loan options
  • Investigating whether there are adoption grants that you qualify for
  • Looking at fundraising or crowd funding options