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Costs of Adoptions

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Is Adopting a Child Expensive?

In most cases, adopting a child can be expensive. Whether you choose to adopt a child through an agency or independently, the adoption process can be very costly. The cost of private infant adoption varies widely from a low of about $15,000 to as much as $50,000.  There are also many other factors that determine how much it costs to adopt a child:

  • Whether you adopt the child through a domestic adoption agency, a domestic independent adoption agency, or you adopt the child through an international adoption care system.
  • Other expenses that can be factored in such as travel, living, legal documentation costs, medical requirements that is required to complete the adoption process
  • The type of adoption professional that you choose and how much they will charge you for their services

Does It Make a Difference Where I Adopt a Child From?

There is a difference where a prospective parent adopts their child since there are many different agencies that provide adoption services. The agencies can be private, domestic, international, or ran through the state or county. All of these agencies have different types of costs that are associated with the services provided. Here are the ranges of adoption costs associated with each agency:

  • Foster Care Agency:  $0-2,500
  • Private Adoption Agency: $5,000-$40,000
  • Independent Adoption Agency: $8,000-$40,000
  • Intercountry Adoption Agency: $7,000-$30,000

What Are The Costs Involved in an Agency Adoption?

An adoption agency will require you to cover the birthmother's expenses as permitted by state law. These expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Living expenses during the pregnancy
  • Counseling

In addition to the birth mother's expenses, private adoption agencies will charge a fee for use of their services. Some agencies charge a flat fee for adoptions; other agencies use a sliding scale that varies depending on the adoptive parents' financial income. In some circumstances, an agency will charge a lower rate for placing a child with special needs. As a general rule, however, you should be prepared to pay between $1,000 and $6,000 to adopt a young child, and at least $10,000 to adopt a newborn.

What Are The Costs Involved in an Agency Adoption?

An adoption agency will require you to cover the birthmother's expenses as permitted by state law. These expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Living expenses during pregnancy
  • Counseling
  • Investigative expenses such as performing state and local background screenings 

In addition to the birth mother's expenses, private adoption agencies will charge a fee for use of their services. Some agencies charge a flat fee for adoptions; other agencies use a sliding scale that varies depending on the adoptive parents' financial income. In some circumstances, an agency will charge a lower rate for placing a child with special needs. As a general rule, however, you should be prepared to pay between $1,000 and $6,000 to adopt a young child, and at least $10,000 to adopt a newborn.

How Expensive is a Private Adoption?

The costs for a private adoption vary widely, but generally adoptive parents cover the following expenses:

  • Costs of finding a birth mother
  • Costs related to pregnancy and birth
  • Legal costs associated with the adoption process

Some states require the adoptive parents to cover all of the birth mother’s living expenses during the pregnancy. These expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Phone bills
  • Travel expenses
  • Home study costs
  • Hospital bills
  • Attorneys fees and court costs

The total cost for a private adoption can often exceed $10,000.

What Is the Cost In Adopting From Foster Care?

While it can be expensive to adopt a child through a domestic or international adoption agency, adopting through a foster care agency can involve little expense. Families who want to adopt from a foster care agency typically work through local state child welfare agencies and private agencies under contract with their state or county. The level of expense incurred in the adoption process through foster care is often lower than working with a private adoption agency.
In addition, adopting a child from a foster care agency has a significant positive impact on the life of the child.

Do I Need an Adoption Lawyer?

Because of the complexity of the adoption process, it may be wise to consult with an experienced family lawyer. Speaking with a family attorney will help you understand your rights and obligations as well as preserve any possible remedies you may have.

Photo of page author Kourosh Akhbari

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 01-20-2017 11:03 AM PST

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