The average cost of adoption depends on several factors, such as the type of adoption, the adoption professional, and other unique details of your circumstances. Each of these factors can influence typical adoption costs. Generally, for families adopting a baby through a private agency, the average cost of adoption in the U.S. is around $70,000. While costs may vary on an individual basis, families usually spend in this range on the adoption process.
Additionally, hard work goes into a successful adoption. There are attorneys, physicians, courts, social workers, administrators, and advertisers involved in the adoption process. The average cost of adoption consists of several key categories, with each playing a vital role in a successful placement.
In most cases, a hopeful adoptive family will collaborate with an adoption agency. While there are different types of adoption agencies, each will have fees associated with the adoption services it provides. These fees go toward the foundational functions of an agency, such as staffing, office space, supplies, and more.
These fees will include things like screening and counseling for prospective birth mothers, general case management throughout the process, adoption education and support, and adoption advertising, which is how the agency works to find the right adoption opportunity for an adoptive family. Furthermore, each agency has different fees, and the way an agency structures its costs can affect the average cost of adopting a child with that professional.
These are typical adoption costs that can alter based on each adoption circumstance. Variable costs are mostly made up of expenses to support the prospective birth mother. These expenses are court-approved based on the adoption laws of the prospective birth mother’s state.
Several types of variable expenses could arise in an adoption:
- Legal: The adoption process is guided by laws and regulations. There is a hefty amount of paperwork and potential court appearances involved, and an adoption attorney is necessary to navigate it all. The legal costs of the adoption, which can differ from case to case, are included in the typical adoption costs;
- Medical: There are many medical expenses for the prospective birth mother and baby during the adoption process. In some scenarios, the bulk of these expenses can be covered by Medicaid or other insurance. However, the remainder of the bill comes under the variable adoption costs that can impact the average cost of adoption in the U.S;
- Living: Living expenses help subsidize a prospective birth mother’s financial needs during pregnancy, if necessary and permitted under state law. This type of adoption expense can vary significantly from case to case, but it is something that all hopeful adoptive parents will have to account for.
Lastly, the variable adoption costs are the primary reason that most adoption agencies will quote adoptive families a range of average adoption costs rather than a fixed number for flexibility purposes. However, it is uncommon for any of these expenses to grow and cause the average cost of adoption to increase significantly from the initial estimate.
What Is the Average Cost to Adopt a Child with American Adoptions?
According to American Adoptions, the average cost of domestic adoption is in line with national averages. You can contact them to obtain the most up-to-date average cost of adoption within their program. They provide transparency with their costs upfront to any hopeful adoptive parents and on providing the best possible services in return. They are a fully licensed national adoption agency.
Furthermore, there are different fees and services associated with the four adoption types in the U.S. These include adoption from the public child welfare system, adoption from a private agency, independent adoption, and intercountry adoption. These types of adoptions are determined by various factors and circumstances. You can better understand the fees associated with the types of adoption by working closely with an adoption agency or adoption professional.
The agency, social worker, or another adoption specialist should provide you with detailed information, in writing, about the services available to you and the fees you will be charged during the adoption process. It is recommended to obtain an attorney to assist you with this life-changing decision and ensure that you are covered legally.
Private adoption service fees vary greatly. Adoptions conducted outside foster care vary depending on the agency and the individual adoption situation. Usually, they can range from $30,000 to $60,000. Prospective adoptive parents will pay fees for services such as the home study, court, and legal fees. The pre-adoption and post-adoption counseling for birth parents can also be covered under this.
Furthermore, the fees will pay for the parent’s medical and legal expenses, adoptive parent preparation, and training. Lastly, any social work services needed to match a child with a prospective family, interim care for a child, and post-placement supervision until the adoption is finalized.
Additionally, some agencies may adjust their fees based on family income. Families who have a relationship with the birth parent but need the agency to facilitate the adoption and provide counseling, home study, and or related services may pay adjusted fees. For adoptive parent expenses, some agencies include every birth parent match, regardless of whether the matches result in a placement. You can request a written description of what the agency’s fees do and do not cover. While the cost of the home study may be included in the one-time overall adoption fee, a home study can cost between $1,000 and $3,000.
Also, home studies expire, and the fees need to be renewed. Again, these costs can change and may not be included in adoptive parent preparation and training and post-placement assistance. It is important to note that all domestic adoptions, as well as some intercountry adoptions, must be finalized in a U.S. court.
The Child Welfare Organization published that court documentation fees can range from $500 to $2,000, while the costs for legal representation of adoptive parents can be as high as $4,500 (though they differ by state and court). Whether these expenses are included in the private agency’s fees differs with the state and the agency’s role in finalizing the adoption. Costs may also be impacted by what legal action the lawyer needs to take to terminate parental rights.
Moreover, an independent adoption outside the public child welfare system involves an attorney assisting prospective adoptive parents and expectant parents with the adoption process. Fees associated with adoption via an attorney may range from $25,000 to $45,000. This can consist of the home study, the birth mother’s medical expenses, and separate legal and court fees for representing both adoptive and birth parents.
Is there any Assistance available for covering adoption costs?
Adoption assistance exists to remove the financial and other barriers that may prevent a family from adopting from foster care and ensure that a child’s special needs are met until she legally becomes an adult, between the ages of 18 and 21. Adoption assistance can consist of medical assistance and monthly maintenance payments.
Furthermore, most children who are photo listed on the website are eligible for adoption assistance provided by the federal Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program. You can complete the form of a one-time payment, ongoing financial assistance, or both, in addition to Medicaid or other medical assistance.
Also, state adoption programs may provide financial assistance for children who are not covered by Title IV-E funds. Eligibility and amounts of assistance vary by state. Find information about financial assistance by state.
When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?
If you have questions regarding the cost of adopting a child, it is recommended that you contact a local adoption attorney to assist you with the process. Your attorney can provide you with valuable guidance to ensure you are meeting all of the requirements.