The first expense related to adoption is the fees associated with becoming eligible to adopt a child. The majority of the answers to the question, “Why is adoption so expensive?” will be answered with this eligibility process. To become eligible to adopt, most prospective adoptive parents will need to hire an adoption agency or adoption attorney to guide them through the adoption process. To begin the journey with one of these adoption professionals, many will require some sort of retainer or application fee. This fee can vary tremendously, but as an example, one attorney quoted a $700 retainer fee upfront to be hired for an adoption process. One of the agencies my husband and I looked into required a $300 application fee to being the process with their adoption agency.
When an adoption is handled by an adoption agency, the agency will typically include all adoption process fees in their fee schedule. They will also likely have their own team of attorneys or have certain attorneys contracted to handle much of the legal proceedings of adoption. The adoption agency will also likely provide its own representation for the expectant mother and work with her on the adoption proceedings. However, some adoption agencies do not provide unbiased representation for the expectant mother. If this is the case or when working with an adoption attorney, it is often advisable and often required for the prospective adoptive family to hire outside legal counsel for the expectant mother. This is done to ensure that the expectant mother is informed of her rights in adoption and also allows for a more ethical adoption process. The fees for outside legal counsel for an expectant mother can vary greatly and can easily top $5,000.

The question of “Why is adoption so expensive?” is simply answered with the knowledge that it takes many people and many processes to complete an adoption journey. The use of adoption professionals is crucial to ensure that an adoption is both legal and ethical. These services will cost in order to be sure that the best care is taken in the adoption process. As adoption laws are ever-changing and different adoption processes have different regulations, the costs of an adoption can vary greatly. These costs are many professional services combined that allow for adoption to protect all parties involved and to complete the due diligence needed to make the adoption as efficient as possible. Luckily, there are many ways to not only afford adoption, but also to recoup some of the fees through the adoption tax credit. The adoption tax credit is not a refund but will offset the tax obligation of adoptive parents. To find out more about the cost of adoption and ways to afford adoption even for those with limited income, you can read more at this link.


11. Before even beginning the process, know this: You are in this for the long haul. If your child develops in a way you did not expect, you are still their parent.  Do not assume that you can do anything with your child through adoption that you would not/could not do with a child from birth.  Yes.  Adoption can be difficult.  As I mentioned, there are always scars.  Often times those scars can cause behaviors and emotions that are incredibly challenging.  You need to know that before you sign on the dotted line.  If you would not “return” a child born to you with a severe disability, don’t expect to “return” a child from adoption who is emotionally scarred.  If your child needs a level of support that you cannot provide by yourself, it is your job to find the necessary resources AND continue to support the child as a parent should.

This home study costs money to maintain, as well. If there are any major life changes — a change to your living situation or employment, for instance — the home study has to be updated, which also costs money. It also has to be updated periodically (typically every 12 months, but the exact timeline depends on the state, until you get a child or decide to let it expire) in order to remain current. This, again, costs money — as much as $1,000 each time.

Documentation is required for each step of the adoption process. These documents make up the dossier that most international programs require, including proof of eligibility. Each document is processed locally, then by the agency, state and federal government, and finally by the international government of the child’s country of origin. Many adoption agencies require the documents to be sealed and notarized, which authenticates the application and dossier. If a family decides to adopt internationally, they will also have to submit paperwork to the USCIS (U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services) in order to receive citizenship for their child. This element is vital to the adoption process but can also add thousands of dollars to the overall cost.


Long-haired or short-haired. Long-haired cats are beautiful, but they require a lot of grooming and maintenance. If you don't have time to devote regularly to combing and detangling your kitty's coat, it's probably best to stick to a short-haired variety. Also, long-haired cats tend to have more, and larger hairballs from grooming. Just be prepared!

There are many options out there for covering adoption costs. Some people have worked a second job, made significant cuts in their spending, or saved for several years in order to finance an adoption. Others have taken out loans, borrowed against their 401K, or taken advantage of an employer’s adoption benefits. Adoption grants are out there, but there are far more applicants than funds available, so grants cannot be counted on for funding. Finally, some people do fundraise, though within the adoption community, this has a very mixed reception. And remember, as you will see, some forms of adoption cost less than others. If you qualify for adopting from foster care, and that is something that fits your family, then it can be an affordable adoption option.


Birth and Adoptive Parents are entitled to separate and impartial legal representation during the pregnancy and at the time of placement. Adoptive parents require legal counsel at the time of finalization of the adoption. If birth parents will be part of the finalization process, they will also be entitled to legal counsel. The adoptive parents typically pay for all legal costs, including court filing fees and serving notice, when needed.
The simplest answer is twofold. First of all, there are a boatload of professionals involved in the adoption of a child, and those professionals need to be paid. This is a big change from the early 20 century, when adoptions were often arranged more informally. In an interview with Romper, Katie Foley, Associate Director of Outreach for Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children, says, “In over 100 years, we've seen the professionals necessary to facilitate an adoption change as [the] practice has changed. For example, 100 years ago, a doctor might be the primary professional in making an adoption happen,” perhaps connecting a pregnant patient with an infertile one. But in 2016, all that has changed.
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