Jennifer S. Jones is a writer, performer, storyteller, and arts educator. In a small government office in China, Jennifer became an adoptive mother. She is passionate about the adoption community and talks about the ins and outs, ups and downs, joys and “Is this really us?!?” whenever she can. She writes about her experiences at www.letterstojack.com.
Adoption is expensive because the process to legally adopt a baby requires the involvement of attorneys, social workers, physicians, government administrators, adoption specialists, counselors and more. While the adoption journey is an emotional one for prospective birth mothers and adoptive families, the adoption process is a legal function. Adoptions completed by fully licensed agencies are held to high ethical standards, which can mean more paperwork and higher costs.
Most importantly, are you ready to give your adopted child endless amounts of unconditional love and support for a lifetime? While all families are not created equally, all children are and have similar wants and needs. You’re going to have too many blissful days to count, boatloads of infant/toddler/childhood/teen testing moments, and more than your share of life-got-in-the-way ups and downs to maneuver. Are you also ready to accept the great responsibilities of ensuring that you honor your adopted child’s past, culture, and questions and concerns that are sure to come up over the course of your lifetime together?
Attorneys are also necessary in second-parent adoptions, which are typically sought by stepparents and LGBT couples. Despite Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 granting marriage to same-sex couples, the parental rights of the non-biological or non-gestational parent are not always guaranteed, because states are not enforcing them uniformly. As attorney Andy Izenson puts it,

Anybody who wants to own a pet should adopt a dog from an animal shelter to save a life. But we've all seen those news of pets being treated poorly. There could be a number of reasons why that happens – not enough money, not enough time, or simply bad people. Sometimes, pet owners adopt a dog expecting different outcome, and then those dogs get returned, abandoned, given away or even abused.


There will also be other adoption-related costs while you are in country. You will need to pay for your child’s passport, visa, and visa physical. If you are traveling to China, you will also have the orphanage donation, which is often around $5,000. Additionally, other countries will have childcare fees. (On a second note, this article lays out the real costs of parents choosing to not pay the donation, which is exceedingly important to note.

This is an important question to ask yourself before you delve any further. Is adoption your first choice or is adoption your last option? Is being a parent to a child more important than that child having your DNA? Do you feel that you would love a child even if they’re not biologically related to you? Do you feel pressured by anyone? Family? Society?


8. You won't remember a time when your child didn't live with you. Being a parent is one of the most enriching experiences in life. And though the job is often all-consuming and demanding, it certainly can expand your capacity for love and fun in ways you never imagined. That's why most parents (adoptive or otherwise) can barely remember a time when their child wasn't with them -- and, for many parents, all the hard work it took to adopt fades into a distant memory.
An agency adoption is an adoption that occurs through a licensed child-placing agency. The agency will facilitate the adoption process and can possibly be advocating for the birth mother and the adoptive family. This is the type of adoption we utilized with the adoption of our son. Our social worker advocated for our son’s birth mom and prepared us for the adoption process. 

6. Your child may celebrate two special days. Often adoptive families celebrate not only their child's birthday but also the day he was adopted. (Sometimes this is called "Adoption Day," "Family Day," or "Gotcha Day.") Whether or not you choose to do something special for Adoption Day is up to you. But some families have a small celebration at home and perhaps look at pictures or a video from the day their child was adopted. Other families get together with their "travel group" (families with whom they traveled to the host country and who adopted on the same day), and have a larger celebration, honoring all their kids.
Once you've answered these questions, you can begin your research on which dog breeds would best meet the needs of your family. While doing this, you should also research shelter dogs and the hurdles that you may face by adopting one. I'm not trying to talk anyone out of adopting, but caring for a shelter dog for years to come is more than just a one-time save-a-life-and-forget-it thing. You need to be sure that you know what you're getting yourself into before you bring your new furry friend home.
Millions of children are orphaned every year (the number is so high and changes with such rapidity that it's hard for government organizations to even keep track). There are other options for adoption (like through foster care or the adoption of a family member) and each process yields a beautiful and unique family. It's important to all of us that these children find good homes. Their lives matter.
Adoption touches the lives of everyone involved and that could include your coworkers, friends, family, and even pets! If you have a spouse or partner, make sure that they are on the same page and have the same level of commitment as you. If you have other children, it is important to introduce the topic and consider their feelings towards a new addition.
One of the first questions asked when considering adoption is “How much does adoption cost?” Unfortunately there is no a simple answer. Every adoption is unique and fees vary based upon the type of adoption you choose to pursue. Public agencies also known as State agencies locate and prepare adoptive families to adopt children from foster care. These adoption matches are typically arranged by the agency and the placement committee and are based on the needs of the child and the ability of the family to meet the needs of the child or children. The cost of adoption through a public agency is usually minimal and are paid for through tax dollars.
When asked a question that feels too personal or improper, you have the right not to answer it -- particularly if it compromises your child's, the birth mother's, or your own privacy. But sometimes you can find a way to respond to a question that's in the best interest of your family and offers some important information about adoption. For instance, when asked "How much did you pay for your baby?" you can explain that the fees you paid your agency and/or orphanage (you don't have to disclose the amount) went toward the facilitation of your adoption and to the early care of your child. In a sense, they're similar to what a pregnant woman pays to her doctor and hospital, you can add.

 – Home Study Fee – Similar to the agency adoption, your agency will also charge a home study fee. These again, range from $2,000 to $4,000, depending on what program you are in and what agency you are using. In addition to the traditional home study requirements and paperwork, there may be additional items that need to be provided. Also, since international travel will be required both parents will need passports and/or Visas. This will be additional out of pocket costs that need to be paid. 
This publication provides an overview of State laws related to the rights of unmarried fathers and the methods by which a man may establish a legal parent-child relationship with his child. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutional protection of an unmarried father's parental rights when he has established a substantial relationship with his child. The circumstances in which a man may be presumed to be the father of a child, the use of putative fathers' registries, the use of genetic tests to establish parentage, and the right of rescission of paternity claims also are discussed. Summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included.
Anybody who wants to own a pet should adopt a dog from an animal shelter to save a life. But we've all seen those news of pets being treated poorly. There could be a number of reasons why that happens – not enough money, not enough time, or simply bad people. Sometimes, pet owners adopt a dog expecting different outcome, and then those dogs get returned, abandoned, given away or even abused.
For private domestic adoption, whether you work independently or with an agency, you can expect advertising fees. Advertising fees may include classified ads, video production, or the construction of a website. You may choose to do this independently or work with a consultant. Consultants cost more but may yield better results and quicker matches. There are legal fees for both the adoptive family and the birth mother (which the adoptive family usually cover), document authentication fees for the compilation of your home study, and required legal document filing. Birth mother fees may include medical expenses, living expenses, counseling, and prenatal and postnatal care. Once the child is born, there will be airline and hotel fees, which vary greatly depending on where the birth mother resides.

While some agencies have a different homestudy process for foster parents and adoptive parents, others have dual licensing, and will allow families to complete one homestudy approving them for both foster care and adoption, at no cost to the family. Post placement supervision can be provided by the same agency that supervises the foster care, and may also be free.
Keep in mind that the majority of cats fall under the category of common domestic house cat, all of which are mixed breed. This category includes cats with distinctive coat patterns like tabbies, tuxedos, calicoes, and tortoise shells, and also includes short-haired and long-haired varieties. The temperaments of these cats can vary wildly. Even two cats who appear identical on the outside can have vastly different personalities. One benefit of their diverse gene pool is that mixed-breed cats are less prone to genetic disorders common to pure breeds, says VCA Animal Hospitals.
As for your comments on adoption, yes it is expensive. And no there shouldn’t be a price on a human life. But as I’ve explained above, repeatedly, there are serious issues and honest reasons that require certain costs. The legal work involved in bringing a child into your family is no small thing. Someone has to do that work. Someone has to pay for it. Maybe our system is screwed up, and there are broken things about it, but that reality is true: things cost money and it has to come from somewhere.
There are several ways a hopeful adoptive family can be proactive in keeping the cost of adoption within their budget, and the most important may be finding the right adoption agency to work with. Adoption agencies structure fees and handle refunds in different ways. Finding an agency that is transparent and trustworthy with finances is important. 
Private domestic adoption costs vary from adoption to adoption and state to state. An agency fee ranges from $15,000 – 30,000. Additional costs for birth parent expenses (i.e. medical, rent, living expenses, phone, etc.) are set on a case-by-case basis. The adopting parent(s) pays for the Adoption Home Study and Post Placement Supervisory Visits, travel, as well as legal counsel for themselves and the birth parent(s). Private placement adoption costs are between $25,000 – 50,000.

The process tries to be very transparent so that it can’t be seen as a human trafficking endeavor. As I’ve tried to explain above (probably poorly), there’s a lot involved in taking the responsibility of another’s child. That’s a huge step, and it doesn’t seem you can take that step without great cost. That kind of value for the child being adopted makes this the complete opposite of a child-for-sale situation.
American Adoptions accepts a limited number of families into our gender-specific program. Please contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn whether we are currently accepting families into this program. With this option, families pay an additional Gender-Specific Fee to help our agency locate and work with birth mothers meeting this additional criterion. This fee is in addition to other program fees and covers additional advertising. The fee is not considered part of your adoption budget. Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.
With any kind of adoption, there is potential that the prospective adoptive parents and the child who is being adopted will need to travel, and this will also generate travel expenses through their adoption journey. For international adoption, these travel expenses can be substantial and may also involve multiple trips. Travel is one of the main reasons that international adoption can top $40,000 in many cases. Travel expenses will be needed to be provided for both the prospective adoptive parents and the child. The adoptive parents may also choose to travel with other family members, therefore, increasing these expenses.
It’s a fair question, and we’re here to help you find an answer. While the initial reaction to learning about the cost of adoption is understandable, a better understanding of what it takes to complete a successful adoption process makes clear why the cost exists. The adoption process can be long and complicated. In most cases, it takes a lot of moving parts and skilled professionals to complete. To understand why adoption costs so much, you have to understand what it takes to complete the process.
State law varies in regard to minor parents' rights; however, in no State could a child be placed for adoption without the minor parent's consent. In some States, minor parents are able to place their child for adoption without additional consent. In other States, the pregnant minor's parents or guardian would also need to consent to an adoption. The Child Welfare Information Gateway publication Consent to Adoption has more information. To determine how these laws would apply in a specific situation, it may be helpful to contact an attorney familiar with adoption law in your State.
Agency Fee: This fee covers administrative and professional services provided by the agency in connection with the adoption. It includes the cost of training, documentation preparation and authentication, counseling and support for adoptive parents and birth families, matching services, personnel, Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children administration, overhead, and legal consultation. Each agency has their own policies, but if a match does not result in a placement or a placement is disrupted, AdoptionLife.org rolls the agency fees over to another adoption situation.

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In any type of adoption where travel is needed, there will be travel expenses incurred above and beyond just transportation. Prospective adoptive parents will need to obtain lodging and food while they are away. In cases involving ICPC where prospective adoptive parents will need to stay in the child’s home state until they are cleared to go home, there is no set time line. Prospective adoptive parents do not know if they will need to find lodging and food for days or possibly weeks while they wait for ICPC to clear. The travel expenses incurred in adoption can easily enter thousands of dollars depending on the circumstances surrounding the adoption.
This is a tax credit offered to adoptive parents to encourage their adoption. The United States International Revenue code offers a credit for “qualified adoption expenses” paid or incurred by individual taxpayers. The credit apply’s for all types of adoption except step-parent adoption and is available in the  year the adoption is finalized. In 2017, the maximum adoption tax credit was $13,570 per child. The amount changes year over year due to inflation. Talk with your tax adviser to understand more about the Adoption Tax Credit and how it can work for you. The Adoption Tax Credit is not refundable, but it does provide financial assistance to many families each year.
Sue Kuligowski is a staff storyteller at Adoption.com. The mother of two girls through adoption, she is a proposal coordinator, freelance writer/editor, and an adoption advocate. When she's not writing or editing, she can be found supervising sometimes successful glow-in-the-dark experiments, chasing down snails in the backyard, and attempting to make sure her girls are eating more vegetables than candy.

This publication provides an overview of State laws related to the rights of unmarried fathers and the methods by which a man may establish a legal parent-child relationship with his child. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutional protection of an unmarried father's parental rights when he has established a substantial relationship with his child. The circumstances in which a man may be presumed to be the father of a child, the use of putative fathers' registries, the use of genetic tests to establish parentage, and the right of rescission of paternity claims also are discussed. Summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included.


The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.
 – Agency Fee – The agency fee is whatever your agency charges to act as your adoption agency. These fees can range from $1,000 to $15,000. This is where it is hard to say just how much an adoption costs because there is such a wide spectrum of amounts charged. I can tell you our agency fee was $3,000, a little on the lesser side, but we loved our social worker and loved working with the agency we did. 
Loans are available to families hoping to adopt. Many companies offer loans and some even offer little or no interest. Each adoption loan is different and some have criteria for loans to be awarded. Most adoption loans only take a few days for approval. However, it’s up to you at what point in your adoption process you wish to take out a loan. It’s also important to note that many adoption loans are faith-based, so do your research before filling out any loan applications. We refinanced our house twice to obtain extra money for both our adoptions. Loans are a great way to finance adoptions because they allow families to borrow a large amount of money and offer fixed interest rates and terms. This can make it easier for you to budget. Remember, each family is different. It is important to research and to choose the best adoption loan that fits your situation. For more information about adoption loans, visit HERE. 
After the legwork of adoption eligibility is completed, the adoption cost moving forward will largely depend on if the prospective adoptive parents are already matched or need to be matched. If the prospective adoptive parents need to be matched with a birth mother, the agency or attorney will often require a match fee. This fee allows for the agency or attorney to work, on the prospective adoptive parent’s behalf, to advertise them to expectant mothers as a potential placement for their child. There will also likely be birth mother expenses that prospective adoptive parents are obligated to pay under their state law. These expenses go towards pregnancy-related expenses such as medical care, maternity clothes, and some living expenses. The adoption cost related to birth mother expenses will be determined by the state and may be waived in some instances. Some states put a cap on the amount of birth parent expenses that are allowed. To see what birth mother expenses your state requires, you can review that information on this link.
After the legwork of adoption eligibility is completed, the adoption cost moving forward will largely depend on if the prospective adoptive parents are already matched or need to be matched. If the prospective adoptive parents need to be matched with a birth mother, the agency or attorney will often require a match fee. This fee allows for the agency or attorney to work, on the prospective adoptive parent’s behalf, to advertise them to expectant mothers as a potential placement for their child. There will also likely be birth mother expenses that prospective adoptive parents are obligated to pay under their state law. These expenses go towards pregnancy-related expenses such as medical care, maternity clothes, and some living expenses. The adoption cost related to birth mother expenses will be determined by the state and may be waived in some instances. Some states put a cap on the amount of birth parent expenses that are allowed. To see what birth mother expenses your state requires, you can review that information on this link.
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