Travel costs are, obviously, a huge cost— about $8,000 on average (which goes up to $10,000 when you factor in your in-country travel expenses). Some programs require multiple visits or require you to stay in the child’s home country for a minimum amount of time, which might be up to several weeks. But there are other non-travel costs driving the cost of international adoption up. The 1993 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect to Intercountry Adoption established international safeguards to prevent child trafficking. This is, obviously, fantastic. It also means a great deal of paperwork to make sure you’re complying with Hague guidelines, and that paperwork costs money to prepare and submit. Your dossier costs $1,500 on average to prepare, according to Spence-Chapin, and another $500-$1,500 to translate if needed.
Just two months after giving birth to the son I had placed for adoption, I received an email from my adoption agency addressed to "Dear Prospective Adoptive Parent." It was full of info that would, indeed, have been very useful had I been looking to adopt a child, but as a birth mother, I was on the exact opposite end of that equation. I'd apparently been placed on the wrong email list. And this info included a notification of just how expensive adoption is, including said agency's fees. At the time (2012), the fee paid by an adoptive family for a domestic adoption was $30,000 — the same amount I was making per year at the time. (Today, the fee is $36,000.)
Are you creative, crafty, or crazy good in the kitchen? Consider selling your handywork to promote your hopes to adopt and raising funds to help afford it. It can be a lot easier for some to financially assist your adoption when they receive something in return. Sharing your talent is a great way to fundraise for your adoption.  We held a weekly bake sale all summer and raised $2,000.

Adoption can be difficult to explain, especially if your child is young. Consider how you feel about adoption and how you would present this to your child. Would you be comfortable answering questions about birth parents? For those who are interested in a transracial adoption, would you be comfortable discussing race with your child and exploring their heritage and birth culture? The topic will come up eventually and you’ll want to 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.
Before we attempt to shed some light on this difficult reality, we must first acknowledge foremost the divine beauty that embodies the miracle of adoption. Beyond the challenges (both financially and otherwise) that adoption can present, adoption at its core is a life-changing journey that not only restores hope to a waiting child, but also exemplifies God’s love for His children. The power of this miraculous journey can be seen through the testimonies of so many families and children who have been impacted by Show Hope’s adoption aid grants, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy process. In an attempt to shed some light as to why adoption can be such a costly endeavor, we will focus on five main areas of financial expense that relate to adoption.
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.

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.
A few people have pointed out that nobody does background checks on parents giving birth, there’s no certification that natural parents have to go through. And that’s true. But that’s kind of an odd question. I can’t help but wonder if the people who ask that question want those kind of policies in place. Should we have an authoritarian system in place, one that would encroach on citizen’s rights even more so than China’s one-child policy? Starts to sound like 1984 or Brave New World.
Once you are approved to bring home an immigrant child, most countries will require you to create and submit a dossier. This is a document which tells the sending country about you, and that you have been proven to be a fit parent. Documents in the dossier can include doctor’s statements (yes, more doctor’s appointments), employment verification, birth, marriage, and divorce certificates (you’ll have to spring to get brand new ones), financial statements, photographs, and personal references. Every single item in your dossier will most likely need to go through the certification process at both the state and country levels, though some states also require an additional county certification. All of these various certifications cost money ranging from just $2 per document up to more than $40 per document. Once they are certified, you will probably need them to go to the consulate or embassy of the country you are adopting from and have them either authenticated or apostilled, depending on what is required. Once again, there is a fee per document to have this done. If you do not live in a city with an embassy or consulate, you will also need to make use of a courier to carry your documents in for you. Don’t forget to add in your FedEx account spending to overnight these precious documents back and forth. You’ve worked too hard on them to lose them in the mail! For those adding up numbers, figure somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 for paperwork costs.

In every State there are children with special needs waiting in foster care for adoptive families. The most recent data estimate that 126,000 children are available to be adopted from foster care. In the past, the costs of care and services were major obstacles to parents who would otherwise adopt and love these children, and most were not placed for adoption. The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 provided the first Federal subsidies to encourage the adoption of children from the nation's foster care system. These subsidies, known as adoption assistance, serve to minimize the financial obstacles to adoption. In addition, other types of assistance often are available to help with medical care or other services. Adoption assistance serves to remove barriers and contribute to an increase in adoption of children with special needs. This factsheet discusses this assistance by reviewing: Federal Title IV-E adoption assistance, State adoption assistance, and how to arrange adoption assistance.
Consider your family makeup as well. If you have small children or other pets, for example, you'll need to look for an easy-going, friendly cat that is well-socialized to deal with people and other animals. It might also be best to look for an older cat, unless you're able to provide constant supervision. Kittens, while super cute, are also fragile and prone to injury from grabby little hands or impatient older animals.

These numbers include everything: travel, paperwork, agency, attorney, etc. China, Ethiopia, and South Korea are the only countries that AdoptiveFamilies.com publishes, because they are the most popular. While most other estimates for international adoption appear comparable, those numbers can sometimes go down significantly if a family is willing to adopt older children, sibling groups, or children with disabilities or medical needs. Here's how those expenses break down.

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.
Discusses the common elements of the home study process and addresses some questions prospective adoptive parents may have about the process. Specific home study requirements and processes vary greatly from agency to agency, State to State, and (in the case of intercountry adoption) by the child's country of origin. They are also subject to change.
Asking friends and family to donate to your garage sale can be an amazing way to raise funds for your adoption. Hosting online actions on social media can also help you reach a larger crowd. You can ask your friends who have services or items they create or sell to donate to your auction and appreciate the free marketing and advertising you provide on their behalf with their items and services. For our Yard Sales, we asked all of our friends and family to donate unwanted items that they no longer needed.  We had an outpouring of donations.  We also asked friends and family to donate baked goods and had a bake sale at our Yard Sale.  On the same day of our Yard Sale, we advertised for a car wash at a local grocery store.  Between both events we raised almost $6,000 in one day.  I set up a Square account and people gave/donated more because they could use a debt/credit card.
In cases of domestic infant adoption, prospective adoptive parents may be obligated to pay birth mother expenses. These birth mother expenses are typically defined as any pregnancy-related expenses that need to be covered during the expectant mother’s pregnancy and for a short period after the birth of her child. These expenses often include maternity clothes, medical care related to the pregnancy, and often some living expenses such as utility bills and rent. There are states in which birth mother expenses are not required and others where the amount is regulated. There are also some situations in which the birth mother may choose to waive the acceptance of birth mother expense compensation. You can find out more about birth mother expenses in your state at this link.

I think part of what’s so hard about the high cost of adoption is that it brings to mind the frightening idea of buying a child (especially when you see the catalogs of kids needing to be adopted, complete with pictures and descriptions). That’s not what’s happening here, and most agencies seem to go to great lengths to make that clear. The birth mother is not receiving a payment (though her medical bills, legal and counseling needs will be covered). The adoption agency is not getting rich (our agency pointed out that their nice new building was funded completely by donations–not a penny of adoption fees went to the construction costs).
An advantage of starting out as a foster parent is the quantity of training and preparation. In addition to the series of classes at the beginning of the process, foster parents receive training on an on-going basis, addressing a variety of parenting issues. To learn more about foster parenting, visit the website of the National Resource Center for Foster Care and Permanency Planning at http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp.
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.
These numbers include everything: travel, paperwork, agency, attorney, etc. China, Ethiopia, and South Korea are the only countries that AdoptiveFamilies.com publishes, because they are the most popular. While most other estimates for international adoption appear comparable, those numbers can sometimes go down significantly if a family is willing to adopt older children, sibling groups, or children with disabilities or medical needs. Here's how those expenses break down.
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?
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