Let’s now break down what the costs are in adoption, starting with intercountry (or international) adoption. The first step in nearly any adoption process is having a home study completed. For intercountry adoptions, you will need to make sure that the home study agency you choose is licensed to write home studies for the country you wish to adopt from. This may mean that you cannot use the least expensive agency, so be aware of that. A home study written for an international adoption is usually around $2,000 to $4,000 dollars. This is what you will pay your agency, but there are most costs as well. You will need to be fingerprinted, which can generally cost about $60 per person. (Your state will probably vary.) You will also need to have physicals and often a TB test done—which, depending on your insurance, will cost you out of pocket. If you live in a more rural area and use water from a well on your property, you will also have to pay to have your well water tested. Finally, if you live outside a certain distance from your adoption agency, you may also have to pay a travel reimbursement to your agency for your social worker’s travel costs.
American Adoptions’ agency fees are fixed, so there are no surprise fees. We work with you at the beginning of the adoption process to set a budget, and we help you stay within that budget during the process. Our specialists handle distribution of fees for birth mother expenses to make sure all of your money is going to the right places, and we will always look out for your best interests. Additionally, in the case of a disrupted adoption, we have a Risk-Sharing Program that allows the adoptive family to be refunded the fees that have already been paid.
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These are a central factor to the question, “Why does adoption cost so much money?” Variable adoption costs are comprised of expenses that can change in each unique adoption situation. Typically, these are fees paid toward needs of the prospective birth mother. The amount of variable adoption costs incurred in a given adoption situation will be dependent on the birth mother’s unique needs, as well as what is allowed by the adoption laws in her state. Some of these costs can be things like:
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Wow! A lot of the people commenting on here are just vicious. Kevin, thank you for your post. My husband and I recently began the adoption process and are working with a very reputable nonprofit agency that we trust and respect. Adoption is an incredibly personal and important decision for any family to make, especially one that is unable to conceive a child naturally. I think it is incredibly insensitive, ignorant and downright nasty for people to come to your blog and criticize this process. It is cruel to liken adoption to human trafficking and to suggest that people who make this important decision are somehow doing something wrong. Adoption is expensive. I wish it were less expensive, and I am aware of the far less expensive foster to adopt and waiting child programs. EVERY potential parent has the right to choose the form of adoption that is most comfortable for them. For my husband and me, this means the extremely expensive domestic infant adoption. What right does ANYONE have to criticize or second guess the decision that we have made? I applaud your thick skin – mine is not as thick. Shame on those who have chosen to criticize and attack!!
Medical Expenses: Prospective adoptive parents are not obligated to pay birth parent medical expenses, however, they agency may coordinate with the prospective adoptive parents as a matter of charity to pay actual medical expenses related to pregnancy, including prenatal care, maternity care, medical, physician, delivery, hospital, lab and other medical services. The amount paid depends on the needs of the birth parents and available insurance coverage and governmental funding.
Breaking down the total cost into categorized expenses helps prospective parents understand what is involved and how to determine a predictable range for their costs. In some cases, understanding the costs associated with different types of adoption may help parents decide which type of adoption to pursue, or whether to pursue this approach to building a family.
Many adoption agencies and many states require that families complete adoptive parenting preparation classes or training. There may be no fee, as a public or private agency may cover this cost, especially if the family is adopting a waiting child. If not, this training may be included in the cost already paid for the homestudy, or the family may be expected to pay for it separately. Here are some possibilities for reducing or eliminating this cost:
Birth Mother expenses also widely vary depending on a specific Birth Mother’s needs and what is allowed by state law. Most Birth Mothers are in a situation where they will need some financial assistance from the Adopting Parents. In most states, Adopting Parents can expect to pay a Birth Mother’s reasonable medical, living, legal and counseling expenses.
My son's adoptive parents didn't pay any of these expenses for me when I was a birth mother; my agency covered my medical bills and gave me a MetroCard every time I visited them. (My son's parents paid the agency a flat fee; my costs weren't broken down and passed onto them.) As broke as I was, I’m glad I wasn’t receiving any further assistance from the adoptive family, as I think it would have made my decision murkier and more difficult. However, whether through an attorney or an agency, birth-mother expenses cost adoptive families an average of $4,000-$5,000.
For example: If you give birth to your child biologically, an official will not come to your house to ensure that you have a pool fence. But if you adopt, a social worker will make sure that your entire home is baby-proofed before you bring the baby home. "There's an element of mistrust in the adoption process, but when someone is born biologically we just assume that everything is fine," Juntunen says.

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

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.

Which professionals, and how much they get paid, depend upon whether the adoption is domestic, international, through an agency, private, or if it's a second-parent adoption, where the spouse or partner of a child's parent legally becomes the second parent. For the adoption of a child from foster care, a number of costs go down significantly or vanish altogether, because the costs are often absorbed by the public (state or government) agency that has legal custody of the child. In non-foster cases, the adoptive parents bear the burden of the cost.


Families who adopt from foster care usually adopt from a county, state, territory, or tribal public child welfare agency. Adopting a child from foster care is often funded by the state, and in most cases there are few or no fees. Parents may choose to hire a private agency to help them through this process. These families could incur out-of-pocket expenses, which they can typically recoup from federal or state programs after the adoption is finalized.
For private and independent adoptions, the birth parent(s) can decide whether or not he or she wishes to select the adoptive parents, meet with them, even maintain an ongoing relationship, if he or she so chooses. That is called an open adoption. In a closed adoption, the names of the birth mother and father and the adoptive parents are not shared with one another.
Elaine E. Schulte, MD, MPH, FAAP is a board certified pediatrician and Professor of Pediatrics at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. She is the Medical Director of the Adoption Program at Cleveland Clinic Children's and has cared for hundreds of families and children touched by adoption. She also provides pre-adoption consultation service through MyConsult. Within the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Schulte sits on the Executive Committee of the Council on Foster Care, Adoption, and Kinship Care. She is the parent of two children adopted from China.

"We have about 1,000 American families that have either adopted or are in the process of adopting children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but we can't get clearance for the kids to leave the country," Dempsey says. "We don't know why. We had about a dozen children die during this process. Right now, families are moving to the Congo to raise the children they've adopted"

If your state does allow private adoptions, where the birth mother and prospective adoptive parents find each other, there will still be some fees associated with the adoption. These fees may include advertising online to locate a birth mother. Again, this is not allowed in every state. As indicated above, if your state requires you to utilize an adoption agency, they may charge a lesser fee than if they facilitated the match between birth mother and adoptive parents. You may also want to consult an attorney if you are pursuing a private adoption. Not only will you know what your rights are regarding the adoption process but it also might give you peace of mind as well. In some states you can use an adoption attorney to facilitate the adoption process and will pay whatever they charge and whatever their hourly rate is. Again, this is not one size fits all either. Make sure you consult with more than one adoption attorney before choosing the one that fits your family’s need the best.
This concern is most likely a product of adoptions prior to the 1980s, which emotionally scarred some adopted children because they weren’t told of their adoption properly. Since adoption has opened up over the past 30 years, today’s adopted children, adolescents and adults often have overwhelmingly positive feelings about their adoption and birth parents.
Think seriously about the commitment you'll be making in taking on a cat. Cats are sentient beings, and a cat deserves to be seen as your family member. Bringing a cat into your home will be a responsibility for the lifetime of the cat, requiring you to provide healthy food, safety, love, companionship, and veterinary care both in good times and in bad.
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