"In many states, we can determine that someone is eligible to buy a gun in less than 4 hours," Craig Juntunen—founder and CEO of the global advocacy organization Both Ends Burning and executive producer of the documentary STUCK—told BuzzFeed Life. "But during the 3 years that an adoptive family is being proven eligible, the adoptive child is losing developmental days that they will never get back."
The next big ticket item in international adoption cost is travel. This is a highly variable budget item because so much is dependent upon which country you are traveling to. In some countries, you only need to stay a few days while others require a parent to stay for weeks, and still, other countries require multiple trips. The cost within the countries will vary as well. I’ve seen travel quotes range from $3,500 to $4,000 for China, to $9,000 to $15,000 for Ukraine, and $7,000 to $9,000 for Colombia. Your travels costs will also depend on the type of hotel you stay in, how much you spend on food, and how much shopping you do.
The price of providing a child with a forever home may seem expensive, but know that most of the fees involved go to the care and prenatal care of your prospective child and ensure the safety and well-being of that child. And there’s good news. For families open to foster care, the cost of foster-to-adopt is around $2,500, thanks to federal and state adoption assistance programs. Know too that there are a number of grants, subsidies, and tax credits available for qualifying adoptive families.
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.
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.
Someone can give us a break down of who charges for what and how much, but the real reason why adoption is so expensive is because people who can’t have children on their own are desperate for children and are willing to pay whatever they have to pay, and all of the people involved in the adoption industry are aware of that. That’s the real reason why adoption is so expensive.
Once you are home, there are still fees to pay. Your state will require a series of post-placement visits as will the country you adopted from. Each visit will be between $200 and $500. On top of this, in order to ensure that you comply with submitting post-placement reports, many agencies will require a deposit, often in the $1,000 range which will be returned upon completion of all required paperwork. Social worker travel reimbursement will apply to these visits as well.
If you want to help change the system, join others who are already working in that area. Contact the parent groups in your area (find a database of groups at this link) to find out what they are doing or if they know of other advocacy groups you can get involved with. To report a specific problem, contact your adoption manager or the NACAC representative in your state. You may also want to contact one of AdoptUsKids’ Training and Technical Assistance consultants (a directory of staff and consultants is available at AdoptUsKids: Permanency - Tools and Resources).
The adoption professional doing their part to make adoption more affordable do so in a variety of ways. Some attorneys will work pro bono or for a reduced rate. Some agencies offer graduated payment schedules, so that you only pay for services as they are rendered and not beforehand, and will connect families with resources. And Delta offers discount airfare for international adoption travel.
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?
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.

International adoption is the adoption of a child born in another country than the one in which you reside. International adoption also has a very wide range of fees, as each country has their own fee scale and traveling to each country varies. The average international adoption can range from $30,000 to well over $50,000. Similar to the agency adoption costs above, international adoptions will require the following fees: 
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.
The adoption cost in regards to domestic newborn adoption will include a variety of fees and expenses. There may be an application fee for the adoption agency that the prospective adoptive parents must pay. If an adoption attorney is used, he or she will often require a retainer for the services. These fees, again, will vary based on the agency or attorney used. The first expenses involved are related to ensuring that prospective adoptive parents are legally eligible to adopt a child. To ensure this, the prospective adoptive parents will need to go through an adoption home study. The home study will need to be done by a licensed adoption professional. The cost of this home study will vary based on the state and the adoption agency chosen. The average cost of a home study can range between $1,500-$3,000.

What is Open Adoption? - ArticlesWhat is Open Adoption?What is the Difference Between Open, Closed and Semi-Open Adoptions?The Benefits of Contact with the Birth ParentsPicture and Letter Correspondence with Birth ParentsHow We Help You Find the Right Birth Mother to Adopt FromHow We Do and Don't Screen Pregnant MothersWhat You Need to Know About Birth Mother Substance UsePregnant Teens and Adoption: What to Know as a Waiting Parent
I know these numbers seem staggering and you probably think you cannot afford to adopt a child, but there are ways to “offset” some of these expenses. As I mentioned earlier in the article, talk with a tax professional to discuss what options may be available for in regards to the adoption tax credit and/or adoption assistance programs. You may also be able to apply for grants. A simple Google search for “adoption grants” will result in hundreds of possibilities. Applying for grants takes time, however, it usually pays off in the end. You may also be able to apply for a no-interest or low-interest loan to cover your adoption expenses. There are several online resources for that as well. Get creative with fundraising. I know it seems silly to be asking people to help pay for a child, however, you will be surprised at how willing people are to help you. Have a garage sale. Have a bake sale. Create an online shop for something you make by hand. Start a 5k run/walk. Provide concessions at events. The possibilities really are endless, you just have to be willing to try. 
Someone can give us a break down of who charges for what and how much, but the real reason why adoption is so expensive is because people who can’t have children on their own are desperate for children and are willing to pay whatever they have to pay, and all of the people involved in the adoption industry are aware of that. That’s the real reason why adoption is so expensive.
Probably the most common questions asked in adoption: "How much does it cost to adopt a child?" or "What is the cost of adoption?" Not all adoption processes are the same and each one has its own expenses. In a domestic adoption, expenses may include legal representation for the adoptive and birth parent(s), medical costs, counseling, rent, phone and travel for the birth parent(s), and travel, court, Home Study and networking/advertising costs for the adoptive parent(s). In an international adoption , there are agency or attorney fees plus the applications to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. In the country from which the child will immigrate, there are legal and agency costs, court, medical and document and translation costs, donations to the child welfare center and local travel.
This indicates whether you would like an open, semi-open, or closed adoption. Would you like to know about the birth parent, like their background and medical information? Would you like to speak to them during the pregnancy or meet them at the hospital for the birth? Would you be open to contact or a relationship after the placement? This may also depend on who the birth parents are and what they want, but it’s good to think about how this relationship could affect your child.
If you adopt a child from foster care, you're eligible for a monthly government subsidy — an average of $846 a month, according to Adoptive Families. There is also sometimes a one-time reimbursement available, which ranges from $400-$2,000 depending on the state, as well as health coverage through Medicaid, and sometimes college tuition. Also, if you adopt a child with special needs through an agency, some agencies will waive their fees. (In the context of foster care, "special needs" refers not only to medical conditions and/or disabilities, but also to children who are older, not white, part of a sibling group, or some other combination of factors that have made them "difficult to place" for adoption. Each state defines "special needs" differently.)
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.
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.

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?
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:
Again, this all comes down to protection and fulfilling the sacred responsibility that comes with caring for someone else’s child. Imagine if you gave up your own child. Do you think you just hand the kid over and say, ‘OK, you can be the parent’? Should it be that simple? No, you owe it to yourself and to your child to make sure this is the right decision, to make sure the new parents are good for that child, to make sure you’re not going to change your mind and jerk the poor kid back and forth between parents.

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.

Like the first-time pregnant woman who remains blissfully and intentionally naive about the pains of childbirth, my husband and I sat in many an adoption class grinning wryly at one another. “It’s not going to be like that for us,” said the grin. Except it was like that for us. It was like that in ways that even the classes, taught by qualified adoption professionals, could not have convinced us.


One of the first steps in almost every adoption process in the adoption home study. This process will typically include FBI background checks, interviews, home visits, and a whole lot of paperwork required to be submitted by the prospective adoptive parents. The prospective adoptive parents will also need to complete education or training related to adoption that may be an additional expense. A home study will need to be completed by a licensed adoption professional. As with most fees that come will adoption, the cost for this process will vary depending on the adoption agency or adoption attorney used. The price for this process when it comes to domestic and international adoption usually ranges from $1,500-$3,000, while a home study in a foster care adoption is typically little to no cost.
6. Make absolutely sure that somebody is there to visit/greet you when you bring your child home. If you adopt internationally, make sure people are waiting to welcome you at that airport.  If you are coming home from the hospital or a foster home, make sure there are people who will come by and (appropriately) ooh and aah with you over your newest family member, whether the child is a few days old or 13.  You need this.  Trust me.  We arrived from Haiti to an empty airport.  The fact that we had just become parents did not feel special to us at all.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things "home." A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the "other Michael Jordan" and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on Facebook.
Adoption cost varies drastically between different modes of adoption. Location, agency costs, private attorney costs, foster care benefits, and international concerns such as travel or translation are all factors that affect the overall price of an adoption. Below are the average costs for most if not all of the expenses included in the typical types of adoption available to prospective parents.
3. You may not have a baby shower until months after your baby is born. Since the adoption process is often filled with so much uncertainty, many prospective parents prefer to wait until after their baby is home before having a shower. Often, this is a practical course of action. For instance, if a family is adopting from overseas, they may not know their child's gender, size, or age until shortly before traveling to get him. (In some cases, their "baby" may be 15 or 16 months old!) However, once parents are home and settled into a routine, they'll have a better sense of what they need -- and of their baby's likes and dislikes.

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.
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.
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