I tend to think that particular laws and regulations have been less significant factors in the cost of domestic adoptions than broader technological, legal, and cultural changes, including the availability of effective contraception… the legalization of abortion… and the sexual revolution, all of which decreased the availability of adoptable children.
 – Travel Expenses – As seems to be the theme of this article, this number will depend on what country you are adopting from. Some countries require more than one visit before you are able to complete your adoption. Some countries require longer stays than others. Again, make sure to discuss with your agency what travel will be expected of you before deciding on what country you wish to adopt from. Travel costs can range from $5,000 to $10,000. 
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: 

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.
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.
Adopting a child is a major decision that changes lives. So, if you are considering adoption, it’s important to reflect and consider a multitude of aspects before moving forward. Hopefully, these questions provoked thoughts and feelings that can help guide you in this process. If you still have questions, AdoptHelp offers informational resources to adoptive parents and birth mothers.
International adoptions have legal costs, including court filings, immigration applications (one prior to adopting and one when the child is ready to immigrate to the United States), and embassy medical, visa and passport fees. If the adoption is not finalized oversees, the adopting family will need to hire an attorney to finalize the adoption once back in the United States.
Although adoption expenses can often seem insurmountable at first, many families find comfort in discovering that there are many fundraising options available to assist them. Show Hope was founded out of a desire to reduce the financial barrier to adoption and to see more waiting children have the opportunity to find their way into loving families through adoption. Through Show Hope’s adoption aid program, thousands of waiting children have been able to come into the love and permanency of a family over the first ten years of Show Hope’s work. It is an incredible blessing to have a small part in a child’s home and for that privilege we are deeply thankful! These miracles are not possible without the continued partnership and generous support of our sponsors and donors.

It can be hard to let people know that you are funding your adoption, and AdoptionLife.org understands that. Let your friends and family know that they can donate to AdoptionLife.org and the donations raised help families like yours, adopt. The funds go toward helping families with the expenses of your adoption. In addition, their donation to AdoptionLife is tax-deductible. For some, there comes peace of mind knowing that their funds go directly toward your agency. We are here to help you make funding your adoption go as smoothly as possible. Some agencies have simple platforms such as Amazon Smiles or Facebook Donation that can help you raise money. Check with your agency to obtain more details about how they can help you raise funds. 


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.
One of the biggest ticket items in the adoption cost of international adoption is the agency fee. This fee pays for the adoption agency to act as your liaison between you and the country you are adopting from. Their employees help to match you with your child, provide adoption education, help you to complete the needed paperwork, translate and submit it to the country you are working with, facilitate travel, and also keep their own licensing up to date. All of this comes with a fee. Most program fees (the costs paid to an agency for these services) run between $5,000 and $10,000, depending on the agency and which country you are adopting from, though sometimes agencies will quote up to $25,000 for their fee. It pays to do your research.
American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.
I tend to think that particular laws and regulations have been less significant factors in the cost of domestic adoptions than broader technological, legal, and cultural changes, including the availability of effective contraception… the legalization of abortion… and the sexual revolution, all of which decreased the availability of adoptable children.
 – 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. 
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.
Non-identifying details about the birth parents (including their general background, education, employment, armed services history; social or medical risk factors, drug usage, medical and mental health history, other children, and extended birth family history). Also inquire about the birth mother’s care during pregnancy, and any risk factors for the child due to the mother’s experiences during pregnancy or complications during delivery.
AdoptionLife.org is a licensed private agency specializing in infant domestic adoptions. Private adoption agencies, such as AdoptionLife.org, work with expectant parents who have chosen to make an adoption plan. We provide support, counseling and advocacy throughout the entire process. We encourage expectant parents to choose a prospective family for their child based on shared information and regular contact. Private adoption fees average between $30,000-$40,000 and may include the following:
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.
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.

If you are new to the topic of adoption or are currently in the beginning stages of your adoption process, a question that has most likely crossed your mind is, “Why is the adoption process so expensive?” If there are millions of waiting children in the world, why must it often cost tens of thousands of dollars to help bring them into the love and protection of a family?


In domestic adoption, each state regulates how much and which birth parent expenses an adoptive parent can pay. Counseling should be offered to the birth parent and varying amounts of counsel can be paid for by the adopting parent(s). In an international adoption, donations may be made to child welfare institutions or orphanages to help care for the children still in care.
1. You may need to look for a "baby basics" class. Most women who give birth learn about the care, feeding, and basic development of babies in their childbirth class or at a class for expectant parents. If you're adopting a baby, however, this particular option won't be available to you. Fortunately, though, some hospitals, adoption agencies, and adoption-support groups now offer infant care and parenting classes to adoptive moms and dads. Ask your agency, local hospital, local chapter of Resolve, or other parent-support group for information.
If they get into a car accident in Florida and the child has to be hospitalized, the non-biological mother is a legal stranger to the child. In cases where a lesbian couple conceives a child via co-IVF, meaning one spouse carries the other spouse's egg, the biological (but non-gestational) mother is the legal stranger. The only way to guarantee nationwide parental rights for a non-biological or non-gestational parent is by an adoption order. Even a state that doesn’t want to recognize same-sex marriages will still recognize an adoption order. But it won't come cheap.
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