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.
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).
After a child is born or a child is placed in the care of an adoptive family, there may still be more fees for the adoption process that occurs post-placement. The birth mother may still require some final expenses, typically for up to six weeks after placement of the child. Many states also require for the birth mother to be offered counseling after the birth of the child. In domestic adoption, most states require a set amount of post-placement visits to occur with the adoptive family and their new child before an adoption can be finalized. These visits typically occur once a month until the finalization of the adoption. Some adoption agencies or adoption professionals will charge per post-placement visit or may charge one flat fee. The agency my husband and I used charged $1,500 for six post-placement visits.
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. 
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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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.

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.
Documentation is required for each step of the adoption process. These documents make up the dossier that most international programs require, including proof of eligibility. Each document is processed locally, then by the agency, state and federal government, and finally by the international government of the child’s country of origin. Many adoption agencies require the documents to be sealed and notarized, which authenticates the application and dossier. If a family decides to adopt internationally, they will also have to submit paperwork to the USCIS (U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services) in order to receive citizenship for their child. This element is vital to the adoption process but can also add thousands of dollars to the overall cost.
The question of “Why is adoption so expensive?” is simply answered with the knowledge that it takes many people and many processes to complete an adoption journey. The use of adoption professionals is crucial to ensure that an adoption is both legal and ethical. These services will cost in order to be sure that the best care is taken in the adoption process. As adoption laws are ever-changing and different adoption processes have different regulations, the costs of an adoption can vary greatly. These costs are many professional services combined that allow for adoption to protect all parties involved and to complete the due diligence needed to make the adoption as efficient as possible. Luckily, there are many ways to not only afford adoption, but also to recoup some of the fees through the adoption tax credit. The adoption tax credit is not a refund but will offset the tax obligation of adoptive parents. To find out more about the cost of adoption and ways to afford adoption even for those with limited income, you can read more at this link.
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.
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.
Every birth parent should meet with an objective counselor who can discuss parenting and adoption options. If they decide on an adoption, they should be able to work with a counselor who will oversee their medical care, be the liaison with the adoptive parent’s counselor or attorney regarding the birth parent’s needs and provide ongoing emotional support to the birth parent.
Ask your adoption professional if they provide any type of financial protection in the event of an adoption disruption. Some national adoption agencies and entities are able to provide some type of financial protection in certain situations and this can make all the difference to a family trying to move forward with their adoption journey after a disruption.
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.
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.
Why does adoption cost so much? How do some families adopt at no cost? Questions about the costs of adopting are often one of the first questions that hopeful Adopting Parents looking to adopt ask. With so many different types of adoption programs and different costs associated with the process, one family’s cost to adopt may be completely different from another’s. Every adoption is unique and the costs will vary, but it is important that you get an understanding of all the services involved and a range of what fees may look like.
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.

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).


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. 


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.
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.
"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"

Bring others on your journey! Social media is a very powerful outlet for people to raise funds. You need to be active in your adoption journey and social media is a great way to remain active and create community. As you post, you must have realistic expectations. Share everyday – In general, maybe 20% of your friends will see your posts, so don’t get upset if you don’t receive a lot of interaction. Be honest about what you are using the funds for and make a breakdown of what all the fees were used for.  I shared every step of our journey on social media for all to see.  I  kept everyone updated with details about the process. Each time I paid a fee, I posted a photo of the check amount and what it was going toward. I had so many people thank me for my honesty and openness.  They felt more inclined to give and and many donated multiple times because they knew exactly what I was using the funds for.  I was very careful about what our family spent money on. It is important to sacrifice and save, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever go out for an ice cream.  You just don’t need to post that on social media. Also, one thing that worked for me may not work for you.  Research and find ideas that other families have done, and choose the ones that feel like a good fit for you and your network.  Ask for help from friends and family, but don’t expect it or assume everyone will want to be involved.

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.
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.
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.
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. 
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.
When an adoption is handled by an adoption agency, the agency will typically include all adoption process fees in their fee schedule. They will also likely have their own team of attorneys or have certain attorneys contracted to handle much of the legal proceedings of adoption. The adoption agency will also likely provide its own representation for the expectant mother and work with her on the adoption proceedings. However, some adoption agencies do not provide unbiased representation for the expectant mother. If this is the case or when working with an adoption attorney, it is often advisable and often required for the prospective adoptive family to hire outside legal counsel for the expectant mother. This is done to ensure that the expectant mother is informed of her rights in adoption and also allows for a more ethical adoption process. The fees for outside legal counsel for an expectant mother can vary greatly and can easily top $5,000.
"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"
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.

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.


If you have been interested in pursuing adoption, you probably are aware that you can adopt from the foster care system. While the ultimate goal of the foster care program is parent reunification, there are certain circumstances when that is not possible and when an adoption plan can be made for that child. Usually, the children available for adoption through the foster care system are older children and/or part of a sibling group. Most states cover the cost of adopting through the foster care system. There is also several different kinds of state and/or federal adoption assistance available, which may include medical assistance and/or monthly maintenance payments. 
Explores some of the emotional ups and downs that adoptive parents may experience before, during, and after adoption. While every family is unique and every parent has different feelings and experiences, there are some general themes that emerge regarding adoptive parents' emotional responses. The purpose of the factsheet is to identify some of these themes, affirm common feelings, and provide links to resources that may help your family address adoption-related concerns.
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