I will advise you that this article is written from my own personal experience and research, please do not take it as legal advice. Please contact your local adoption agency or attorney for more information regarding how expense adoption is in your area. But for now, this article will contain basic information on how expensive adoption is and what you may expect. 

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If you have considered adoption I am sure you have asked yourself the age-old question, how expensive is adoption? While you have come to the right spot to find an answer to that question, I am afraid there is not one clear answer to your question. There are several factors to consider and several different routes you can choose. In this article, I will attempt to lay a foundation of how expensive adoption can be, how to plan ahead, and how you could possibly save money. I know it sounds strange saying “save money” while pursuing adoption, however, it is possible.

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.


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.
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.
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.
A:  Parents hoping to adopt need to be prepared for a long and bumpy ride. Again, the length of time varies based on the type of adoption. Adopting a newborn from the United States can sometimes be extremely quick and/or could take years. The length of time to adopt internationally also varies based on the country and the referral process. Adopting a child internationally who has special medical needs can happen within 2 to 3 years. Adopting a child from foster care may not take quite as long, but it can be more complicated.
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.
Breaking down all the costs really answers the question of “Why is adoption so expensive,” and it gives you a greater picture of how quickly and enormously costs can add up. In a hypothetical domestic adoption situation, the fees could reach over $20,000 quite quickly. If a home study process costs prospective adoptive parents $3,000, and the application fee for the agency is $500, that is already quite a large amount right out of the gate. Also, there is a match fee of $1,000 as the prospective adoptive parents have not self-matched. The birth mother expenses may easily reach $5,000, and hiring outside legal counsel for her could equal that amount. If the prospective adoptive parents live in Florida, but the child is being born in Ohio, they will need to account for travel, lodging, and food. After airfare, food, and lodging for the four weeks of their ICPC stay, they have easily spent $6,000. They also have paid for counseling for the birth mother at the cost of $1,500 and their post-placement visits of $1,250. While each fee seems small on its own, these adoptive parents have reached finalization at a final cost of $23,500. This figure being only hypothetical and does not account for unexpected expenses or the possibility of financial loss with a failed adoption.

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.

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.


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.
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