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.
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.
Home studies take three-six months to complete and run roughly $1,000-$3,000. This cost goes up if the home study is international, since more paperwork is involved to comply with international regulations; it shrinks to $300-500 if the child is being adopted from foster care. (This is because the social worker conducting the home study is being paid by a public agency in foster care cases, as opposed to a private agency or directly by the pre-adoptive parents.) Sometimes, if the social worker determines in the process of the home study that the prospective parents require additional training (courses aimed at handling adoption from a sensitive and informed place with your new family), that can cost another several hundred dollars.

Just two months after giving birth to the son I had placed for adoption, I received an email from my adoption agency addressed to "Dear Prospective Adoptive Parent." It was full of info that would, indeed, have been very useful had I been looking to adopt a child, but as a birth mother, I was on the exact opposite end of that equation. I'd apparently been placed on the wrong email list. And this info included a notification of just how expensive adoption is, including said agency's fees. At the time (2012), the fee paid by an adoptive family for a domestic adoption was $30,000 — the same amount I was making per year at the time. (Today, the fee is $36,000.)
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?
Temperament and personality. Do you prefer a cat that is friendly and outgoing, or one that keeps more to herself? Does she need to get along well with children or other pets, or will she be an only cat? Do you want her to be energetic and playful, or more calm and laid back? Would you like her to be talkative or would you rather she be quiet? These characteristics have a lot more bearing on how happy you'll be with your new kitty than superficial traits like what her coat looks like, so it's important to determine your preferences before visiting the shelter. Luckily shelters allow and encourage you to interact with the cats before adopting in a cat-designated room. This will help you better determine her temperament. If she is open and apt to playing with toys, she probably is pretty outgoing. If she hides in the corner, she probably will take some time to warm up to you. If she is very friendly, purring and letting you pet her, she is likely a great cuddle buddy.
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.
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.
I’m sorry you’ve had poor experiences with adoption agencies, but that doesn’t mean they’re all terrible. Researching agencies is one of the most important things you can do–there’s a lot of unethical agencies out there, a lot of people doing illegal and immoral things. And it can be a lot to wade through, trying to figure out you can trust. But it’s a job you have to do. And if you don’t like their fees or you think they’re being unethical, leave.
Once this home study process is completed and the home study report approved, prospective adoptive parents are typically deemed eligible to adopt, yet the expenses do not stop here. After they have been found eligible to adopt, they may still need to be matched with a birth mother. If they have self-matched, they will not need to pay this fee, however self-matching is not always an easy or efficient journey. Matching fees with vary with each adoption professional and can reach into the thousands.
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.

Pre-natal care and hospital costs will be paid for by the adopting family if the birth parent has no medical coverage and does not have Medicaid. While the baby’s hospital bill may be covered under the adoptive parent’s medical insurance, the birth mother’s expenses are not. Any recommended specialist appointments or testing is the responsibility of the adoptive parent(s).


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.
The Hague Convention was enacted by the UN in an attempt to thwart corruption/trafficking and preserve the right of orphaned children to experience the love and protection of a family through adoption. Under the convention, each country has its own program to place children internationally and determines its own adoption fees. For families living in the US and adopting abroad, they can expect to pay fees for processing federal forms and paperwork as well as adoption fees for the specific country they are adopting through. With each country determining different fees and program costs, this area of expense can vary widely.
An agency adoption is an adoption that occurs through a licensed child-placing agency. The agency will facilitate the adoption process and can possibly be advocating for the birth mother and the adoptive family. This is the type of adoption we utilized with the adoption of our son. Our social worker advocated for our son’s birth mom and prepared us for the adoption process. 

Adoption is expensive because the process to legally adopt a baby requires the involvement of attorneys, social workers, physicians, government administrators, adoption specialists, counselors and more. While the adoption journey is an emotional one for prospective birth mothers and adoptive families, the adoption process is a legal function. Adoptions completed by fully licensed agencies are held to high ethical standards, which can mean more paperwork and higher costs.


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 – Home Study Fee – Similar to the agency adoption, your agency will also charge a home study fee. These again, range from $2,000 to $4,000, depending on what program you are in and what agency you are using. In addition to the traditional home study requirements and paperwork, there may be additional items that need to be provided. Also, since international travel will be required both parents will need passports and/or Visas. This will be additional out of pocket costs that need to be paid. 
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 – 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. 
You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.
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.
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.

A highly affectionate or high-energy cat is a great companion for a homebody. Those with plentiful free time and the virtue of patience can keep up with a rambunctious kitten that will zip around the house, bat toys around, and playfully attack your fingers. If you're looking for a feline friend to share the couch with you at the end of a long day, consider adopting a quiet and loving cat.
Kittens, like puppies, benefit from having a litter of mates for playing, cuddling, and for providing interesting games when no humans are home. So if you want a kitten, it might be best to have two that can socialize as siblings. Young kittens don't always get full training from mom on using the litter box, but two cats together can sometimes help influence each other in this regard. 
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.
Birth Parent Expenses: Birth parent expenses are not an obligation, but an agency can help coordinate prospective adoptive parents pay, as a matter of charity, actual pregnancy related living expenses, including housing, food, transportation, personal items, clothing, and activities provided to the birth mother prior to delivery. Such payments must be permissible by applicable state adoption laws. The amount paid depends on the needs of the birth parents and will be discussed fully with prospective adoptive parents.

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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.
Pre-natal care and hospital costs will be paid for by the adopting family if the birth parent has no medical coverage and does not have Medicaid. While the baby’s hospital bill may be covered under the adoptive parent’s medical insurance, the birth mother’s expenses are not. Any recommended specialist appointments or testing is the responsibility of the adoptive parent(s).
Unlike with other types of adoption, Adopting Parents that adopt through foster care may also receive federal and/or state adoption assistance, which can include medical assistance and monthly maintenance payments. This assistance is made available to parents that adopt through foster care to ensure that finances do not prevent them from adopting and to ensure that a child’s special needs are met until they become legal adults.
6. Your child may celebrate two special days. Often adoptive families celebrate not only their child's birthday but also the day he was adopted. (Sometimes this is called "Adoption Day," "Family Day," or "Gotcha Day.") Whether or not you choose to do something special for Adoption Day is up to you. But some families have a small celebration at home and perhaps look at pictures or a video from the day their child was adopted. Other families get together with their "travel group" (families with whom they traveled to the host country and who adopted on the same day), and have a larger celebration, honoring all their kids.
Part of what drives up agency costs is the fact that adoption professionals need to specialize. For instance, as a birth parent, I had a social worker who only worked with birth parents, and my son's adoptive parents had a social worker who only worked with adoptive parents. This prevented a conflict of interest for our social workers; mine didn't have pre-adoptive parents whispering in her ear. As Kelly Ellison of Your Adoption Finance Coach puts it, “Each professional involved in the process does a specific job, and that's how the prices go up.”
Most adoptions through foster care are done without a charge to the adopting family. In some instances, an out-of-state family may need to pay for the cost of the Adoption Home Study and Post Placement Supervisory Visits . In some states, the adopting parent(s) need to pay for the finalization of the adoption. There will also be a series of trips to the other state to meet and bond with the child before placement into your home. The adopting family covers those costs. A local foster care adoption can cost up to $2,000, not including travel expenses.
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.)
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