Cost of Adoption in the US
It would be nice if we could just tell you a specific set amount that adoption will cost, but alas, it is not that easy. We can, however, give you a range for each type of adoption and tell you the specific factors affecting cost for that type of adoption.
Keep in mind, that with both domestic and international adoptions, you are likely eligible for the federal adoption tax credit (unless you exceed the income limits) and potentially eligible for state adoption tax benefits and employee benefits, all of which will help offset the cost of adoption.
Domestic Infant Adoption
Average Cost Working with an Agency: $43,000
Average Cost Working with an Attorney: $38,000
- How early in the pregnancy you are matched
- Whether the expectant mother has health insurance to cover the birth or the adoptive parents are expected to cover those costs
- How many expectant mothers the adoptive parents are matched with, that don’t proceed to placement, and if the adoptive parents have paid for any of the allowable costs to those mothers
- Travel costs if the baby is born in another state
- Race of the baby. Some agencies charge less of an adoption fee for a full African American child because they have fewer families waiting to adopt these children. This controversial practice is opposed by other agencies and some adoptive parents.
- Whether the agency has a sliding fee scale
- Whether the adoptive parents work with an adoption agency or adoption attorney and what services each provides
- Whether the adoptive parents find the expectant mother on their own
- Whether the adoptive parents pay a separate legal fee for the finalization of the adoption
Foster Care Adoption
Average cost: $2,600
The vast majority of families who adopt from foster care receive a monthly subsidy to help defray the cost of raising their kids until the child reaches age 18. Medicaid coverage and in-state college tuition also are provided in many cases. The adoptive parents will likely be eligible for the Adoption Tax Credit that is not dependent on expenses incurred.
- Whether the adoptive parents work with a public child welfare agency or an agency under contract with the state to place foster children
- Travel cost if the child lives in another state
- Whether adoptive parents have to pay for the required training course
The average cost for overseas adoption for the top three sending countries is:
- China – The Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Adoption Fees are $15,725.00 (not including travel or documentation fees). Total ranges from $25,000 to $35,000 generally.
- Ukraine – The average cost to adopt from Ukraine is about $35,000 (with a wide range of variance due to travel requirements).
- Colombia – The Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Adoption Fees are $14,410.00 (not including travel or documentation fees). Total ranges from $35,000 to $40,000 (with a wide range of variance for travel requirements and sibling group adoptions).
Check our Country Comparison Charts for the cost associated with the top countries placing to the US. Our blog post, Adoption in the US 2020: How Many? How Much? How Long Do They Take? gives updated numbers as well.
More Creating a Family interviews with experts, blogs, and fact sheets on the cost of adoption can be found at the icons below.
Image credit: Sharon Drummond