Cost of Adoption in the US
It would be nice if we could just tell you a specific set amount that an 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.
Cost of 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 have 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 fall through, 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
Cost of Foster Care Adoption
Average cost: $2,600
Most children adopted from foster care qualify for a monthly adoption subsidy until the child reaches 18, Medicaid coverage, and in-state college tuition. The adoptive parents will likely be eligible for a 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
Cost of International Adoption
These are the numbers for the current top three sending nations. (There is great variation by country.)
South Korea: $48,000
Check our Country Comparison Charts for the cost associated with the top countries placing to the US. Our blog post, Adoption in the US 2018: How Many? How Much? How Long Do They Take? gives updated numbers as well.
More Creating a Family radio interviews with experts, videos, blogs, fact sheets, and Q and A’s with Experts on the cost of adoption can be found at the icons below.Image credit: Sharon Drummond