Cost of Adoption in the US

costofadoptionintheusIt 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

+ Factors Affecting the Cost of Infant Adoption

  • 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.

+ Factors Affecting the Cost of Foster Care Adoption

  • 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.)
China:  $36,000
Ukraine:  $35,000
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.

+ Factors Affecting the Cost of International Adoption
The country you are adopting from is the primary factor since it affects the adoption fee and travel costs, and the cost of international adoption can vary widely from country to country. See the Adoption Comparison Charts for specifics.

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

Additional Resources

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Q and A's with Experts on Cost of Adoption

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Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.