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: $25,000 – $60,000
Average Cost Working with an Attorney: $35,000 – $60,000
- 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
- How many agencies the adoptive parents apply to and whether they work with an adoption consultant
- 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 fewer families are waiting to adopt them. Other agencies and some adoptive parents oppose this controversial practice. (This is becoming less common.)
- 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: $2,500
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 intercountry/international adoption for the current top three sending countries is:
- Colombia – The Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Adoption Fees are $14,400 (not including travel or documentation fees). Total ranges from $25,000 – $30,000 (with a wide range of variance for travel requirements and sibling group adoptions).
- India – The Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Fee for 2019 was $15,700. This does not include documentation and notarizations required for a dossier or education fees. Families should expect their total cost to range from $25,000 – $40,000 plus travel expenses.
- South Korea – The Republic of Korea is not a Hague-convention nation, so no Median Adoption Service Provider Convention Fee is documented. Adoptive families report that their total costs ranged from $35,000 to $50,000, including all the documentation, adoption service provider fees, travel, and in-country lodging expenses.
CreatingaFamily.org has several resources to keep you updated on the Cost of Adoption:
- Adoption Comparison Charts
- Adoption in the US: How Many? How Much? How Long Do They Take? (article updated annually)
- Adoption Tax Credit Guide 2022 (article updated annually)
- Why is it Taking So Long to Get an Adoption Match? (article)
More CreatingaFamily.org podcast interviews with experts, articles and resources about the Cost of Adoption can be found at the icons below.
Image credit: Sharon Drummond