Cost of Adoption in the US

costofadoptionintheusIt 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.

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 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

Cost of 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.

+ 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

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.

+ 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


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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.