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Adoption Costs

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Adopting from the U.S. foster care system is generally the least expensive type of adoption, usually involving little or no cost, and states often provide subsidies to adoptive parents. Stepparent and kinship adoptions are often not very costly. Agency and private adoptions can range from $5,000 to $40,000 or more depending on a variety of factors including services provided, travel expenses, birthmother expenses, requirements in the state, and other factors. International adoptions can range from $7,000 to $30,000.

While there may be a small fee required up front, any requirement that all fees be paid immediately following application should raise red flags. When talking with your professional, ask about the payment schedule, and about sliding scale fees if your financial resources are limited.

There are a growing number of resources to help manage the cost of adoption, including tax benefits (some of which apply to public agency adoptions as well), loans, employer benefits, and others.

Visitor Comments (122)
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Steven - 12 months ago
16 22 347
Think finding a home for a child shouldn't cost anything. More kids would prob find a loving home this way. I would devote my home to a child in need. $5000-$40000 could be spent on the child you are providing the home to. #1
Vladimir - 11 months ago
13 21 204
you would think adopting a child should be free because its another human and we should not sell people but i guess that just shows that there are people who are greedy and just want he money. #2
Jill - 11 months ago
14 11 60
My husband and I have, over the last several years, adopted 7 children from foster care. This was the easiest way to adopt children of all ages, and my state didn't charge for the adoption of a foster child. #3
mel - 10 months ago
4 5 36
My husband and I have been foster parents for the last 6 years.We have cared for nine children four of them have stayed with us permanently. My daughter is about to turn five in august. She was placed with us when she was three months old and we adopted her when she was one. We are currently foster a sibling group of three a boy thats almost three, he was placed with us at fourteen months and his twin sisters that are almost four,they have only been with us for four months.We are going to be adopting them as well.There is a great need for foster parents. I would encourage anyone wanting to adopt to consider foster care its not always easy esp when they leave. Sometimes they stay for a year sometimes only a couple of months but you do the best you can for them while they are with your family.I know everyday that we are doing the right thing for these children and Im gratefull that I get to be their mom. #4
Brittani - 8 months ago
1 5 28
I think adoption is great although trying to adopt is finically frustrating. These children need a loving home to go to. I think background checks should be done as well as home visits and the paperwork that finalize the adoption process but other than that there should be no cost. My husband and I would love to adopt, but we don't have 40,000 dollars just laying around to put up front for adoption. Instead we should be saving that amount of money for that child's education, clothes, food, sports, gas to be their taxes drivers, diapers, wipes and family vacations to create memories. Its a shame! People now days are just money hungry. Instead of placing these children in GOOD, loving homes. #5
Guest - 10 months ago
4 6 22
I agree with Vladimir. Why should we pay to Adopt a child and help get a child out of the system into a loving home with loving parents that could love them and take care of them. It is like Agencies are selling children behind closed doors just because they are an Agency. I have been going to classes and doing things trying to Adopt a child. I am a single afro american woman who has had problems having my own child and I want to adopt a child, but I can't afford these crazy prices that they want me to pay. Why are we selling these children. And you don't have to pay to become a Foster Parent, but if you want to Adopt you have to pay for the children. This is wrong and something does need to be done about it or changed. Even if you do the surogate it cost money to do that. We single people just can't get a break. All I want is a child to care for and love of my own. I want to become a mother so bad it hurts. #6
Laurie - 9 months ago
5 28 33
When we talk about adoption fees I want you all to remember this...the child you are adopting is receiving medical care, a home, and food while they wait for an adoptive family. Also the company you work for has to have social workers and paper pushers to make sure you are placed with a child. These things are not free and cost a lot of money to provide. I gues we could stick the kids back in large orphanages with large ratios and less healthcare to make sure that your child is cheap for you. Also think about how much it costs in medical fees to have a child naturally. I am sure that would not be considered to steep a price for you. So before you condemn the price of adoption consider all the facts. If you want a free child look at foster care. Because then you can have what you want without paying or the child's upkeep as they wait for you! #7
Dana - 9 months ago
3 5 16
There are to many children without a family to call their own.To many people willing to adopt but upfront expense is to much.I hope one day the agency sees more of the children's need for a loving family.than dollar signs #8
Joseph - 9 months ago
1 2 11
This is simply ridiculous, I have spend about 4 years now attempting to find some how a way to adopt a child. The cost, the paper work, the test, and more… so what do the adoption agencies do when the child reach 18? Kick them out because they are not longer a profit? Outrageous… it feels as we are purchasing a piece of meat. My heart cry for those kids… I will keep trying and praying… #9
Jessica - 11 months ago
4 7 16
I agree Chris that there should be fees, but the amount most are expected to give is unreasonable. That money should go to the child. I think if you show decent income and stable housing and a background check that should be sufficient. It is ashame so many people pop out kids like candy and can't take care of them properly.Its sad a lot of us can't just have one. At the same time its expensive but so worth it in long run. Good luck to everyone. #10
Laura - 10 months ago
0 2 8
I would love to adopt. Providing a child that has no home, a new home with new opportunities would be wonderful. It Hurst my heart to think of the children out there with no homes, no family, and no one that cares for them. I have talked to my fiance and we both agree on adopting a girl from another country. My parents don't think it's a good idea, but I think it would be a wonderful opportunity. Cheers To those who plan to adopt! #11
vladimir - 11 months ago
1 3 9
I think if a parent is going to adopt a child they need to be ready to take on the responsibilities of being a parent they might want to be a parent sometimes you have to mess up to find out that you arent ready for the responsibilities of being a parent when I was a kid my parents had died and then so did my grandparents so I had to live with my 2 older sisters that adopted me then, they realized they werent ready for a kid and sent me to a boarding school now one of them has their own kids and is ready for them but to all those soon to be parents just one piece of advice make sure you are completely ready for kids #12
JD - 6 months ago
0 3 7
Adoption fees cover staff time to complete family/home assessments, obtain criminal, domestic violence and sex abuse clearances, provide counseling to prospective families, provide counseling to pregnant women and couples seeking information on adoption. All these components are in place to keep children as safe as possible and prevent fraudulent activities such as "re-homing" and "sex trade". Fees pay for office space, electricity, phones, regulatory fees, and office supplies, as well as the cost of keeping a child in care in International adoption. Numerous adoption agencies close each year because the cost to the agency is not supported by fees charged. #13
Contessa - 7 months ago
0 4 7
There's some humor to the commentary here about how 'babies should be free.' Congrats, making a baby IS free. The reason it costs so much to adopt is because, usually, the adoptive parent covers the medical costs of the birth mother and all of the hospital fees. The birth mother isn't milking you for money at five to seven grand, if anything, that literally only covers medical and hospital bills. It costs, uninsured, up to 15000 to have a baby in a hospital. Prenatal care can go up to 2000, and some childbirth classes are up to 200 dollars per class. You're not being milked for your money -- you're paying the financial fees of pregnancy and childbirth that you /would/ be paying would you and your partner be having children on your own. Being pregnant is expensive, and most people can't actually afford it if they're uninsured. And even if they are insured, it can be expensive. If you don't want to pay hospital fees, adopt through foster care. #14
Juliana - 4 months ago
0 1 5
I am 48 years old. I have never had any children. It is heartbreaking for any woman who always wanted to be a mother and thought it will happen if its meant to be, to find out it was never meant to be. Why then wasnt it meant to be for me? Why then must I pay a fortune before hand to help 2 people myself and a needful child? I will spend plenty on the childs life and more on my life creating memories if I could only somehow afford to make that first purchase. How horrible it sounds to purchase a child. Attorneys and laws need to be changed so both children and wishful parents can unite. Not every potential parent has the never ending pocket book like Angelina. I couldnt get pregnant so does that mean I have to pay for a child? #15
kim - 9 months ago
1 0 7
I thought adoption was cheaper if you become a foster parent first. Then adopt through the system. #16
Emmy - 3 months ago
0 0 5
Any kind of adoption is completely free in the UK. Thank goodness because my parents would definitely would booty have been able too afford to pay to adopt me but they are the best parents in the world and I've never wanted for anything #17
nicole - 10 months ago
4 8 13
I totally agree that adoption especially for special needs children should be less than thousands of dollars. If they really wanted to think about the kids, they would place them and not think of the money. It takes money to feed and cloth these kids. Wouldn't it be nice to give a child to a loving couple wether or not they were gay or single so the child would be happy? Then chance that never the child will be placed and grow up without a loving family. For me its a business and at the children's expense. #18
KEITH - 6 months ago
0 0 4
Who's going to pay for this?, Who's to blame, Quit looking at the past and provide these kids a future. We have ALL already paid enough in taxes for them, Get them out of the system and in to a family and there wont be any more cost to worry about. #19
Sarah - 8 months ago
0 7 7
I am appalled that none of you are researching before making uneducated comments. You're not BUYING a child. It's not free because you're paying for the birth mother's medical costs, possibly living expenses and therapy, and the legal fees for the adoption. The money has a PURPOSE people. It's not a price tag on a child. #20
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