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.