Child Adoption Costs


When someone chooses to adopt a child in the U.S., it typically means adopting from the foster care system.

Adopting from the U.S. foster care system involves children who are in the custody of their state department of child and family services. Thousands of children are currently waiting to be adopted since their biological parents have already had their parental rights terminated.

While adopting infants from foster care is rare, about 40% of the children are six years old or younger and the average age for waiting children is between 7 and 8.

Most families who adopt children from foster care will qualify for financial assistance until the child is 18 years old. Costs for adopting a child from foster care are typically very minimal as the costs are covered by the State and Federal adoption assistance programs. These programs are in place to encourage families to adopt children in the U.S.

Child adoption costs are very low because the assistance programs usually will pay the costs of the adoption professional as well as ongoing monthly payments to the family for the child’s care.

According to a survey conducted by Adoptive Families Magazine, the average cost for a family to adopt from the foster care system is around $2,800.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the average cost of adopting from foster care is between $0 to $2,500.

Adoptive families may also claim the federal adoption tax credit, which will cover most (if not all) out of pocket costs. Children may also qualify for Medicaid health coverage, and in some states, college tuition.

The main types of child adoption costs include:

  • Home study (usually paid for upfront, but may cost around $300)Travel expenses (if adopting from another state)
  • Legal fees
  • Adoptive parent preparation and training

Additional information about private adoption costs can be found at: