Domestic Adoption Costs


With domestic adoption in the U.S., there are licensed adoption professionals who help make sure a child is safely placed with the right family.

Domestic adoption costs will vary widely based on the type of adoption (newborn or foster) a family chooses.

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. Costs for adopting a child from foster care are typically very minimal as the costs are covered by the state.

Adopting a newborn can get expensive, and the high costs can be difficult to understand.

The immediate question that hopeful adoptive families have:

How much does it cost to adopt a newborn?

There is no easy, simple answer. Hopeful adoptive families will need to hire adoption professionals – an attorney, an agency, a consultant, a social worker, etc. to help them go through the process. The costs required to hire these professionals vary based on where they are in the U.S. and on how involved they are in the process.

Each of these professionals can have different roles. They can provide support and guidance to adoptive families, complete a home study, provide legal guidance, and help match an adoptive family with an expectant mother.

Some families want an agency or attorney to hold their hand throughout the process. These are known as “all-inclusive” or “full service” professionals, and therefore will be the most expensive. Other families choose to do some of the work themselves, which saves them money.

While no formal statistics are kept, some surveys show the domestic adoption costs (outside of foster adopt) average between $20,000 and $45,000.

The main areas of domestic adoption costs are:

  • Home study (average $2,000 but varies across the U.S.)
  • Legal fees (adoption attorneys)
  • Pre/Post adoption counseling for birthparents
  • Medical/living expenses for expectant mothers (depends on state adoption law)
  • Adoptive parent preparation and training
  • Advertising/Networking costs to locate and match an expectant mom with a hopeful adoptive family
  • Travel costs (if adopting from another state)
  • Adoption consultant fees

Additional information about domestic adoption costs can be found at: