How Much Does Adoption Cost


The question that may be the most often asked by hopeful adoptive parents, is “How much does adoption cost?”

The answer is one that everyone hopes will be definitive and affordable for all, however this is generally not the case due to the number of ways to adopt and the different types of adoption.

According to several studies and surveys of parents who have successfully adopted, the average cost for an international or a domestic newborn adoption is around $30,000.

Every year, Adoptive Families magazine polls more than 1,000 new families about their adoption experience. One of their most recent polls found that the average domestic newborn adoption cost was about $33,000 when working with an attorney, and about $38,000 when working with an agency.

Families can reduce their costs by choosing to do some of the work themselves, such as the advertising/networking to locate and match with an expectant mother who is looking to make an adoption plan for her child.

The difference between the cost of a domestic newborn adoption and the cost to adopt from the U.S. foster system can be quite dramatic, since the average cost of foster adoption is only $1,730.

For international adoption, the survey showed a range of costs from $34,000 to more than $50,000.

It is often difficult for hopeful adoptive parents to fully understand why the costs can get so high. The adoption process requires the involvement of an adoption professional at least to some degree. A large amount of the average cost to adopt usually goes to paying adoption professionals.

Here is the typical cost breakdown of each type of adoption:

Domestic Adoption (newborn)

Home study fee, adoption agency program fee, attorney fee, advertising/networking (to locate and match with an expectant mother), travel expenses, counseling for birthmother, and costs to put together a parent profile.

Foster Adoption

Home study fee, attorney fee, travel expenses. In most cases, the cost to adopt from the foster care systems is virtually zero as the states provide subsidies to families.

International Adoption

Home study fee, adoption agency program fee, document preparation fee, overseas travel expenses, and child’s document and medical expenses. The fees will vary in an international adoption, because each country has their own set of fees, and the cost of travel can be significantly different depending on how far a family will need to travel.

While adoption costs may seem overwhelming, there are many ways for families to get help. Adoption tax credits, employer benefits, grants, and loans can provide a way for families to pay for the costs to adopt.

Additional resources about the cost of adoption: