Private Adoption Costs


When a private adoption occurs in the U.S., it typically means adopting a newborn, which can get expensive.

Private adoption costs depend on which adoption professional – attorney, agency, consultant, social worker, etc. that a hopeful adoptive family chooses to hire to help them through the process. The costs required to hire them will depend on a variety of factors.

Adoption professionals can have different roles, and therefore their costs will depend on the type and amount of support they provide to adoptive families.

Some professionals will provide all the services needed throughout the adoption process. These are known as “full service” professionals, and therefore will likely be the most expensive. Other agencies, attorneys, consultants, facilitators, and social workers will only provide a specific service to families. This allows a family to choose to do some of the work themselves, which can save them money.

While no formal statistics are kept, there are surveys of adoptive families which show the private adoption costs average between $20,000 and $45,000.

The main types of private adoption costs include:

  • Home study (around $2,000 but varies across the U.S.)
  • Travel costs (if adopting from another state)
  • 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
  • Adoption consultant fees

Most adoption agencies have an application fee, which is due when a hopeful adoptive family chooses to apply with the agency. There are some agencies who provide sliding scale fees, which means they will adjust their fees based on the adoptive family’s income or ability to pay.

Some professionals require very little upfront costs, while others may charge a substantial amount (several thousand dollars) to get started with them.

Additional information about private adoption costs can be found at: