When preparing to start the adoption process, it’s a good idea to ensure you understand the costs involved and prepare the correct budget. Your budget will dictate which method of adoption you are able to pursue. In this article I’ll cover the typical costs that you can expect to pay for different types of adoption, including private domestic, public domestic and international.
Private Domestic Adoption
In terms of adopting a child domestically, using a private adoption agency is by far the most expensive route, but it also provides you with the most freedom. The fees that they charge for their services fund private adoption agencies; this is what makes them more expensive when compared to public agencies.
If you choose to go the private adoption route, you can expect agency fees between $5,000 and $30,000+. Fees vary considerably between agencies so if you do choose private, then I recommend researching the best agency for you and finding out what the typical fees are.
Fees for private adoption agencies typically go towards the following services:
In order to save money, it is now legal in most states for birth parents to advertise that they are looking to place their child for adoption upon birth. Whilst you will still need to go through an agency for the legal process, finding a birth parent yourself can save money on fees.
According to ‘Adoptive Families Magazine’ of the 1,100 families surveyed, the average cost of adoption through a private agency in 2012/2013 was $39,966.
Public Domestic Adoption
Public adoption agencies are the cheapest route that prospective adoptive parents can take for a domestic adoption. Fees for public agencies can range from $0 to $3,000. As public agencies are funded by federal, state or local sources, this cost isn’t passed on to the clients.
The most expensive part of a public domestic adoption is by far attorney fees, these can cost on average $1,500.
Choosing a public adoption agency isn’t for everyone, as they typically place children that are in the foster care system. This means that children are often older (up to 17 years old) and often have special needs that the prospective family should be prepared to take care of.
Fees for public adoption agencies typically go towards the following services:
Adoptive Families Magazine’s research in 2012/2013 showed that the average cost for adoption through a public agency was $2,744, over 10 times cheaper than a private agency.
Choosing to go with an adoption internationally will be similar to private domestic adoptions, but with some extra costs on top. There are no public agencies that deal with international adoption, which means that adoption fees will almost always surpass $35,000. Adoption fees differ depending on which country you are adopting from.
With international adoption, prospective parents will often need to travel to and stay in the country that are adopting from. This can add on to the total cost of international adoption significantly, no matter how much time you spend there.
Fees for international adoption agencies typically go towards the following services:
Adoptive Families Magazine also conducted research into the average international adoption fees for 4 different countries:
The fees for adoption can vary significantly from case to case, so I recommend doing your own research and talking directly to your chosen agency to find out approximate costs. Each state also offers varying levels of adoption assistance that can help you to pay for the adoption.