The Cost of Adoption


Adoption is both an emotional and financial commitment. Couples, families, or individuals looking to adopt tend to spend more time and money than they could have ever envisioned. At the same time, the process takes a deep emotional toll, as it is common to make it far along the process, have something go wrong, and end up starting all over again. At that point, families are often emotionally invested and it is very painful to start the adoption process again.

Why we’re asking:

We know that there are many avenues families can choose from when adopting, but it is difficult to know which is best. Many children need homes, whether they are adolescents or newborns, international or domestic. Even though the need is there, and the families are ready, adoption is not that easy. There are countless legal roadblocks to navigate to make an adoption happen.

Share your thoughts below:

Why is adoption so expensive?

What are the legal differences between domestic versus international adoption?

How do you know which route is right for your family?

How can a family stay sane during the arduous process?

We look forward to learning more about adoption.

Please post your answers in the comment field below!


  1. There is no doubt that adoption is expensive, but it helps to put the costs into perspective. The average child birth in the U.S. is billed at $30,000 so the $10,000 – $40,000 that nearly 80 percent of U.S. adoptions cost may seem more appropriate in relation. You have to remember that agencies have to make sure they are placing children in safe homes and there are a lot of hoops to jump through.
    If the money is a barrier, there is always the option to foster to adopt. In almost 93 percent of U.S. cases they cost less than $5,000, the most affordable way to start a family. However, you run the risk of losing the child if the birth parent is able to straighten themselves out.

  2. Adoption, particularly private adoption is very expensive. The costs can be staggering. There are many moving parts in an adoption – social workers, legal fees, agency expenses, home study expenses, etc. Many agencies have sliding fee schedules, which may help to make adoption more affordable. As Brian above notes, foster adoption tends to be less expensive, but does not come without its own challenges. Adoption is not paying an agency or a birth mother for a child – it’s a process with many steps to ensure the integrity of that process and as such, it comes at a cost.

  3. Most people never realize fully that there are over 100,000 children (of all ages) currently available for adoption in the foster care system. They will never reunite with their birth families and they need families now.

    Fostering and adopting is usually no-cost, as well. Most children receive a monthly stipend of between $500 and $1,000 until they are 18 years old, even after adoption finalization. They also receive free health coverage. This support offsets the cost of raising children and the stipend can often function as a college fund, saved for later.

    While many prospective parents have dismissed the idea of adopting from the foster care system, the outcomes are often more predictable. For example, there is baseline data on a child who already exists and with those whose birth parents’ rights have been terminated… no danger that the finalizations will be contested (.i.e. Baby Veronica). So much of the guess work of pregnancy, birth, relinquishment and change of heart afterwards are simply not present with a public adoption.

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