Thursday, May 27, 2010

Costs to Adopt

It costs a staggering amount of money to adopt. It can be as little as a couple thousand dollars to adopt a child in the foster care system or up to sixty thousand dollars. Yep, $60,000. That's a lotta money.

So what are all the fees for? (I'm mostly talking about the fees for a domestic adoption that is not through the foster care system. Some of the fees overlap to other types of adoption, but not all.)

The first thing you need is a homestudy. As near as I can figure this is a social worker meeting with the potential adoptive family and touring their home to make sure that they have "a suitable environment to raise a child". Actually, it's several meetings and a bunch of paperwork. Fingerprints, criminal record checks, medical clearances and that sort of thing. This cost $1000-$1500 or so.

If you decide to use an adoption consultant their fees are generally $2000-$3000.
The adoption consultant is the person who looks out for the interests of the adoptive parents and helps to guide them through the process.

Then there are the fees to the adoption agency. This is a huge chunk of the cost to adopt. My understanding is about $13,000-$15,000. Gulp! Did you know that agencies work in the best interest of the birth parents? Now, don't get me wrong, I am glad that there is someone protecting their interests I just have a lot of trouble wrapping my head around the fact that I am paying that much money to someone who isn't even looking out for my best interest. I was really surprised to find out what these fees cover. Can you guess? Advertising. All that money for advertising. Whew.

Birth mother expenses. This varies a lot. It totally depends on the situation and what the birth mother needs. Anything from maternity clothes, to medical bills to rent so she has somewhere to live. These fees could be minor or thousands and thousands of dollars.

And then there are the expenses involved in actually going to pick up the child from whereever he or she is born. When you adopt a newborn in the US the adoptive parents go to the hospital where the baby is going to be born or is already born. After the birth mother signs away her parental rights and the child is discharged from the hospital the adoptive parents can take the child with them. But until the state the child was born in and the state the adoptive parents live in get on the same page, the adoptive parents cannot leave the state with their child. So this is usually about two weeks in a hotel, plus airfare and any other travel expenses.

The cost is overwhelming. There are no guarantees. We could spend thousands of dollars and still not have another child. I cannot think of a single way to raise the kind of cash needed to make this happen. Well, I could think of a couple of ways but other than winning the lottery none of them are legal.

So we are at a crossroad. Do we go for it? Do we wait until we can save more money? Do I get a job to help with the expenses? There don't seem to be any good answers. There sure as heck aren't any easy answers.


  1. Praying for you as you work through this decision. Keep me posted.

  2. In my country adoption cost a lot of money too, I know it because we`ve done it. I wish it did not cost anything because then more people would be able to do it. Good luck with your decision.

  3. Wow. This is staggering, and I had no clue...I wouldn't, because I've never approached the necessity for adoption. I wonder how many other people don't know about this inequity? It's no wonder that so many people are turning to out of country adoptions--they're probably significantly cheaper.

    I'm sorry that on top of your longing for a child you have to deal with the financial aspects of it...I truly feel like money is something that should never have to enter into that type of decision. Best of luck to you. Prayers,


  4. Lori,

    The costs to adopt internationally are somewhat different, but not significantly less. The cost for travel is higher and there is a ton more paperwork that has to be done, translated and approved. In many countries paying bribes is also considered a routine part of adoption fees. I know that the fees vary by country somewhat, but I recall seeing them from about $25k-$60k if I remember correctly.


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