Five Common Questions About Adoption Costs

And American Adoptions' Policies on Each

Even though all private adoption professionals share the same goal of growing families through adoption, they all have their own methods and costs for each of their services.

Before choosing an adoption professional, research several of their adoption costs and safeguards to protect you from exorbitant costs of certain adoption situations.

The following are five questions about adoption costs that you should ask adoption professionals, along with American Adoptions’ policy on each:

1. What is included in the total cost of the adoption that is quoted to us?

When you are conducting your research, the total cost of the adoption is important to your budget planning. It is also important to know what is all included in an adoption professional’s fees quoted to your family and does it include living expenses, medical expenses, legal and termination fees, agency fees and advertising fees (and if advertising fees expire).

Some adoption agencies do not include all the services needed to complete a successful adoption, which could make their total adoption cost appear less expensive.

American Adoptions’ total average costs include living expenses, medical expenses for birth mother and baby, legal and termination fees, agency fees, non-expiring advertising fees, and travel for the agency if necessary.

2. What expenses are variable with your agency?

Depending on each adoption situation, certain expenses will usually always vary, including medical expenses, legal and termination expenses and living expenses. However, what other of the agency’s expenses may increase as the adoption progresses?

Advertising is one of the most common expenses that may increase the longer it takes to find your family an adoption opportunity with a birth mother. How does the adoption agency handle advertising expenses? Do they have a time limit on their advertising contract of one or two years that may become increasingly expensive the longer placement takes to complete?

American Adoptions’ include the variable expenses into the average total cost of the adoption. The advertising provided is a non-expiring agreement and your advertising will be valid until you succeed in adopting with American Adoptions.

3. How does your agency make sure we stay within our adoption budget?

Variable expenses such as medical, legal and living (and possibly advertising) expenses can push the overall cost of the adoption from within a family’s budget to outside of a family’s budget.

What happens if the birth mother is unable to get on Medicaid, dramatically increasing the medical expenses? What happens if all of the family’s advertising funds have been used without finding a birth mother? Are you stuck with the costs?

American Adoptions families are allowed to select the criteria with an Adoption Planning Questionnaire and also set a maximum budget for their adoption plan. If you are presented with a situation but certain criteria or the cost of the adoption is above or outside the criteria set forth in your questionnaire, you may decline the situation.

4. How are birth mother expenses handled with your agency?

Birth mother expenses (or living expenses) are the court-approved funds that adoptive families provide to birth mothers to help them cover their pregnancy-related expenses for items such as rent, maternity clothing, utilities, personal hygiene and groceries. Does the adoption professional help mediate these funds to ensure they are used for their intended purpose?

At American Adoptions, an Adoption Specialist works with each birth mother to assess her personal needs and help create a budget based off both her needs and applicable state law. American Adoptions then follows the budget and guidelines for provision of living expenses, attempting to directly pay third parties such as landlords and utility companies.

5. What happens if the birth mother chooses to parent?

All adoption professionals work with pregnant mothers who end up deciding to parent; however, not all of them handle these failed adoptions the same way. So what happens to your living expenses? Medical expenses? Legal expenses? Agency fees? Advertising expenses? Are any of these fees refunded immediately to you to try to adopt again? Or are these fees “rolled over” into another adoption attempt, which may or may not occur?

American Adoptions’ Risk-Sharing Program refunds all agency fees, living expenses, medical expenses and termination fees on a non-contested adoption directly back to you, and keeps your advertising expense valid, so you may immediately regain active status to pursue new adoption opportunities.


These are the most popular questions we receive about adoption costs, but they are not the only questions we receive. If you have unanswered questions, read How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Child with American Adoptions, request free adoption information, or call 1-800-ADOPTION.

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