How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Child?

A List of Private Adoption Costs

Easily the most common question we are asked is "How much does it cost to adopt a child?"

There are many factors that determine how much it costs to adopt a child, including:

  • whether you adopt through a domestic adoption agency, a domestic independent adoption, an international adoption professional or the foster care system.

  • the variable adoption expenses (medical, legal, living) required to complete the adoption.

  • the type of adoption professional you choose and how they structure their costs.

American Adoptions specializes in private domestic adoptions of healthy newborns for adoptive couples. In 2015-2016, our average total adoption cost for our two adoption programs were:

  • Traditional Program: $44,000 - $48,000

  • Agency-Assisted Program: $38,000 - $41,000

Adoption Costs Benefits of American Adoptions

American Adoptions includes several important benefits worked into our total adoption costs, all of which helped our adoptive families collectively save hundreds of thousands of dollars last year:

1. Fixed Agency Fees

Our agency fees remain fixed regardless of the total cost of the adoption or the number of hours required by our staff to complete the entire adoption process.

2. Refunds

In 2015-2016, 85 percent of adoptive families received a refund from their adoption, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. American Adoptions always prepares families financially for the worst-case scenario by collecting medical expenses to cover any retainers, co-pays or out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by Medicaid or other insurances. Once the adoption is finalized, any unused money for medical expenses is given directly back to the adoptive family.

3. Adoption Disruption Insurance/No Rollover Policy

Most adoption professionals are unable to offer any kind of adoption disruption insurance, but the ones who do usually use a “rollover” process, meaning they roll your lost money over into a future adoption situation. So what are the disadvantages of this policy?

  • You and your money are stuck with the adoption professional in hopes that you will receive another adoption opportunity, yet there is no guarantee that you will.

  • If you locate an adoption opportunity with another adoption professional, you are unable to pursue it with the money you’ve already invested.

  • If the adoption professional goes out of business, your money is lost forever.

Instead of using the rollover process, American Adoptions makes it very simple for families with our Risk-Sharing Program. In the event of an adoption disruption, any post-activation money you’ve invested with our agency, such as living expenses, medical expenses, legal expenses, termination expenses and fixed agency fees are directly refunded to you so that you can pursue another adoption situation immediately. Even though some families suffer emotional disappointments, they never suffer financial disappointments.

If you are concerned with how much adopting a child may cost, remember that you set your maximum adoption budget and will be presented adoption situations of women who fall within or below your budget based on the total cost of the adoption. You may also be presented with adoption situations where the adoption cost is above your budget, based on the birth mother’s circumstances throughout her pregnancy. You are not obligated to accept these adoption opportunities; however, many families have pursued these situations outside of their budget because they were able to adopt sooner.

List of Private Adoption Costs with American Adoptions

Some prospective adoptive families wonder why it costs a significant amount of money to adopt a child, especially when the cost of foster care adoption is minimal.

The following is an itemized list of American Adoptions’ services and fees required to successfully complete an adoption:

Professional Services for Adoptive Parents

  • Counseling and educational preparation for adopting a child

  • Orientation conferences, meetings and adoption seminars

  • Arrange, coordinate and oversee entire adoption process

  • Support and education throughout adoption process

  • Contact with home study professional

  • Hospital documentation, retrieval of medical records

  • General case management services and file documentation

  • Risk-Sharing Program in the event of a disruption

  • Post-adoption support gatherings and events

Professional Services for Birth Parents

  • Screening and evaluating of birth parents’ commitment to adoption

  • Adoption counseling and education

  • 24/7 support throughout adoption process

  • Develop adoption plan around birth mother’s needs and wishes

  • Develop hospital plan and coordinate with health professionals

  • Arrange housing and travel arrangements if necessary

  • Post-placement adoption counseling

  • Birth Mother Scholarship Fund

Birth Parent Expenses

Newborn Care and Services

  • Hospital costs not covered by Medicaid or insurance

  • Original birth certificates

  • Physical examinations by a pediatrician

  • Any necessary foster care services

Legal Expenses

  • Termination of parental rights, including publications, court costs, attorney fees

  • Finalization of adoption

  • Legal counsel for adoptive family and birth mother based on state laws

  • Court reporting services

Investigative Expenses

  • State and local background screenings

  • State abuse registry clearances

  • Diligent search for birth fathers

Adoptive Family and Birth Parent Correspondence


  • Extensive advertising: Google/Bing, Yellow Pages, crisis pregnancy centers, hospital/maternity wards, networking with other adoption professionals, branding and marketing across the country 

  • Internal media team: Dedicated to consistenly improving and building affiliate website to stay high on search engine rankings, all in an effort to locate as many adoption opportunities as possible for our adoptive families.

  • Adoptive Family Profile services

  • Adoptive Family Video Profile services

  • Website updates and maintenance

Office Expenses

  • Rent

  • Phones

  • Office Supplies

  • Postage

  • Utilities


  • Salaries

  • Health insurance

  • Mileage reimbursement

This is just a brief look into the overall process of growing a family through adoption. To learn more details about how much it costs to adopt a child with American Adoptions, call 1-800-ADOPTION today or request free adoption information.

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