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The Average Cost of Adoption - What to Expect

A Guide to Typical Adoption Costs

Adoption is a life-changing and beautiful decision. As with most big decisions, you are likely balancing many thoughts as you begin the adoption process.

Learning more about the adoption process can help you decide where it is best to invest your money, and well-thought-out preparation can put a hopeful adoptive family in the right place to successfully handle the average cost to adopt a baby.

That’s why we created this guide to the average cost of an adoption—so that you can get the expert help you need to make the difficult steps of your journey successful, and decide how to plan financially.

We’re going to break the costs down here, but you can also call American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION or click here for more information from a professional.

If you're a birth mother reading this and searching for information on costs for placing your child for adoption, you can click here to connect with a professional today. You can quickly learn about what choosing adoption means for you and how you are eligible for financial assistance for pregnancy-related expenses.

What is the Average Cost of an Adoption?

The average cost of adoption is dependent on several variables, like the type of adoption, the adoption professional and other unique details of your situation. Each of these factors can influence typical adoption costs. Additionally, for families adopting a baby through a private agency, the current actual expenses of giving birth and completing the adoption process at the time you adopt will influence the overall cost.

The best way to find out our most updated average cost of adoption in the U.S. is to contact our adoption professionals at 1-800-ADOPTION.

What Makes Up the Average Adoption Cost?

A lot of work goes into a successful adoption. There are attorneys, physicians, courts, social workers, administrators, advertisers and more involved in the adoption process. Each of these professionals plays a vital role in the process, and they must work in harmony for each step of your adoption to be successful.

The average cost of adoption is made up of several key categories, with each playing a vital role in a successful placement.

Adoption Agency Fees

In most cases, a hopeful adoptive family will work with an adoption agency. While there are different types of adoption agencies, each will have fees associated with the adoption services it provides. These fees go toward the foundational functions of an agency, like staffing, office space, supplies and more.

These fees will also including things like

  • Screening and counseling for prospective birth mothers
  • General case management throughout the process,
  • Adoption education and support, and
  • Adoption advertising, which is how the agency works to find the right adoption opportunity for an adoptive family.

Each agency has different fees, and the way an agency structures its costs can impact the average cost of adopting a child with that professional.

When you’re considering different agencies, you should look for a fixed fee structure and ask whether or not the agency has expiring contracts. Agencies without fixed fees, or with contracts that expire, are more likely to unexpectedly increase your cost of adoption.

Variable Adoption Costs

These are typical adoption costs that can change based on each individual adoption situation. Variable costs are largely made up of expenses to support the prospective birth mother. These expenses are court-approved based on the adoption laws of the prospective birth mother’s state. There are several types of variable expenses that could come up in an adoption.

  • Legal: The adoption process is guided by laws and regulations. There are piles of paperwork and potential court appearances involved, and an adoption attorney is necessary to navigate it all. The legal costs of the adoption, which can vary from case to case, are included in the typical adoption costs. 
  • Medical: There are many medical expenses for the prospective birth mother and baby during the adoption process. In some cases, the bulk of these expenses can be covered by Medicaid or other insurance. However, the remainder of the bill falls into the variable adoption costs that can affect the average cost of adoption in the U.S.
  • Living: Living expenses help subsidize a prospective birth mother’s financial needs during pregnancy, if necessary and allowed under state law. This type of adoption expense can vary significantly from case to case, but it is something that all hopeful adoptive parents will need to account for.

Variable adoption costs are the primary reason that most adoption agencies will quote adoptive families a range of average adoption costs rather than a hard number.

However, it is uncommon for any of these expenses to skyrocket and cause the average cost of adoption to jump significantly from the initial estimate.

What Is the Average Cost to Adopt a Child with American Adoptions?

American Adoptions’ average cost of domestic adoption is in line with national averages, and we can help you tailor your budget to your needs. To get the most up-to-date average cost of adoption with our program, contact us today.

We pride ourselves on being transparent about costs upfront with any hopeful adoptive parents and on providing the best possible services in return.

As a fully licensed national adoption agency, we work across the country to keep wait times down. Our team of specialists is always responsive to the needs of adoptive parents, and our media team helps create adoptive family profiles and videos to find the perfect adoption opportunity with a prospective birth mother.

How Can I Prepare for the Average Cost of an Adoption?

Most people don’t have tens of thousands of dollars lying around. Being able to afford the average cost of adoption takes planning and preparation. Start budgeting early on if you believe adoption is right for you. Keep in mind that American Adoptions has ways to help you stay within your adoption budget, and you can always speak with your adoption specialist about this.

There are also adoption grants available from many different organizations. As hopeful adoptive parents, you can apply for these grants and loans to help ease the financial burden associated with the adoption process. While no one is giving grants that equal the average cost of an adoption, these grants can still be a big help.

To learn more about the average cost of adoption, you can click here to get more free information.

If you're a prospective birth mother and you need information on adoption and financial assistance, get connected to a professional by completing this form.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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