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The Average Cost of Adoption - What to Expect

A Guide to Typical Adoption Costs

The average cost of adoption is one of the most difficult aspects of the adoption process for most families. Adoption, if you do not already know, can be expensive. It is a complicated legal process involving state and federal laws, as well as other important regulations. Completing an adoption requires an extensive amount of work, which can add up.

However, the average price of adoption isn’t something you have to be afraid of. A better understanding of what’s involved in the adoption process helps makes sense of the cost, 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. While it’s true that every adoption journey features unique factors that influence the total cost, most families’ average adoption costs fall within the same range. We’re going to break this cost down and help you better understand why adoption can be expensive. If at any point while reading you have a specific question, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption professional.

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. Generally, for families adopting a baby through a private agency, the average cost of adoption in the U.S., according to a report from Adoptive Families Magazine, is $43,000. While costs may vary on an individual basis, families typically spend in this range on the adoption process.

What Makes Up the Average Adoption Cost?

As we said earlier, 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.

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.

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. There is room for flexibility here. 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. As we said above, Adoptive Families Magazine found that the average price for adoption is $43,000. For our domestic adoption programs, the average cost of adoption ranges from $40,000–$50,000.

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 $40,000 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 call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist. You can also request more free information about adoption at any time.

Disclaimer
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. 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 accepts a limited number of families into our gender-specific program. Please contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn whether we are currently accepting families into this program. With this option, families pay an additional Gender-Specific Fee to help our agency locate and work with birth mothers meeting this additional criterion. This fee is in addition to other program fees and covers additional advertising. The fee is not considered part of your adoption budget. Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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