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4 Common Types of Adoption Fees

And How to Prepare for Adoption Expenses

Adoption can be expensive. This is something you are likely aware of, otherwise, you wouldn’t be searching for answers about adoption fees and adoption expenses.

It’s good that you’re researching this aspect of the adoption process. Being open about money is an aspect of American culture that can be a bit taboo in many circumstances. It feels awkward to discuss, but it’s important. As much as adoption is an emotional journey, it’s also a practical process. Part of fulfilling the dream of becoming a parent is being prepared for things like adoption fees for the child. If you are like most hopeful adoptive parents, you have a lot of questions:

  • What are adoption fees?

  • Why are there adoption fees, and what do they cover?

  • How do different fees affect adoption prices?

  • Are adoption agency fees the same across the board?

  • What are the expenses of adoption I should be prepared for?

You’re in the right place to find answers. American Adoptions is committed to honesty and transparency when it comes to variable adoption expenses and our adoption agency fees. Any family considering adoption has the right to know what to expect in this area, and total honesty is the first step toward building a trusting connection that is vital for a successful adoption.

Below is an introduction to different types of adoption fees — why they exist, what they cover and what to look for when learning about different professionals’ adoption agency fees.

If you're pregnant, considering adoption and looking for information about adoption costs, you can find a complete guide for birth mother financial assistance here. You can also fill out our online form to connect to a professional who can help get your adoption journey started today.

The Most Common Types of Adoption Fees

The adoption process can be complex. There are state laws, federal laws, regulations and other ethical standards to meet in a legal adoption. Meeting these standards alone takes many moving parts — not to mention the many other elements necessary for a successful adoption, like quality advertising to find the right adoption opportunity. All of these items contribute to adoption agency fees and overall adoption prices. However, not all professionals’ adoption fees are made equal.

The adoption agency fees you are quoted and the services rendered in return will differ depending on the adoption professional you work with. There are some general categories, however, that will be represented in almost all professionals when talking about the types of child adoption fees that will contribute to your overall cost.

Fixed Agency Fees

Except in independent adoptions, adoption agency fees are going to be required of any family in domestic infant adoption. These fees help cover the services provided by the adoption agency as well as its essential operating procedures — things like staff, office space, paperwork and more. The key word to look for when learning about adoption agency fees is “fixed.” This means that no matter how much work agency staff put into your adoption, or what unexpected obstacles arise, the adoption fees from the agency won’t go up. Some agencies do not have fixed fees and will surprise hopeful adoptive families with new fees later on in the process.

Variable Adoption Costs

Typically, an adoption professional will quote you an average range for the total price of adoption rather than one specific number. The reason for this is variable adoption costs. These are adoption expenses that can change depending on each unique adoption situation. Nearly all variable adoption costs are related to the needs of the prospective birth mother. These can be things like:

  • Medical Expenses: When a prospective birth mother chooses adoption, her medical expenses will be covered by a combination of available insurance and adoption fees paid by the hopeful adoptive family. Depending on the insurance policy and any medical needs that arise during pregnancy and delivery, these adoption expenses can vary.

  • Legal Expenses: Legal work for the adoptive family and the prospective birth mother is covered by the adoptive parents during the adoption process. This legal representation will help with things like termination of parental rights and legal consent to the adoption. Because of differences in state laws and the amount of legal work required for the specific adoption situation, these fees vary.

  • Living Expenses: In some cases, living expenses can also be covered for the prospective birth mother. Living expenses could include things like housing costs and groceries for the potential birth mother. The amount of living expenses depends on the birth mom’s unique situation and the laws of the state she lives in. This can change the total price to adopt a child.

What You Should Look for When Learning About Adoption Agency Fees

The first thing to look for in any adoption professional is honesty. There shouldn’t be any hesitation when you are asking about adoption agency fees. Half-answers, estimates that are significantly lower than average and vague responses are not good signs. Being aware of the price of adoption and all of the adoption fees involved is vitally important for a hopeful adoptive family preparing for the adoption process. At American Adoptions, you’ll always get an honest answer. We are committed to complete transparency when it comes to our adoption agency fees and the other adoption expenses you can expect during the process.

Another thing to look for in an adoption agency is how they handle adoption disruptions. While disruptions don’t happen to most families, it is always a possibility. Because disruptions often happen later in the process, a good amount of adoption expenses may already be paid when a family experiences a disruption. What happens to that money?

Many agencies have a “rollover” policy, which means they will roll those adoption expenses over toward the next adoption opportunity. While this is better than nothing, it means you are locked in with that agency. If you would like to work with a different agency, or if you want to step away from adoption to recover emotionally from the loss of the disruption, you will not be able to get your funds back.

This is not how we do things. American Adoptions has a Risk-Sharing Program that refunds adoptive families in the case of an adoption disruption, that way you are in charge of your funds and free to do what is best for you. Our goal is always to serve your family in the best way possible.

If you have more questions about adoption expenses or our specific adoption agency fees, request more free information about adoption.

If you're pregnant, considering adoption and looking for information on adoption costs, complete this online form to connect with a professional today. They can answer all of your important questions and explain adoption financial assistance for birth mothers

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 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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