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Why Is Adoption So Expensive?

Explaining the Cost of Adoption

Adoption is beautiful.

An expectant mother makes an incredibly difficult decision — to choose adoption for her baby, knowing that it will give her baby the best chance at a life full of love and opportunity. This is a brave choice, and it comes from a place of love.

An adoptive family steps into a process that can be difficult, but they stay committed. They dream of becoming parents and cannot wait to give all their love to their baby. At the end of the process, the baby is placed in their arms, and a new family is created.

Adoption is a story that involves both loss and love, pain and joy. It is a beautiful act, and it is one of the bravest things either the prospective birth mother or hopeful adoptive parents will ever do.

So, why is adoption so expensive? Most people have a negative reaction to the cost of adoption. The story of adoption is so pure; why does money have to be involved? Why does adoption cost so much?

It’s a fair question, and we’re here to help you find an answer. While the initial reaction to learning about the cost of adoption is understandable, a better understanding of what it takes to complete a successful adoption process makes clear why the cost exists. The adoption process can be long and complicated. In most cases, it takes a lot of moving parts and skilled professionals to complete. To understand why adoption costs so much, you have to understand what it takes to complete the process.

Why Is Adoption So Expensive?

Adoption is expensive because the process to legally adopt a baby requires the involvement of attorneys, social workers, physicians, government administrators, adoption specialists, counselors and more. While the adoption journey is an emotional one for prospective birth mothers and adoptive families, the adoption process is a legal function. Adoptions completed by fully licensed agencies are held to high ethical standards, which can mean more paperwork and higher costs.

There is more extensive research on how expensive adoption is, but here is a quick breakdown of some contributing costs:

Agency Fees

Regardless of which type of adoption agency you work with, there will be adoption agency fees to cover the services provided by these professionals and the basic operating costs of the agency. A key point to pay attention to is whether or not these fees are “fixed,” meaning they will not increase over the course of an adoption. Some agencies will give a low number upfront to entice families to work with them, but then ramp up fees later in the process. Working with an adoption agency whose fees are fixed from the beginning will prevent these unexpected and unwelcome costs.

Variable Adoption Costs

These are a central factor to the question, “Why does adoption cost so much money?” Variable adoption costs are comprised of expenses that can change in each unique adoption situation. Typically, these are fees paid toward needs of the prospective birth mother. The amount of variable adoption costs incurred in a given adoption situation will be dependent on the birth mother’s unique needs, as well as what is allowed by the adoption laws in her state. Some of these costs can be things like:

  • Medical Expenses: Medicaid or other insurance may be able to cover some of the prospective birth mother’s medical expenses, and those left over are typically included in variable adoption costs.

  • Legal Fees: An adoption attorney will be necessary through the legal aspects of adoption, like termination of parental rights and consent to the adoption. The fees for this work are taken on be the adoptive family in most cases.

  • Travel: If an adoptive family is selected by a birth mother who lives in a different state, there will be travel and lodging costs at the time of placement.

  • Living Expenses: Depending on the applicable adoption laws, some of the prospective birth mother’s living expenses during pregnancy can fall into the variable adoption costs.

Why do adoptions cost so much? As you can see, the cost is a result of the requirements of the process. While the cost of adoption may still be disheartening, hopefully there is some peace of mind in knowing that the expenses are for necessary functions.

How Expensive Is Domestic Adoption?

There are different types of adoption and different adoption professionals. The type of adoption you choose and the adoption professional you work with will determine the cost of adoption for you. Since every adoption is unique, the amount of adoption expenses can vary.

According to Adoptive Families Magazine, the average cost of a domestic infant adoption with an agency is $43,000. This number can change based on a variety of factors. It is by no means set in stone. However, most adoptive families do end up spending close to this in adoption fees and variable adoption costs.

There are several ways a hopeful adoptive family can be proactive in keeping the cost of adoption within their budget, and the most important may be finding the right adoption agency to work with. Adoption agencies structure fees and handle refunds in different ways. Finding an agency that is transparent and trustworthy with finances is important. 

How Expensive Are Adoptions with American Adoptions?

How expensive is domestic adoption with American Adoptions? While every adoption is unique, our domestic adoption programs have an average cost ranging from $40,000–$50,000, which is in line with the national average. Our team of adoption specialists is committed to two core principles when it comes to the cost of adoption:

  1. Complete transparency and honesty

  2. Working in the best interests of the adoptive family and prospective birth mother

American Adoptions’ agency fees are fixed, so there are no surprise fees. We work with you at the beginning of the adoption process to set a budget, and we help you stay within that budget during the process. Our specialists handle distribution of fees for birth mother expenses to make sure all of your money is going to the right places, and we will always look out for your best interests. Additionally, in the case of a disrupted adoption, we have a Risk-Sharing Program that allows the adoptive family to be refunded the fees that have already been paid.

While adoption can be expensive, adoptive families can find peace of mind when working with American Adoptions, because we are here to serve you. To learn more about why adoption is so expensive, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time to speak with an adoption specialist.

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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