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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Child?

Explaining the Cost Associated with Adoption

Easily the most common question we are asked is "How much does adoption cost?" There are many factors that determine how much it costs to adopt a child, including:

  • Whether you adopt through a domestic adoption agency, an 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

The cost associated with adoption is something every hopeful adoptive parent thinks about. Most people know that adoption can be expensive, but aren’t sure exactly what that looks like.

Hopeful adoptive parents approach the subject with many concerns, so it’s understandable if you are worried about how much it costs to adopt a child.

American Adoptions specializes in private domestic infant adoptions. If you are adopting from foster care or considering international adoption, how much it costs to adopt a child will differ from what is outlined here. We are specifically looking at the question, “How much does adoption cost in the U.S.?”

It can be a complicated question to answer, but it’s good that you are asking. American Adoptions is committed to complete transparency when it comes to the practical aspects of this process, like how much it costs to adopt a baby with our agency.

As hopeful parents, you deserve to know exactly what adoption is going to cost, why that cost exists and what services you are receiving in return. While some adoption professionals try to hide extra fees in the footnotes, you won’t find that here. If you’re wondering how much it costs to adopt, you’ve come to the right place.

The following information will break down adoption costs in the United States for prospective adoptive families.

Prospective birth mothers, you can get information on financial assistance available to you by filling out this online contact form. You can also check out this complete guide to financial assistance for birth mothers placing a child for adoption.  

How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Baby in the United States?

The cost associated with adoption will differ depending on a number of factors, including the adoption professional you work with and the current actual expenses to complete an adoption at the time that you adopt. For the most up-to-date average total adoption cost for our program, contact us today.

Some of the costs for adoption that you find may seem high. However, there are reasons for the cost. Understanding those can help paint a clearer picture of why these costs are necessary.

Adoption Costs and Benefits of American Adoptions

Any family who commits emotionally and financially to the adoption process deserves an adoption professional who is equally committed. There are several ways American Adoptions provides important benefits worked into our total adoption costs, all of which exist to help our adoptive families collectively save hundreds of thousands of dollars:

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. Some adoption professionals will dramatically increase fees as the adoption process goes on, which can add up quickly and drastically increase how much it costs to adopt a child.

2. Refunds

Many of our adoptive families receive a refund from their adoption, ranging from several 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 and all final billing is complete, unused money for medical expenses is given directly back to the adoptive family.

3. Adoption Disruption Insurance/No Rollover Policy

Many families never experience an adoption disruption. However, it can happen. It’s something you have to consider, especially when asking how much adoption costs in the U.S. An adoption disruption can occur late in the process after you have already put significant financial investment into the adoption. What happens to all of those costs that have already been covered?

Most adoption professionals are unable to offer any kind of adoption disruption insurance, and the few that do usually use a “rollover” process. This means your lost money will be “rolled over” into a future adoption situation. So, what are the disadvantages of this type of policy?

  • You and your money are stuck with the adoption professional in hopes that you will receive another adoption opportunity, which is not guaranteed.

  • 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.

  • If you would like to step away from adoption to process the emotional loss of an adoption disruption, your money stays with the adoption professional.

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, fixed agency fees and most legal expenses are directly refunded to you. Even though some families may suffer emotional disappointments, they never suffer financial disappointments.

If you are concerned with how much it costs to adopt a baby, remember that you work with your adoption specialist to set your maximum adoption budget and will be presented adoption situations that fall within or below your budget based on the total anticipated cost of the adoption. You may also be presented with adoption situations where the adoption cost is above your budget, based on the prospective 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

Let’s get to the “why” behind all these costs. How much adoption costs is based on a wide array of necessary expenses to complete a successful adoption. There are many moving parts in this process. As an adoptive family, you deserve as much transparency as possible about what your funds are going toward. That transparency is the key to trust, which is vital in the adoption process.

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

  • Arranging, coordinating and overseeing the 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 prospective birth parents’ commitment to adoption

  • Adoption counseling and education

  • 24/7 support and counseling throughout adoption process

  • Developing an adoption plan around a prospective birth mother’s needs and wishes

  • Developing a hospital plan and coordinating with health professionals

  • Organizing housing and travel arrangements if necessary

  • Post-placement adoption counseling

  • Birth Mother Scholarship Fund

Birth Parent Expenses

  • Prenatal care not covered by Medicaid or insurance

  • Delivery and hospital costs not covered by Medicaid or insurance

  • Court-approved living expenses for pregnancy-related costs

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 and attorney fees

  • Finalization of adoption

  • Legal counsel for the 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


  • 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 consistently improving and building affiliate websites 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

Believe it or not, this is just a brief look into what is required by the overall process of growing a family through adoption. Every adoption is unique. There may be unique needs and expenses involved that can impact how much adoption costs. One constant through all adoptions is this: American Adoptions will be honest and clear about how much it costs to adopt a child and will provide excellent, passionate service to help your family grow through adoption.

To learn more details about how much it costs to adopt a child with American Adoptions, request free adoption information.

If you’re a prospective birth mother looking for information on financial assistance when giving a baby up for adoption, complete this form to connect with a professional today.

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.