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Helping You Adopt Within Your Budget

And How We Combat Hidden Costs

As a prospective adoptive parent, you are likely researching various adoption agencies and professionals with one big question in mind: How much will this adoption cost, and will it fall within our budget?

The cost of adoption is a significant concern for many hopeful adoptive families. It can be expensive, and that can be cause for stress. When looking for an adoption professional to work with, it’s good to find one that will help you stay within your budget. That being said, a word of caution: Do not choose an adoption professional simply because they quote you the lowest price.

There are two main reasons for this. First, the unbelievably low price is often unbelievable for a reason. Some adoption professionals will quote families the best-case scenario by not including the hidden fees that may dramatically increase the cost of the adoption. This can be done by excluding certain expenses from the initial quote, or by putting the agency fees on a sliding scale so that those fees continually increase as the adoption goes on. Secondly, while it is important to stay within a budget, adoption is too important to be done poorly. Agencies that provide excellent service can have higher costs associated with the process. In the case of adoption, it’s always worth it to work with the best agency you can find.

American Adoptions respects and supports the need of adoptive families to be fiscally responsible while also remaining committed to excellent service in the adoption process. We are always upfront and honest with families about our estimated adoption costs, and we offer multiple solutions to combat any hidden costs, all of which help ensure that you adopt within your adoption budget.

If you're a prospective birth mother coming across this guide searching for costs when placing a child for adoption, fill out this form to connect with a professional. They can help explain how the adoption process works and how you can receive financial assistance for pregnancy-related expenses in your state.

What are Hidden Costs?

A hidden cost is any variable expense that increases based on the events of an adoption, yet is not accounted for in your adoption budget. Unexpected expenses are the primary cause of increased adoption costs and financial pressure for hopeful adoptive parents. These costs may occur in multiple ways, and all adoption professionals handle them differently:

1. Unexpected Adoption Event

The adoption process is intertwined with the rest of life, which can be messy and unpredictable. Unexpected events occur, and these can impact the cost of adoption. It could be that the prospective birth mother is unable to qualify for Medicaid in her state when it was originally thought that this would be no problem. Sometimes new, unforeseen living expenses arise. When these things happen, they can create unexpected costs that were not accounted for in the original adoption budget, depending on how your adoption professional handles the original budget.

2. Adoption Disruption

An adoption disruption occurs when, for any number of reasons, an adoption opportunity that has already been accepted has to be called off. While adoption disruptions are not incredibly common, they do happen. The first and most obvious impact of an adoption disruption is emotional. It’s extremely disappointing for anyone to experience this. There is also a potential financial impact to an adoption disruption. What happens to all of the fees that have already been paid, especially if this disruption occurs late in the process? The way an adoption professionals handles disruptions can significantly affect an adoptive family’s risk of going over budget.

3. Cost of Living

The initial adoption budget is created before an adoptive family is selected by a prospective birth mother. The amount of adoption living expenses the prospective birth mother is eligible to receive during the process will vary depending on the state she is in. The cost of living is higher in some states than others, and some states’ adoption laws allow for me expenses to be covered. If an adoption budget was set assuming a low cost of living, then this can cause a family to go above their anticipated adoption budget.

How Does American Adoptions Combat Hidden Costs?

Adoption professionals can account for hidden costs in different ways, and some are better at keeping adoptive families within their budget than others.

When presented with an adoption opportunity by American Adoptions, an adoptive family will receive an accurate estimate of the cost of the adoption. We do this by preparing for the “worst-case scenario” and setting a budget at the highest possible cost of adoption. While this may seem scary because the cost is higher, it is better to be prepared for this possibility than surprised by it. Rather than try to appeal with unrealistically low-cost estimates, we prefer total transparency and preparedness.

Our agency prepares for any variances that can occur in any adoption so that each of our families can confidently prepare their adoption budget. Here’s how:

1. Unexpected Adoption Event

When you begin the adoption process with American Adoptions, you will determine your maximum budget within our budget range, which includes all of the variable expenses of the adoption. These can include medical expenses, legal expenses, living expenses and more. After this maximum budget has been set with the help of your adoption specialist, you will be presented with adoption situations that fall within or below your budget based on the total cost of the adoption.

Our agency takes every precaution possible to prepare for unexpected events, including working with a third-party professional to get most birth mothers onto Medicaid to limit medical expenses.

However, if one of those variable expenses unexpectedly increases and brings the cost of the adoption outside of your budget, you don’t have to move forward with that adoption opportunity, and we would then locate new adoptive families to present to the prospective birth parents.

2. Adoption Disruption

In the event of a disruption, many other adoption professionals simply cannot refund the money that the adoptive family invested into the adoption. And if they do, it is often transferred to another adoption through a “rollover” process. When an adoption professional rolls your funds into the next adoption, it means you cannot receive those funds back. That money is locked in, even if you would like to step back from adoption after a disruption or pursue an adoption opportunity with a different agency. This limits your freedom while increasing the financial risk associated with an adoption disruption.

At American Adoptions, we do things differently. We believe you have a right to your funds in the case of an adoption disruption. Thanks to our Risk-Sharing Program, you can receive a direct refund of your adoption expenses in the case of a disruption. The Risk-Sharing Program typically covers all of the lost funds, including all paid living expenses, prenatal care expenses and most if not all legal expenses on a non-contested adoption. The Risk-Sharing Program has covered 100 percent of the lost money in 98 percent of our disruptions since the program’s inception.

3. Cost of Living

Adoption laws are different in each state. The amount of allowable living expenses for prospective birth mothers can vary between states. Because of these variations, our fee estimates have wider ranges than if we worked in only one state.

American Adoptions is a national adoption agency that has completed thousands of adoptions across all 50 states. We understand how the cost of living can affect the overall cost of an adoption, and we base estimates on the highest cost scenarios. In reality, most adoption situations fall below these scenarios, which means our hopeful adoptive families are over-prepared and can stay under their adoption budget.


American Adoptions is fully transparent with our average costs of adopting. We don’t hide any of our fees because we want to make sure that you make the best decision for your family and you can be confident adoption is financially possible for you.

If you are ready to learn more about adopting with American Adoptions or our adoption costs, request more free adoption information.

Prospective birth mothers wanting to get information about adoption costs and financial assistance can fill out this form to speak to one of our experienced adoption professionals 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.