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Helping You Adopt Within Your Budget

And How We Combat Hidden Costs

Many families begin their journeys by researching one large question: How much will this adoption cost, and will it fall within our budget?

While some costs are unavoidable due to the nature of adoption, we work with families that have a variety of budgets, and you can call our adoption hotline at 1-800-ADOPTION or click here to get free information about budgeting for adoption.

Everyone’s journey is a little bit different — adoption costs can be variable depending on your agency and the adoption situation you are pursuing.

Some agencies may give you initial cost, only for more unexpected costs to stack up, which can be an additional source of stress. These additional costs are called hidden costs.

Because the cost of adoption is a significant concern for many hopeful adoptive families, we have put together helpful information on hidden costs and adoption budgeting.

Why Choose American Adoptions?

  • Short wait times
  • We protect your budget
  • A licensed, regulated agency

Learn more about the advantages of choosing American Adoptions, here.

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.

Are There Adoption Agencies that Can Help Me Stay Within My Budget?

In short, yes. The best way you can avoid hidden adoption costs is by working with a fully licensed agency like American Adoptions. Our costs are accurate and transparent.

You can feel confident in your adoption budget because we are regularly reviewed by state licensing authorities — which means you can trust our team.

With 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:

  • Some adoption professionals will quote families the best-case scenario by not including 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. These professionals are often unlicensed, so there is no one to hold them accountable for inaccurate cost estimates.

  • Adoption is too important to be done poorly. Agencies that provide excellent service can have higher costs associated with the process. You may experience a longer wait time if you choose an agency that has limited advertising for their adoptive family profiles, and you may run into unexpected roadblocks if you or a potential birth mother lacks the services and support needed.

In the case of adoption, it’s always worth it to work with the best agency you can find.

How Does American Adoptions Help Me Stay Within My Budget?

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.

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, including costs that may be hidden at other agencies.

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.

Below you can see how American Adoptions handles some of the common sources of hidden costs:

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.

How American Adoptions Handles Unexpected Adoption Events:

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 third-party professionals 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

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. Nationally, research shows that 10-25% of adoptions don’t work out.

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?

With most adoption professionals, you simply lose that money.

Financial Impacts Could Include:

  • Inability to have money refunded

  • Recurring costs the longer you wait to adopt

  • Adoption “rollover” which locks you into a specific agency and limits your financial freedom and increases financial risk

How American Adoptions Handles 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.

Since 2009, this financial protection has saved families more than $4.6 million.

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 more expenses to be covered. So there may be a wide range in budgeting depending on what you use to estimate.

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 American Adoptions Handles Cost of Living:

Adoption laws are different in each state, but 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.

Why Choose American Adoptions?

  • Short wait times
  • We protect your budget
  • A licensed, regulated agency

Learn more about the advantages of choosing American Adoptions, here.

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