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Are you considering adopting? Here’s how much it actually costs

Adding a bundle of joy to the family can be expensive. Example: Childbirth alone costs families about $18,000. And depending on the path you take, adoption can be even more expensive. This is why it is so important to build a baby budget as soon as possible. If you’re hoping to adopt, we’ve done the math to figure out how much you’ll need to get there.

How much does it cost to adopt a child in the United States?

The average adoption cost is between $20,000 and $50,000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. But the costs can vary depending on the type of adoption you choose.

What are the different types of adoption?

There are several ways to adopt a child. But first, you will need to decide whether you want to adopt a child from the United States (ie domestic adoption) or abroad (ie international adoption). From there, you will determine whether you plan to use a private agency, a public agency, or go through an independent adoption. Although using a public agency is the most common route for international adoption, both private and independent adoption are possible if you are considering adopting from abroad. Tip: There may be a big difference in price depending on your choice. Here is a breakdown of what is typically included in adoption fees.

Adoption fees through a public agency

Aka the foster care system. It’s the most economic option, with a maximum average cost of $3,000 per child. Costs are lower because adoptive parents of foster children typically receive a government subsidy and have Medicaid coverage. You’ll still need to cover the costs of must-haves up front. Like a home study, which is when a social worker reviews your criminal and financial records and interviews you/visits your home. But you can get your money back.

FYI: Foster children are usually older, so working with a government agency may not be the best path for you if you’re looking to adopt a newborn or toddler. If you’re interested in public agency adoption, start with a resource like Adopt us kids.

Adoption fees by a private agency

Every agency is different, but private adoption costs typically range from $30,000 to $60,000 per child. This typically includes a home study, legal fees, counseling, parenting classes (hint: classes that teach new parents how to integrate their new addition into the family), medical bills, and social work services. But you should always check with the agency for details of what the fee covers. If the price does not include everything you are looking for, you can always find other options via National Foster and Adoption Directory Search.

Independent Adoption Fee

Think: Get help from an individual adoption attorney instead of an agency after you have found a biological mother interested in the adoption process. This means that you will have to do some of the groundwork. The average costs for an independent adoption are usually between $25,000 and $45,000, which usually includes costs such as birth mother’s medical bills, home study, and legal fees.

How much does it cost to adopt a child through international adoption?

Prices vary. But generally, you should budget between $20,000 and $50,000 for this adoption route. This typically includes court costs, medical care for children, parenting classes, child counseling and translation costs.

Strategies to reduce adoption costs?

You may be able to reduce the cost of adoption with a little research. Because you might be able to…

Get help from your employer

There is a chance that your social advantages the package includes assistance with adoption costs. If you are unsure, chat with HOUR.

Benefit from tax credits

You may be able to cash out tax credits up to $14,440 per child to help cover adoption costs if you meet IRS income requirements. And those credits could be used to cover legal fees, adoption fees, and even meals you need to buy if you’re traveling for adoption reasons.

Apply for grants

Some organizations offer financial assistance, while others help families find grants that cover adoption costs. As the National Adoption Foundation, which can help pay for each step of the adoption process. Or the Adoption Gift Fundwhich provides Adoption Assistance Grants for families adopting vulnerable children who may have experienced neglect or abuse in the past.

Adjust your budget

Now that you have an idea of ​​how much you’ll need to set aside to cover adoption costs, you can incorporate it into your budget as a savings goal. Here’s how to make more room in your budget if you feel stuck. The key: the good savings account can help you reach your goal more easily…with less anxiety.


Adoption can be a great way to expand your family. But it is something that you will have to take into account in your budget. The good news: there are several ways to adopt without emptying your bank account. You have this.

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