Cost To Adopt a Child

adopt a child

The question about the real cost of adopting a child was asked so many times around me. People usually expect a simple, encouraging answer about little to no expenses. But, due to the fact that there are a few ways in which you can adopt a child, you can’t come up with a single answer. In the US the average cost to adopt a child is close to $30,000, but this average won’t help you all that much, as the adoption process and price will be influenced by many other factors.

How Much Does Domestic Infant Adoption Cost?

Using an adoption lawyer, or an adoption agency you can opt for a private domestic infant adoption (when a birth mother is relinquished). Adoption cost may vary depending on birth mother expenses, including failed adoption matches, medical costs for the expectant woman, travel, adoption agency/adoption attorney fees, etc. The range for an adoption agency adoption is from $5,000 to over $40,000, with almost 60% falling within $10,000 and $30,000, and the average being around $28,000. You can find some adoption agencies that will have a sliding fee scale, where the adoption process will have a price based on your income.

The average newborn adoption through an adoption attorney will cost $28,000, while the cost can vary between $10,000 and $30,000. If you opt for an adoption lawyer, the adoption cost will be slightly less than the prices of the adoption agency, but that’s because the adoption lawyer can only finalize the adoption papers, while the adoption agency will also make it possible for the birth mother and the adoptive family to meet each other. Another aspect to take into consideration is the fact that attorneys do not provide pre-adoption or post-adoption education and support, which makes spending a little more for the agency worth the money.

How Much Does International Adoption Cost

An average cost for an international adoption won’t help you in any way. Each country has its own prices for the process. The Adoption Country Charts at Creating a Family will be your best choice. The cost will be set by how much the country will charge for the process, airfare expenses and how long will you stay abroad. The top three sending countries for overseas adoption have average costs as seen below:


  • South Korea- The range of cost for adopting from South Korea prior to mid-2013 was $20,000 to $40,000, with the average being slightly more than $30,000. Not enough families have adopted from South Korea since Korea began requiring families to spend a substantially longer period of time in the country. This will add substantially to the cost of adopting from Korea since living expenses in Seoul are high, to say nothing of the cost of lost wages.
  • Ethiopia- The range of costs for adopting from Ethiopia is $20,000 to $40,000, with the average being slightly less than $30,000.
  • China-The range of costs for adopting from China is $20,000 to $40,000, with the average being around $30,000.

How Much Does Foster Care Adoption Cost

Something you can notice is that adopting from foster care is almost free. There aren’t a lot of families that pay more than $2,000 and a lot of them won’t pay anything at all. People that adopt from foster care even receive a monthly subsidy, as a help to raise their kids.

Don’t Forget the Adoption Tax Credit

The Adoption Tax Credit was made permanent in 2013, but is no longer refundable, which means that you have to earn enough to actually owe federal taxes in order to benefit from the Adoption Tax Credit. However, you can carry over the credit for five years, which gives you a total of six years to use the credit. The maximum adoption credit is $12,970 per child and begins to phase out for families with incomes above $194,580. (Creating a Family has tons of resources on the Adoption Tax Credit.)

Should the average working family adopt a child?

If you are in one of the many families that can’t have children for one reason or another or if you feel like a child is missing from your life, then adopting one will be a great choice. It’s always better for children to grow up inside a family, rather than in a foster home. The only thing to consider is that you shouldn’t adopt a child on a whim. You should only make this step if you have a strong need to give a better life and raise a living, breathing person. A child comes with a lot of responsibilities and expenses so be sure you are prepared to offer them the best life possible.

Alec Pow
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