How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Child?

According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, child adoption may cost you up to $60,000 through a private agency.

However, those adopting through the foster care system may not have to pay anything.

How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Child

Costs Associated with Adopting a Child

Adopting a child can be a fulfilling and life-changing experience. However, knowing the various costs associated with each adoption method is important. Here is an overview of the costs associated with foster care system adoption, private agency adoption, independent adoption, and intercountry adoption:

Foster Care System Adoption – Minimal Costs

Adopting through the foster care system is generally the least expensive option. The costs are often minimal or even waived for families who adopt a child in foster care. A typical breakdown of costs is shown below.

  • Home study fees: $0 to $3,000 (sometimes covered by the state or waived)
  • Legal fees: $0 to $2,500 (often reimbursed by the state)
  • Post-adoption services: Varies, but may be subsidized or provided by the state

Foster Care System Adoption

Private Agency Adoption – $25,000-$65,000

Depending on the agency and services provided, private agency adoptions can vary significantly in cost. The costs usually include the following.

  • Agency fees: $5,000 to $40,000
  • Home study fees: $1,000 to $3,000
  • Birth parent expenses: $0 to $15,000 (medical, legal, living expenses)
  • Legal fees: $2,000 to $7,000
  • Post-adoption services: Varies, may be included in agency fees or charged separately

Private Agency AdoptionImage Source: Adoption Agencies

Independent Adoption – $20,000-$45,000

Independent adoptions, facilitated by attorneys or adoption professionals, can have similar costs to private agency adoptions. These adoptions may involve more direct contact with birth parents. A typical cost analysis is given below.

  • Home study fees: $1,000 to $3,000
  • Birth parent expenses: $0 to $15,000 (medical, legal, living expenses)
  • Legal fees: $5,000 to $15,000 (includes attorney fees and court costs)
  • Advertising and networking: $1,000 to $5,000
  • Post-adoption services: Varies, may be provided by adoption professionals or therapists

Independent Adoption

International Adoption – $15,000-$75,000

Intercountry adoptions can be more expensive due to travel costs and additional fees associated with international regulations. The costs are summarized below.

  • Agency fees: $15,000 to $30,000
  • Home study fees: $1,000 to $3,000
  • Foreign country fees: $5,000 to $30,000 (includes legal, administrative, and orphanage fees)
  • Travel expenses: $7,000 to $15,000 (includes airfare, accommodations, and in-country transportation)
  • Immigration and visa fees: $800 to $2,000
  • Post-adoption services: Varies, may be included in agency fees or charged separately

International Adoption

Different Ways to Pay Adoption Costs

The adoption costs may be too high for many people. Many people pay these costs by taking loans or using up their savings. Here are a few ways to pay adoption costs without breaking the bank.

Workplace Benefits

Many employers offer adoption assistance as part of their employee benefits package. This support can come in various forms, such as financial assistance, reimbursement for adoption-related expenses, or additional paid time off during the adoption process.

With an average per-child benefit of around $8,300, workplace benefits can help offset some of the costs of adopting a child. To take advantage of these benefits, speak to your employer’s human resources department to learn about their specific adoption assistance program and how to apply.

Tax Credits

The Adoption Tax Credit is a federal tax credit designed to help adoptive parents with adoption costs. For eligible families, the credit can be worth up to $14,890, depending on income and the actual expenses incurred. The credit is non-refundable, which can reduce your tax liability to zero, but any remaining credit will not be refunded as cash.

Some states also offer additional tax credits or deductions to help with adoption expenses. To learn more about the tax credits available in your area, visit the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) website, or consult a tax professional.


Numerous organizations provide grants to adoptive families to help cover adoption costs. These grants are typically awarded based on factors such as financial need, the type of adoption, or the child’s special needs or circumstances.

Each grant organization has its own eligibility criteria and application process, so it’s important to research and apply to those that are relevant to your situation. You can find a list of adoption grant organizations on websites like Adoptive Families, the National Adoption Foundation, or the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.


How much does it Cost to Adopt an Adult?

Adopting an adult is typically less expensive than adopting a minor, as many of the costs associated with minor adoptions, such as home studies and agency fees, do not apply. The primary expenses involved in adult adoption include.

Legal fees: Legal fees for adult adoptions can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more, depending on your location and the case’s complexity. These fees cover drafting the necessary legal documents, court filings, and attorney representation during the process.

Court fees: Court fees for adult adoptions vary by jurisdiction but usually range from $100 to $500. This covers the cost of filing the adoption petition and other related court documents.

Miscellaneous expenses: Other costs may include obtaining certified copies of birth certificates or other relevant documents and any required background checks, which can vary in price depending on your location.

Adult adoptions can typically cost between $1,000 and $4,000 or more, depending on various factors and the legal fees involved. It is important to note that these costs are estimates; actual costs may vary based on location, attorney fees, and individual circumstances.

Leave a Comment