Adoption costs: Answers to your most-asked questions

bankWhat are the costs of domestic public agency adoptions?

Most public agencies place only children with special needs, which is defined differently in each state. Up-front fees and expenses range from zero to $2,500, including travel and attorney's fees. Most states, under a federal match program, will reimburse non-recurring adoption expenses up to a set limit (which cannot exceed $2,000). Federal and state adoption subsidies may be available for the ongoing care of children with special physical, mental or emotional needs; the adoption subsidy agreement must be negotiated and signed before the child's adoption is finalized. However, there is a process whereby adoption subsidy can be applied for or renegotiated after finalization, but only under certain conditions.

What are the costs of domestic private agency adoptions?

Licensed private agencies charge fees ranging from $4,000 to $30,000, which include the costs of birth parent counseling, adoptive parent home study and preparation, child's birth expenses, post-placement supervision until the adoption is finalized and a portion of agency costs for overhead and operating expenses. Some agencies have sliding fee scales based on family income. Families who locate their own birth parent and find an agency that will provide designated or identified adoption services (such as birth parent counseling or home study and supervision services) often find this option is less costly.

Be sure to take along Questions for Private Adoption Agencies from Adoption Central's library of Print & Go Checklists when researching your options.

What are the costs of domestic independent adoptions?

Adoptive families who pursue independent adoptions report spending $8,000 to $30,000, or more, depending on several factors. Independent adoptions are now allowed in most states, but advertisements seeking birth parents in newspapers or magazines is not allowed in all of them. Costs for advertising for birth parents can be as high as $5,000. Adoptive parents may find that they pay expenses for birth parents who then change their minds and that money is not reimbursed. Some couples have had more than one arrangement with a birth parent fall through. Some states require that adoptive parents pay for separate legal representation for birth parents in addition to their own legal representation. If the child has medical difficulties, birth expenses can be much higher. Be sure to check with your insurance provider for details regarding health coverage for your adopted child.

What are the costs of international adoptions?

Fees for international adoption range from $7,000 to $25,000. They include agency fees, dossier and immigration processing fees, and court costs. However, there may be additional costs for the following items that are usually not included in the fees:
•Child foster care
•Parents' travel and in-country stays to process the adoption abroad
•Escorting fees
•Child's medical care and treatment


Are there resources to help defray adoption costs?

Financial resources include: federal tax credit; state tax credits; adoption from the U.S. public foster care system; adoption subsidy; non-recurring adoption expense reimbursement; employer benefits; adoption loans; and adoption cancellation insurance.

For a rundown of additional expenses you may need to cover, check out How Much Does It Cost to Adopt?

Source: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse

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