FAQs about adoption: how much does it cost?

What 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.

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