Estimating the total cost of adopting can be tricky. Here's a list of some of the obvious fees and a few you might not have thought about:
Fees charged by private adoption agencies and intermediaries can run from $5,000 to as high as $25,000, and possibly more. BE SURE you understand which services in the adoption process are included and which may be separate or additional fees. Discover the differences between private and public agency services and fees in our Frequently Asked Questions about the Cost of Adopting.
The little things can add up quickly. Here are some things you might forget to figure into your budget:
• Traveling to and from the agency or lawyer's office
• Completing and photocopying records and other paperwork
• Taking time off work for interviews and such
• Obtaining shots, passports and the like if international travel is necessary
• Arranging care for any children you already have
Although the cost of the home study usually is included in the adoption fees, it can be a separate cost in some situations. If this is a separate expense for you, a fee of $300 to $3,000 is not unusual. (Many state-facilitated adoptions charge little or no fee for home studies.) You may also incur a fee if you have to update your home study. Home studies are considered current only for a limited period of time (usually one or two years).
Extra Costs If You Move While Adopting
We live in a mobile society. Some adoptions can take a few years to finalize, especially if you adopt internationally and are required to obtain U.S. citizenship for your child. If you have to move residence while you're in the middle of the adoption process, chances are you'll incur fees for new documents, home studies and related items. You may even have to change adoption agencies and pay a new agency a new fee to complete your adoption. In these cases, your former agency should work out some kind of refund or credit arrangement with your new agency.