Figuring Costs of Adoption

Getting Ready for Baby
The goal of adopting a child is adding a child to your family. Have you thought about how you'll pay for a crib, clothing, stroller, and so much more? Showers are great, but diapers, formula, bottles and other recurring incidentals are nothing to sneeze at.

Personal Records
You'll need to make arrangements to obtain all of your personal paperwork (such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and fingerprints). This can often cost as much as $50 to $100.

The child you're adopting will need a Social Security number, so you can claim a dependency exemption on your income tax return. You may encounter some difficulties because of privacy concerns in cases where the birth parents have already obtained a number for the child.

You will also need to obtain a new birth certificate for your child when the adoption is finalized. Minimal costs of less than $50 may be required for both of these new documents.


Health Coverage for Your Child
You should add your new son or daughter to your health plan as soon as the child moves into your home. You don't have to wait until the adoption is legally finalized. Depending on your health-care coverage, your monthly premiums may increase, but since you'll be responsible for health care as soon as the child joins the family, it is critical that he or she be included in your coverage. The coverage must be provided before the adoption is finalized; in fact, it must be provided from placement, which is defined as the time you assume full or partial financial responsibility for the child. Under new federal law, nearly all employer-provided health plans must treat an adopted child equally to a birth child. An adopted child may not be excluded from coverage because of pre-existing conditions, as long as the child is added to the plan within 30 days of becoming eligible. Most states have similar legislation that would include both individual and employer-provided health coverage. For laws in your state, call your state's Department of Insurance.

If the child was eligible for Medicaid before placement, the Medicaid coverage may continue after placement, and possibly after finalization. However, the specifics of any Medicaid coverage need to be determined before the adoption is finalized.

Post-Placement Tutoring/Counseling
If you are adopting an older child or one with special physical needs, these might add tutoring or counseling costs to your monthly budget. Be sure to get an estimate on how much such services might cost before accepting the referral of a child you know will require special care.


Legal Fees for Finalization/Termination of Birth Parent Rights
There are often filing fees and attorney fees when you adopt a child domestically or internationally. These can range from nominal to $5,000 depending on the complexity of the adoption and where you live.

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