Why Is It So Expensive to Adopt a Child?


Once you start researching the process of adopting a child, you may be surprised at its expense. What seems like an act of goodwill or even charity can become complicated, time-consuming and expensive. However, reputable adoption professional and agencies have transparency when it comes to their fees, so you should be able to get an estimate of the range of your expenses, as well as the reasons for each one.


The expenses of adoption vary, depending upon your type of adoption. For example, if you adopt a child through your state’s foster care service, you may not pay as much out-of-pocket because taxpayer money covers many of the costs. In an adoption through a private agency, rather than one through your state’s foster program, you pay these expenses which may total as little as a a few thousand dollars and as much as $90,000. This information is current as of 2010.


Several factors in an adoption case affect its costs, including the child’s age, the child’s nationality, the agency’s fee schedule, the child’s medical or psychological condition, and whether you require extensive legal support for your case, resulting in high attorney fees.


The Adoptive Families website outlines some of the fee-incurring services involved in the adoption process. The preparation to adopt may include home study, the authentication of documents and, if it’s an international adoption, postage, telephone and visa expenses. The actual adoption may involve fees for applications, programs, medical exams, placement reports, attorneys, the agency’s advertising or networking on your behalf, counseling, the birth mother’s expenses and international costs relative to paperwork, donations, gifts and passports. Long-distance domestic adoptions or international adoptions also incur travel expenses.


While you cannot eliminate the expense of adoption, you can mitigate it. Do your homework regarding work, community, government and other subsidies available for parents considering adoption. Interview adoption agencies regarding their fees and flexibility. Some of them may offer a sliding scale, loans, grants or a line of credit, depending upon the adoption case.

Expert Insight

Depending upon the specifics of your adoption case, you may be able to recoup some of your expenses. The Internal Revenue Service website outlines an adoption tax credit for certain adoption expenses, which may include adopting a child who has special needs. In most situations, you apply expenses from the previous year for a credit in the next year, but you should consult an accountant if you have any questions.



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