How Much Does Adoption Cost: 3 Factors That Influence What You Pay

By Willow Breckenridge | Feb 27, 2021

Adoption is a fabulous way to grow your family. It creates a win-win scenario for many needy children in need of homes by placing them with loving parents. However, it doesn’t come without a price tag. 

In an ideal world, every child who needed a home would find one. However, legalities and red tape mean that you need financial security before you can dream about opening your doors. How much adoption costs depends on multiple factors outlined below. 

Cost-Factor One: Do You Know the Birth Parent? 

Before you get into the nitty-gritty, you need to understand the legal process of adopting a child in the United States. You’ll need someone to facilitate the process, and you have three options — a private attorney, an agency or the state foster care system.

Adopting a child from someone you know could potentially save you costs during this step. However, you have to ask yourself some questions first. Are you emotionally and mentally prepared for the changes this stage will make in your relationship with the birth parent? 

Also, you must keep in mind that adoption is for the long haul. You don’t get to return your “gift” if your child develops behaviors that you didn’t expect or find distressing any more than you could place a biological baby back in the womb. 

That said, if you are well-connected with an attorney friend who specializes in adoption, you could potentially arrange everything through them at a discount. The process entails considerable legal details — it’s not something you can DIY. If you don’t know anyone, you’ll need to find an agency or lawyer to represent you.

Another low-cost option is to adopt through the foster care system. While doing so costs little-to-no money, please understand that all of these children have experienced trauma and may have developed disturbing behaviors as a result. You may need to undergo specialized training to learn how to cope with things like biting and truancy. 

One benefit of choosing this route is that you do get to foster the child before filling out the legal paperwork for adoption. You have more time to form a better idea of whether or not the situation will work out for both of you. 

Cost-Factor Two: Domestic or International? 

Another factor influencing adoption costs is whether you choose to adopt from the USA or another country. If you opt for the foreign route, every nation has different rules. For example, some require you to foster kids onsite before allowing you to adopt — spending six months in Uganda doesn’t come for free. 

Additionally, you’ll have to pay numerous government and agency fees to complete the process. Experts estimate it can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,0000 to adopt a child internationally — it’s not something for the financially insecure. Your child will need to go through the immigration process, which may or may not finalize with the adoption paperwork. 

Furthermore, many children adopted from overseas have experienced significant trauma. You may need to set aside additional funds for any psychiatric care they need. Even the transition of coming to a new country and culture can create adverse behaviors in some. 

Cost-Factor Three: Adopting Children With Disabilities

The final factor influencing overall adoption costs is whether you open your home to a child with disabilities. These little ones often have the direst need, but keeping up with medical care in America daunts many. 

Any adoption poses the risk that your child may develop health-related complications down the road. Still, those who know they are adopting a toddler with a heart or brain defect need extra financial reserves. They need to know that they can provide insurance coverage until age 18 or 24, perhaps for life if their child cannot support themselves independently. 

Nevertheless, some folks who have been lucky in their lives choose to share their blessings with a little one in need. Like adopting through foster care or overseas, many disabled children have histories of abuse and neglect that can influence their behavior. However, if you have the means, you could change the world for an unfortunate youth — many wait four years or more in the foster care system before finding homes. 

How Much Does Adoption Cost? Please Consider These 3 Factors

Adopting a child isn’t a decision that you should make lightly. While the price tag might not be your heftiest influencer, you nevertheless need to ensure you can cover what your new family member will need. Please consider these three factors when asking how much adoption costs. 

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