Cost of Adopting a Child in the United States

So you want to learn about the cost of adopting a child? Adopting a child is a huge life-changing decision. It is a choice that changes the lives of both the birth parents as well as the adoptive family. It is not the kind of thing you should get into lightly. Please understand that the United States’ adoption process can cost quite a bit of time and money.

On top of this, it can also be an emotionally draining experience, especially if you are a prospective adoptive parent. There are many hurdles that you have to go through. They can put you on several waiting lists. At certain times, you may come this close to getting a placement for the child that fits your preferences, but for whatever reason, the adoption doesn’t go through.

Keep this in mind when it comes to sizing up the real cost of adoption. We are not just talking about dollars and cents here. This decision is about giving up a tremendous amount of your time and money, and most significantly, making an emotional investment.

The cost of adopting a child doesn’t start and end with the adoption process. When you take in a new child into your home, you will have to provide for that new family member emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially. That is nothing short of a sacrifice for the adoptive family.

The other way to look at it is that it is an investment in your family because you will strengthen your family bond with this new bundle of joy. You, as well as other members of your family, will start to see life from a new perspective.


Some things to think about before you decide to adopt

Before you finalize your decision to bring in a new member of your family through the adoption process, please educate yourself on the real cost of adopting a child in the United States. You must prepare emotionally and mentally.

If you are in your 40s and have a stable source of income or perhaps you are a well-rounded couple, you may probably have what it takes to mentally and emotionally raise a child to be a decent person. Similarly, if you are a single woman in your 40s, you may have the emotional and financial stability to provide a suitable home for your child.

With that said, the process requires a financial investment on your part. It doesn’t just begin and end when you fill out an adoption form looking for placement on a prospective family list. The money that you have to spend will go on after the adoption.


Gauging Total Cost of Adopting a Child

In the United States, average domestic adoption that takes place within the country costs around $43,000. The actual cost range falls within a tight $40,000 to $50,000 range. At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Why is adoption so expensive?”

In the US, what drives up the cost of adoption, that is the final figure is the number of professionals involved in the process. Depending on the state that you’re in, you’re going to be dealing with adoption counselors, specialists, government officials, physicians, social workers, lawyers and judiciary professionals.

Why is adoption so expensive?

Keep in mind that the adoption process is, above all else, a legal proceeding. Therefore, it requires high standards of accuracy to execute. That is why you have to hire many professionals each step of the way to finalize your adoption.

Many prospective adoptive parents in the US try to minimize their costs by going through international adoptions. The downside to this alternative is that you might end up stepping in a rabbit hole. While you may reduce the dollar cost of the adoption process, the whole procedure might take so much longer. Again, you can pay on either time, money, or in some cases, both.


The Breakdown of Costs of Adoption

Just to give you a rundown of the expenses and fees involved in the adoption process, you would have to pay for investigative costs. It covers background checks and the required police clearances.

You also have to pay for various legal expenses like court hearings, legal counseling for birth parents and adoptive parents, legal documentation, and the finalization of the adoption papers issued by a court.

As an adoptive parent, if you are looking to adopt a baby or newborn, you have to shoulder the birth parents’ expenses. That involves prenatal care, hospital costs, and newborn care. In addition, you will have to be trained to be able to take care of your baby properly. These things all add up to drive up the cost of adopting a child. Looking at it can be quite extensive.

Additionally, you also will be subjected to a home study. It means that you have to fill out paperwork regarding your suitability to provide the right kind of environment for your adopted child. This information also has to be verified by the adoption agency and the corresponding government agencies.

When it comes to placements, you would have to pay for the living and medical expenses of the birth mother. As you can tell, this all adds up. If you are adopting from another state, tack on the necessary travel expenses involved in such adoption.

Raising the child alone comes at its own cost. You also have to factor this in on the big picture. According to data by the Consumer Expenditures Survey, a middle-income family should expect to spend in the region of $12,000 to $13,000 yearly per child


Asking, “How much does it cost to adopt a child?” is the easy part

When somebody asks you, “How much is it to adopt a child?” you have to look at the big picture. Be ready with an answer that includes adoption expenses that happened before, during, and after the adoption. That is the best answer you can give because it gives you a total profile of the cost of adoption.

It is too tempting to just look at the actual adoption expenses, which are already quite sizable, but you also have to look at the entire story so you can make an informed decision.

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State-by-State Adoption Agencies and Laws

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.

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