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An Overview of Adoption Expenses

An Overview of Adoption Expenses
January 12, 2014 LS_admin

One of the most prevalent concerns of prospective adoptive parents are the financial costs involved, and whether or not they will be able to manage all expenses. Becoming a parent, by way of pregnancy and childbirth or adoption, can seem financially challenging in terms of initial costs. However, in the area of adoption, if proper planning and awareness regarding available resources, as well as greater knowledge of the various types of adoption, prospective parents will place themselves in a more advantageous position to develop a realistic budget that covers most foreseeable expenses.


Total costs for adoption can vary anywhere between $0 to more than $40,000, depending on numerous factors such as the type of adoption pursued, the placement agency or facilitator, and the child’s age, background and position. It is important that prospective parents inquire with potential adoption agencies into the specific costs associated with their circumstances.

  1. Universal Expenses.  The most common universal expenses, home study and legal fees, are generally incurred by all prospective adoptive parents:
    • Home Study Expenses. A home study is a requirement for all prospective parents and must be completed regardless of the type of adoption seeks. This exercise is necessary for a few reasons, including the preparation of prospective parents for the adoption process, to gather information about who they are and their lives so an appropriate match can be made, and to determine the overall fitness of the parent(s).  Typically, the prospective parents cover the costs involved with the home study. In certain cases, the fees associated with the home study are included in the agency fee.
    • Legal Fees. Domestic adoptions and certain inter-country adoptions must be finalized in a court of law in the United States. All other inter-country adoptions are finalized in the adopted child’s country of origin. Oftentimes, under such circumstances, as an additional measure of protection for their adopted child’s legal status, the adoptive parents also seek to finalize the placement in a U.S. court.  Legal representation usually ranges from $2,500 to $12,000, while costs for court document preparation may fall anywhere between $500 and $2,000.
  2. Adoption-Specific Expenses.  Beyond the universal costs described above for every adoption, adoptive parents will also incur additional expenses based on the specific type of adoption pursued. For example, the costs for domestic infant and inter-country adoptions are outlined below:
    • Domestic infant adoption. Costs generally range from $5,000 to $40,000, varying widely depending on the type of agency used, and the individual circumstances involved. It is imperative that prospective parents fully understand the overall costs associated with the home study, agency and attorney fees. Other expenses to take into consideration with domestic infant adoptions, is further classification into three additional categories: licensed private agency, independent, and facilitated/unlicensed agency adoption.
    • Inter-country adoption. Costs generally range from $7,000 to $30,000, reflecting on the potential fees of an agency when providing inter-country adoption services. Such fees typically include dossier and immigration processing, as well as court costs. In some situations, the fee may include a donation required by the foreign orphanage or agency. Additionally, costs may be determined by the type of entity in the foreign country responsible for placement of the child, whether it is an attorney, government agency, charitable foundation, government orphanage, or a combination of such facilitators.

As outlined above, overall adoption costs vary tremendously, from State to State, and throughout each country. Depending on the type of adoption prospective parents choose, the process will determine the amount and nature of expenses involved, which is why it is important to be as informed and prepared as possible during all phases of the adoption procedure.

If you have further questions about expenses involved with adoption, call McDowell Chartered legal services at 316-633-4322 for more information. Our firm is will guide you in the right direction, by helping you get started with the adoption process and handling the overall matter successfully.


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