What Is Included In The Cost Of Adopting

When my husband and I started the adoption process we weren’t sure what to expect in terms of cost; we just knew what most people know: adoption costs a lot! But, why? Where does all the money go? And, to further complicate the matter, why is there such a huge discrepancy in the cost of adoption? It can range anywhere from almost free to tens of thousands of dollars. The average cost of a domestic infant adoption in the United States is roughly $40,000. Unfortunately, the huge expense is what deters many couples or individuals from adopting. While there are many factors that impact the cost of adoption, it can be beneficial to know what’s actually included in the cost of adopting. Here’s a typical breakdown of where the money is going.


This includes your home study, post placement visits and reports, as well as administration and marketing/advertising; essentially a lot of very important paperwork. Learn more what the right agency can do for you by clicking here.

Birth Parents

This includes practical care like housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, maternity clothing, phone service, and maybe even things like tokens for the laundry mat; all things that can help make a pregnancy less stressful for an expectant mom. Another aspect included is pre and post placement counseling and ongoing support, which is beneficial for healthy open adoptions.


Often your potential birth mother will have her own insurance, but if she doesn’t, adoptive parents may be responsible for her doctor’s visits and hospital stay. Also, any medical costs for the baby that aren’t covered by adoptive parents’ health insurance.


Both birth parents and adoptive parents will need attorneys to ensure everything is done ethically. This also includes court costs, filing fees, and certified copies of paperwork.


Domestic adoption doesn’t necessarily mean local adoption. Many couples (including myself!) travel out of state to adopt. If a “match” is made early in the pregnancy, adoptive parents often travel to meet expectant moms beforehand, so they have time to bond before the baby arrives. Travel costs are generally what make international adoptions more expensive.

Even though the costs are overwhelming, knowing where your money goes can help keep things in perspective. There are a few ways to help ease the financial burden, including creative fundraising, applying for grants, comparing costs between agencies (because they all vary!), and the adoption tax credit.