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Cost of Adoption in the US

How Much Does Adoption Cost?


It would be nice if we could just tell you a specific set amount that an adoption will cost, but alas, it’s not that easy. The cost of adoption depends on the type of adoption you are considering and many variables which we list below.  Keep in mind, that with both domestic and international adoptions, you are likely eligible for the federal tax credit (unless you exceed the income limits) and potentially eligible for state adoption tax benefits and employee benefits, all of which will help offset the cost of adoption.

Domestic Birth Mother Relinquishment Private Adoption

Average Cost - Working with an Agency: $34,012

Average Cost - Working with an Attorney: $30,222

Factors affecting cost:

  • How early in the pregnancy you are matched
  • Does the Expectant Mother have health insurance to cover the birth or will adoptive parents be expected to cover those costs
  • How many expectant mothers the adoptive parent is matched with that fall through and if the adoptive parents have paid for any of the allowable costs to this mother?
  • Travel costs if the baby is born in another state
  • Race of the baby-some agencies charge less of an adoption fee for a full African American child because they have fewer families waiting to adopt these children.
  • Whether the agency has a sliding fee scale
  • Whether you work with an adoption agency or adoption attorney.
  • Whether you find the expectant mother on your own
  • Whether the adoptive parents pay a separate legal fee for the finalization of the adoption

Public Adoptions from Foster Care

Average cost: $2,253

  • Many families qualify for a monthly adoption subsidy until the child reaches 18, Medicaid coverage, and in-state college tuition.  If the child has special needs, adoptive parents may be eligible for a tax credit that is not dependent on expenses incurred.

Factors affecting cost:

  • Whether you work with a public child welfare agency or an agency under contract with the state to place foster children
  • Travel cost if the child or children live in another state
  • Whether adoptive parents have to pay for the required training course

International Adoption

Average cost: $44,000

Factors affecting cost:

  • The country you are adopting from is the primary factor since it affects the adoption fee and travel costs, and the cost of international adoption can vary widely from country to country.  See the Comparison Adoption Charts for specifics.


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