How Much Does Adoption Cost? – Less Than You Might Think

by The Happy Rock on January 23, 2008

two-boys-children.jpgThe average infant adoption in the US can vary from $5,000 to $30,000 and on average costs $15,000 – $20,000.  Our two newborn infant adoptions cost us about $11,000(0 after credits) and an estimated $15,000($2,000 after credits). This article will not break down the different costs associated with adoptions, but it will list multiple ways that adoption expenses can be considerably lower than those numbers suggest. I am speaking from experience since the expenses of our first adoption were more than covered by the programs/tips below.

  1. First and foremost, the Federal Adoption Tax Credit that was signed into law by George Bush in 2002. The adoption tax credit offers an $11,390 tax credit in 2007 for qualified expenses on all domestic and foreign adoptions. For us, we were able to use all but $200 of tax credit in one year with some special planning. The credit alone covered almost all of our adoption expenses. The big downside is that the credit often comes a full year after you incur the expenses. About.com does a nice job explaining the adoption tax credit.
  2. Adoption Subsidies. Any child adopted out of the United States foster care system with special needs will receive Medicaid and a monthly subsidy based on the severity of the disability. The average subsidy is about $350 a month. With this government bill the US government is able to save billions and provide better care for our children at the same time. Adopting.org provides a nice overview of subsidies.
  3. Employee Adoption Assistance. You mileage will vary from company to company, but many companies have programs that will provide a cash assistance payment for adoption. The programs seem to be rarely mentioned and remain buried in a manual sitting in an HR office somewhere. Rules and benefits will vary, but my company provides employees with up to $2,000 per adoption. One painless form and a copy photocopies and we were awarded the full $2,000.
  4. Medical Costs Related to Pregnancy. Again, the amount mother’s will have pay from conception to birth will vary greatly depending on your health coverage and area, but they can often cost people thousands of dollars. There is no need to worry about things like co-pays and partial covered hospital visits procedures when adopting.
  5. Physical Costs of Pregnancy. These would include lost productivity for the mother, lost time at work, and any medical complications that may arise.
  6. It’s just plain worth it. This isn’t a savings per se, but more of a perspective shift that makes any money you have to spend pale in comparison to the experience. If you are fully committed to providing a loving household for a child who may not otherwise be given that opportunity, than the monetary side of things tends have less sting. Also along these lines, many people often support your actions and are willing to help out in ways that you don’t even expect.

That list might be longer than you thought it would be, given the huge numbers that are often thrown around for the cost of adoption. I hope it helps provide a clearer picture of the true costs of adoption. Let me know if I missed any, or your thoughts.
Source : Adoption Guide

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol January 23, 2008 at 3:31 pm

We adopted two special needs children when they were 5 and 8. The eight year old weighed 40 pounds and wore a size 4t pants. Within a month he gained 10 pounds and today he is a healthy 27 year old. His sister did not have the physical problems that he did and now is a mother of two little boys. We did get subsidy which helped. They went on my husband’s insurance when they were legally adopted. Because they were in the foster care we had what is called a foster/adopt. We had to go to parenting classes and be investigated. It was the first time I ever had been fingerprinted. It was well worth it.


The Happy Rock January 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm

@Carol – We were actually in the waiting child program for the first adoption, and only switched to the newborn program for an emergency placement. Originally, we were looking to adopt a 2-4 year old out of foster care, although not through fost-adopt. Adoption through a private agency requires the same/similar investigation and training.

Thanks for the input, and it sounds like your children have benefited from your altruistic decisions! Awesome! Multiple lives were changed, including yours!


Internet Television January 27, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Why exactly is there a charge on adoptions, at least in North America? It seems almost too capitalistic to try and profit or recoup costs off of the intial rearing of the child. I understand their are expenses, and most adoption agencies are for profit – which is probably where the problem arises since they are and do operate like a business.

Also for those adoption, they make it quite difficult – which is understandable except that at times the blockades they put up to check the parents out can be excessive and sometimes discouraging to would-be adoptive parents.


Kyle @ Rather-Be-Shopping.com January 29, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Nice breakdown. I agree with your commenter, if you have a loving family willing to adopt, the government should do everything possible to make it happen without it being a financial crisis for the adopters.


LJ January 31, 2008 at 9:25 am

This is a great article, and I hope more people find it and take a look!
So many assume that they cannot “afford” adoption and therefore, dismiss it as an option.
There are so many children out there that need a loving family to adopt them and it breaks my heart.

Great Article!

Take Care



Parenting Articles April 11, 2008 at 1:42 am

That’s quite expensive to adopt in you country. Here in my country it only worth about $3,200.00. I don’t prefer adopting older children I like new born.
Anyone heard the story of the unadoption of Helen Briggs with her adoptive child?



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