Budgeting Financial Planning Family Finances Average Cost of Adoption in the U.S. Domestic and International Adoption Costs By Rebecca Lake Rebecca Lake Facebook Twitter Website Rebecca Lake has over a decade of experience researching and writing hundreds of articles on retirement, investing, budgeting, banking, loans, and more. She has been published by well-known finance brands including SoFi, Forbes, Chime, CreditCards.com, Investopedia, SmartAsset, Nerdwallet, Credit Sesame, LendingTree, and more. learn about our editorial policies Updated on October 25, 2021 Reviewed by JeFreda R. Brown Reviewed by JeFreda R. Brown Facebook Instagram Twitter JeFreda R. Brown is a financial consultant, Certified Financial Education Instructor, and researcher who has assisted thousands of clients over a more than two-decade career. She is the CEO of Xaris Financial Enterprises and a course facilitator for Cornell University. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Julian Binder Fact checked by Julian Binder Julian Binder is a fact checker, researcher, and historian. They were the recipient of the North American Studies Book Prize (2016, 2017), and they have previous experience as an economics research assistant. They have also worked as a writer and editor for various companies, and have published cultural studies work in an academic journal. As a fact checker for The Balance, Julian is able to utilize their experience as an editor and economics research assistant. Their role as fact checker is to review articles for accuracy, update data as needed, and verify all facts by citing trusted sources. learn about our editorial policies Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article Average Cost of Adoption for Foster Parents Average Cost of Private Adoption Average Cost of Adopting a Child Internationally Creating an Adoption Budget Photo: The Balance / Nusha Ashjaee Adoption often offers a path to parenthood for individuals and couples who want to expand their families. Adopting a child can be emotionally rewarding, but it also has the potential to be an expensive pursuit. And for LGBTQ+ couples, there may be additional barriers to certain types of adoption. The average cost of adoption can vary widely, based on how hopeful parents choose to adopt. Getting a clear idea of the numbers beforehand may help you create the right adoption budget. Average Cost of Adoption for Foster Parents In 2019, there were approximately 424,000 children in foster care in the U.S. While some of them will eventually return to their families, others may be permanently placed in foster care. Those children then have an opportunity to be adopted by their foster parents. Compared to other adoption avenues, adopting a child from foster care tends to be the least expensive option. The cost will vary from state to state, but on average, adoption through the foster system could cost up to $2,600. The largest cost associated with foster care adoption is typically the home study fee, which is a fee that covers the cost of having a court-appointed caseworker observe you and your foster child in your home to ensure that you're a suitable candidate for adoption. Note There are numerous adoption assistance programs offered by state and local agencies that can reduce costs. Average Cost of Private Adoption Private adoptions can be completed through a private adoption agency or with the help of an attorney. With private adoption, you work closely with an agency or an attorney to select a birth mother whose child you'd like to adopt. Private adoption may be more appealing if you'd prefer to adopt a newborn, as foster care adoptions can run the full age range from infants to teenagers. Cost-wise, private adoption is more expensive than foster care adoptions, regardless of whether you work with an agency or an attorney. A private adoption could cost between $20,000 and $45,000. The disparity in cost between private adoption and foster care adoption largely centers on the fees adoptive parents pay. In addition to the home study fee, you may also pay: Attorney feesDocument preparation feesAgency application feesAdoption consultant feesAdvertising or networking fees to match with a birth motherBirth family counseling feesHealth care and/or travel expenses for the birth motherPersonal travel expenses to meet with the birth mother or pick up the childPost-placement expenses In terms of timing, working with an agency or an attorney can have a faster timeline from initially matching with a child to finalizing the adoption compared to foster care adoption. Private adoptions can, however, be more complicated if one of the birth parents is reluctant to consent to the adoption or there's extensive paperwork that has to be filed before the process can be completed. Average Cost of Adopting a Child Internationally While there are plenty of children in the U.S. waiting to be adopted, you may turn your sights overseas to find a new addition to your family. As far as the cost goes, international adoption is often around $25,000 to $70,000. With international adoptions, the lion's share of the expense typically goes toward paying the adoption or placement agency's fees and travel arrangements. That includes travel to and from the child's adoptive country for both yourself and the child, as well as in-country travel expenses you might incur. In addition to those costs, you may also pay: Child's passport, visa, and medical exam feesHome study feeDocument and paperwork preparation fees Logistically, international adoption can mean a longer wait to match with a child and be approved as an adoptive parent. Instead of one to two years, you may be looking at a two- to five-year window instead to finalize an adoption. And for LGBTQ+ families, international adoptions may have more stringent requirements with regard to who can adopt. Some countries, for example, don't allow adoption by gay individuals or same-sex couples. A few countries that ban same-sex and trans couples from adopting include Poland, Hungary, and China. Creating an Adoption Budget If your heart and mind are set on adopting, it's important to have a financial plan in place before you begin to make sure you can afford both the costs of adoption as well as the costs of raising a child. First, decide which type of adoption is most appealing. Would you like to adopt an older child? If so, then a foster care adoption could be a good fit. If you'd prefer a newborn on the other hand, or you want to raise a multicultural family, private domestic or international adoption may be the better choice. Note Once you've chosen your adoption method, make a list of the various costs you'll need to budget for and the amount. Then, consider your timeline for adoption as well as your current savings. If you don't have sufficient cash in savings to fund an adoption in full, ask yourself how you'll make up the difference. For example, you may choose to delay adopting until you've saved the full amount. Or, you may use your credit cards or take out a home equity loan for adoption expenses. If you're planning to finance any of your adoption costs, consider how long it will take you to pay the money back and the interest rate you'll pay. You may also want to look into consolidating debt with a 0% interest rate balance transfer or loan. Finally, remember to factor in the Adoption Tax Credit to your budget calculations. This credit can put some of the money you spent on adoption back in your pocket at tax time. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. "Trends in Foster Care and Adoption: FY 2010 - FY 2019," Page 1. Family Equality. "Building LGBTQ+ Families: The Price of Parenthood." U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs. "Country Information."