“It’s About Family”

MaisieWhy is it so expensive to adopt? I am asked this question at least once a week by a couple sitting front of me in an adoption consultation.

There is usually frustration expressed with both questions; they want a child and costs stand in the way.  For some reason it seems acceptable to pay for fertility, but not for adoption.

What they don’t know is that I was in their shoes, twice. 17 years ago in 1998, my domestic agency  adoption cost $35,000. My husband and I got an equity line and we took three years to pay it off. We traveled across the country and spent ten days in New Mexico to get our son.

Our first adoption was expensive and stressful and we were devastated by the costs. Three years later in 2001 we adopted again, this time in a domestic  independent adoption that cost $14,000.  We traveled to Tennessee and stayed there ten days to get our other son.

Here is the reality:  adoptions cost a lot because they are an intensive and involved service.  An agency pays social workers and  counselors and has  tremendous advertising and outreach costs. Then there are operational costs like liability insurance, telephone, postage, etc.  Adoption agencies are service agencies with a tremendous amount of risk.

Here are the facts on costs of adoption: An international adoption will cost you from $30,000 to $40,000.

An independent domestic infant adoption (where you find the child on your own) will cost you $20,000 to $40,000.

An agency domestic adoption will cost you $20,000 to $45,000. A foster adoption will cost you zero to $3,000 and depending on the state you may receive $2,000 in reimbursement by the child’s state. Adoptions of US children with special needs are  eligible for the full federal tax credit, regardless of actual expenses. Good news is that there is a $13,190 Federal adoption tax credit which helps. Note that there are income limitations to the tax credit.

Cost, pricey. Is it worth it?  Yes, if you want a child in your life its  worth it. It’s worth borrowing, begging and working yourself to the bone to find that child, hold him or her, and know that they are yours.

Thank you to Director, E. Parker Herring of A Child’s Hope of North Carolina for sharing her story. Do you have a story you’d like to tell?  Email us at

Visit us at, or call our Birth Mother Hotline at 1-877-890-HOPE (4976) so one of our adoption counselors can answer your questions confidentially.

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