What is the average cost of adopting a child in the U.S.?

| Nov 20, 2019 | Adoption

Adopting a child provides a path to parenthood for couples and individuals who want to grow their families as well as for those who cannot biologically have children.

For many, it’s an overwhelmingly positive experience, especially for those who may have waited years to start or add another member to their family. However, few are aware of the costs related to adopting a child.

Types of adoptions

There are many different avenues and expenses when pursuing adoption, including:

Foster parents: According to the group Adoptive Families, there are 443,000 foster care children in the U.S. on average. While many will return to their families, adopting a foster child is the least expensive option for foster parents, who paid an average of $2,398 in 2017. Fortunately, there are opportunities for reimbursement of all or a part of your legal fees through the state agency who handles the adoption of foster children (i.e. Georgia’s Department of Family and Children Services), the federal government, and other sources.

Private adoptions: Costs will vary greatly depending upon whether you complete the adoption through a private adoption agency that requires payment for their services or if the adoption is truly private and no third-party agency is utilized or needed. Adoptive Families says private agency adoptions in 2017 averaged $43,239. Typically, truly private adoptions would cost only a fraction of this amount but are less predictable in terms of finding the appropriate placement for your family.

Stepparent Adoptions: Stepparent adoptions normally do not involve a state or private adoption agency. Accordingly, the cost of stepparent adoptions in Georgia is limited to the cost of your attorney plus expenses of approximately $500-700.

International adoptions: While many children in the U.S. are available for adoption, some families choose to look to other countries. Adoptive Families outlined the three nations with the highest volume of adoptions and the average costs:

  • China: $36,441
  • Ukraine: $35,000
  • South Korea: $48,329

Note for Military Families

Regardless of the type of adoption you are pursuing, the military may provide reimbursement for your legal fees up to $2,000 if you are adopting one child and $5,000 if you are adopting multiple children. Be sure to inquire with your adoption lawyer about the documents you will need to start the reimbursement process.

Look for knowledgeable and compassionate legal guidance

Adoptions can be extremely joyful endeavors for families to provide support and love for a child without a home. They can also be filled with significant legal obstacles that can create frustrating and costly delays. Whatever path you pursue in growing your family, an experienced adoption attorney here in Georgia will help you file paperwork correctly, prepare you for the home visit and aggressively defend your rights.