Cost of Adoption

Adoptive parents are faced with a number of questions and choices once they decide to adopt. Should they do an open or closed adoption? Adopt domestically or internationally? Adopt through the state or privately? How much will adopting a child cost?

Becoming a parent is rarely an expense-free endeavor. Even pregnancy and childbirth can end up being very expensive if there is not enough insurance to cover the costs. However, prospective adoptive parents may find themselves concerned about the financial costs of adoption, especially when they are faced with what can seem to be overwhelming challenges. With some foresight, planning, and knowledge about the various types of adoptions and resources that are available for adoptions, it is possible to create a workable budget to deal with the foreseeable expenses.

Financial and Governmental Assistance

Adoption costs differ from country to country. In some countries it is illegal to charge for adoption. In the United States and Canada, the government helps adoptive parents by giving them financial assistance, in the form of a tax credit. The amount of the tax credit may depend upon family income and any other adoption benefits available. It is a good idea to check in with a tax accountant to find out how the tax credits work and to determine applicable benefits. There are many benefits that the government gives, including tax benefits and interest free loans to adoptive parents. In many cases, tax credits, subsidies, employer benefits, and loans or grants can help with adoption costs.

In the case of adopting a child with special needs, there is assistance available in most places in the US and Canada. In the US, each State has its own definition of special needs. However, children who are considered special needs children often are older, have disabilities (whether physical, emotional, or mental), they belong to a minority group, or they must be placed with siblings. These children are often in foster care and in order to help them become a permanent part of a family through adoption, States may provide subsidies or reimbursement for some of the costs of adoption.

Adoption through Child Welfare

When you adopt through the child welfare system, often there is no cost. In certain areas, adoptive parents pay for the birth mother's medical expenses, but nothing beyond that. In addition, adoptive parents might be eligible to receive a subsidy to assistwith the expenses of raising the child. Several States have enacted State tax credits for families adopting children from the public child welfare system in that State. Some are restricted to adoptions from foster care, while others are not.

Adopting Privately

When adopting through a private agency, fees for adoption can range from $5,000 to $40,000. This figure takes into account travel expenses, medical expenses for the birth mother, as allowed under the law and additional medical expenses should there be birth complications.Legal expenses for both the adoptive and birth parents are also involved. When researching a private or agency adoption, be sure to examine their prices and how they determine their costs. Comparing the costs of independent adoptions as opposed to going through an adoption agency indicate the costs of adopting privately can be unpredictable.

International Adoption

International adoption tends to be a bit more expensive, due to the travel expenses and legal help. In some cases it is necessary to translate the legal documents and a required donation to the orphanage or agency may have to be paid. International adoption prices range from $7,000 to $30,000. The costs can be affected based upon the type of instrument responsible for the adoption (government agency, government orphanage, charitable foundation, attorney or a combination of any of these instruments). Often costs are on a sliding scale with each country having their own system.

Protect yourself

It is customary for an adoption agency to request a small deposit when you file your initial adoption applications. However, if an agency demands that you pay all or most of the fees at the beginning of your adoption process, proceed with caution. It is advisable to agree upon a payment schedule in which you can pay when certain conditions are filled. 


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