NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Adoption Can Be Inexpensive -- or Costly

December 7, 2001

Infertile couples wishing to adopt a child should first check their wallets, adoption experts warn. The costs involved differ depending on what type of adoption -- from foster care, private sources or international agencies -- is pursued. But they can range from a few thousand dollars up to roughly $39,000.

  • The most common form of adoption -- of children from the U.S. foster-care system -- is the least expensive, ranging from $750 to $4,000.
  • However, adopting from state foster care -- especially across state lines -- can be time-consuming and frustrating, say those who have had the experience.
  • Costs for domestic private adoption range from nearly $25,000 to more than $27,000 -- including items such as maternity home care and hospital delivery care, legal fees, agency expenses and travel.
  • Expenses for international adoptions vary greatly -- anywhere from $13,000+ to nearly $39,000.

Couples who have adopted through international channels complain about too many people having their hands in the pot, costly paperwork and surprise "last minute" fees. Couples who have gone the international route warn others who want to do so to expect costs to exceed their initial estimate.

Source: Cheryl Wetzstein, "Adoption at What Price?" Washington Times, December 6, 2001.


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