The Financial Impact of Adopting a Child

Having the opportunity to raise a child is an incredible honor, but it’s not without its financial implications. According to statistics from the Brookings Institution, it costs today’s parents an average of $310,605 to raise a child to the age of 17. That’s a breakdown of more than $18,000 per year.

However, adoptive parents can face an even greater financial burden because they also have to include the cost of the adoption itself. Knowing the requirements to adopt a child, the average costs of adoption, and the factors that go into that cost can help prospective adoptive parents be better informed and prepared for what’s to come.

How the Type of Adoption Impacts the Cost

Today, there are several routes adoptive parents can use to complete their families, and the type of adoption you choose impacts how much it costs. In addition, each agency has its own expected costs. While the information below provides a general overview of how much you can expect adoption to cost, you should always check with the agencies you’re considering to get a more accurate estimate.

Through a Public Agency

In general, adopting through a public agency is the least expensive option. Public agency adoption costs an average of $1,500.

However, in some situations, the cost of adoption can be much lower and possibly even $0. Keep in mind that this only reflects the cost of the adoption fee and doesn’t include other costs related to adoption, such as attorney fees, travel, background checks, or home studies.

Through a Domestic Private Agency

A domestic private agency is a nonpublic adoption agency that facilitates adoptions within the United States. The average cost of this type of adoption is between $6,000 to $25,000. Costs vary widely in this area and can depend on other factors, such as the age of the child and whether the child has special needs, including medical needs. Some agencies include costs for home study, parenting classes, or required social work services in their fees, but others treat these as add-ons, further increasing the cost.

International Adoption

International adoptions are most commonly done through a private adoption agency, but it’s technically possible to adopt a child outside the United States independently as well. International adoptions are limited by which countries allow U.S. citizens to adopt, and the requirements for adoptive parents may be more stringent. For example, some may only allow adoptions to married parents or those who are in a certain age range.

The average cost for an international adoption is $7,000 to $30,000, and in most cases, this doesn’t include travel expenses. Having to apply for a visa, pay for flights and accommodations, and live in a foreign country for potentially weeks can add thousands of dollars to the final cost.

Independent Adoption

An independent adoption is one where the birth and adoptive parents agree to the adoption and go through the process without an agency. The approximate cost of an independent adoption is $5,000 to $40,000. This amount generally includes the cost of paying for the birth mother’s medical expenses during pregnancy, so if the baby has already been born, this can be significantly lower. Other costs included are the average attorney’s fees and miscellaneous expenses associated with finding a birth mother who is a good match.

Other Financial Requirements

It’s clear that the type of adoption has a direct impact on costs, but this isn’t the only financial factor to consider. Having a child is expensive, and you’ll also need to plan for ongoing expenses, such as clothing, food, childcare, school supplies, and medical care. Adopted children may also need additional services or help, such as family counseling, which can be costly even if you have insurance.

Some adoption agencies require you to show that you’re financially stable enough to be able to support the child until adulthood. There will also be legal fees to plan for. Talking with legal advisors for adoption processes in Indianapolis who have experience with adoptions and the staff at the adoption agency can help you get a better idea of what’s required and what costs you can expect outside the actual adoption fee.

Reducing the Cost of Adoption

Adoption carries a significant financial cost, but there are programs that can help. There are often federal and state tax credits that can help offset some of the cost, and it’s worth asking the agency you’re working with if they have a sliding scale for fees. Organizations like A Child Waits Foundation and Gift of Adoption Fund offer grants for adoptive parents that can help you pay for part of the adoption, and some employers also offer an adoption subsidy as part of their family benefits. It’s also quite common for families to participate in fundraisers or set up crowdfunding options, like a GoFundMe, to help pay for adoption.

Our firm has experience with many types of adoptions and can provide information on what to expect from the process and connect you with other resources that may be able to help make adoption more affordable. If you have questions about what’s involved in adoption in Indiana or how you can get an overall idea of how much an adoption might cost, contact the Law Offices of Deidra N. Haynes, LLC, at 317-785-1832.