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Cost of Adoption Update: 2009-2010

A comparison of costs for domestic and international adoptions, the cost of adoption uncertainties, and more -- data from our 2009-2010 Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey.



How much did adoptions cost in 2009 and 2010? More than 1,800 AF readers completed our survey on the cost of adoption, before adoption-related employee benefits or the adoption tax credit. Thanks to everyone for their valuable input!

  • Domestic adoptions, on average, cost less than international adoptions.

  • U.S. foster adoption is the least expensive adoption route, by a significant margin.

  • For most adopters, the average total expenses were about $30,000.

  • 35 percent of domestic adopters had at least one "false start," in which adoptive parents worked with one or more birthmothers before a match that succeeded. The majority (71%) of "false starts" cost less than $5,000.

How long does it take to adopt? See the timing data from AF's 2009-2010 Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey.



Cost Distribution

  Less than $5,000 $5,000 to $10,000 $10,000 to $20,000 $20,000 to $30,000 $30,000 to $40,000 $40,000 to $50,000 More than $50,000
U.S. Agency 2% 5% 29% 34% 22% 5% 3%
U.S. Independent 8% 8% 24% 31% 20% 5% 5%
U.S. Foster 90% 7% 3% 0% 0% 0% 0%
China 0% 0% 6% 69% 24% 1% 0%
Ethiopia 0% 0% 8% 76% 15% 0% 0%
Russia 0% 0% 0% 4% 24% 42% 29%
South Korea 0% 0% 2% 60% 37% 2% 0%

Giving Back
To gather as much data as possible this year, we posed a challenge: If more than 1,600 people completed our Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey, we’d select one at random and donate $500 to the adoption charity of his or her choice. We’re thrilled to report that more than 1,800 adoptive parents completed this year’s survey! The winner of our giveaway was Janeé Pedersen, and we were honored to contribute to From HIV to Home, an organization that educates families and assists in the adoption of HIV+ orphans.

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