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Cost of Adoption Update: 2012-2013

A comparison of costs for domestic and international adoptions, the cost of adoption uncertainties, and more -- data from our 2012-2013 Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey.



How much did it cost to adopt a child in 2012-2013? More than 1,100 families that adopted a child in 2013 or 2012 completed our survey on the cost of adoption (before adoption-related employee benefits or the adoption tax credit). We thank everyone who took the time to share their cost details!

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

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

  • 78 percent of respondents who adopted from foster care receive an ongoing monthly subsidy. On average, these families reported receiving $707 per month.

  • For most adopters, the average total expenses were about $35,000.

  • 38 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 (72%) of "false starts" cost less than $5,000.

Please feel free to cite these figures, but be sure to link back and credit Adoptive Families magazine as the source.

How long does it take to adopt? See the timing data from AF's 2012-2013 Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey.


Average Domestic Adoption Cost

  Domestic Newborn - Agency Domestic Newborn- Independent U.S. Foster
Homestudy Fee  $2,268 $1,785 $396
Document Preparation & Authentication $2,636 $1,598 $0
Adoption Agency Application & Program Fees $16,962 $3,357 $0
Legal Fees  $4,141 $12,693 $1,075
Advertising/
Networking
$2,340 $3,978 $0
Birth Family Counseling $770 $842 $0
Birthmother Expenses $3,233 $5,590 $0
Foster Care $201 $0 $0
Travel Expenses $1,977 $2,431 $378
All Other Expenses $5,438 $1,819 $762
TOTAL $39,966 $34,093 $2,612

 

Average International Adoption Cost

  China Ethiopia Russia South Korea Ukraine
Homestudy Fee  $2,952 $2,119 $3,175 $3,123 $2,225
Document Preparation & Authentication $2,221 $2,086 $4,650 $1,654 $1,313
Adoption Agency Application & Program Fees $8,702 $17,038 $24,620 $22,437 $8,550
In-Country Adoption Expenses  $6,123 $2,395 $11,320 $8,600 $8,531
Child's Passport, Visa, Medical Exam, and Other Fees $1,143 $691 $1,740 $688 $744
Post-Adoption Expenses $1,754 $1,431 $2,558 $1,180 $1,460
Major Travel Expenses $9,420 $11,695 $15,800 $4,949 $6,778
In-Country Travel Expenses $2,669 $2,655 $4,667 $814 $2,800
All Other Expenses $1,354 $5,850 $3,950 $350 $7,667
TOTAL $36,338 $45,960 $72,480 $43,795 $40,067

Cost Distribution

  Less than $1k $1k to $5k $5k to $10k $10k to $20k $20k to $30k $30k to $40k $40k to $50k More than $50k
U.S. Agency 0% 1% 1% 23% 33% 25% 13% 4%
U.S. Independent 0% 4% 13% 24% 14% 25% 14% 6%
U.S. Foster 69% 18% 7% 6% 0% 0% 0% 0%
China 0% 0% 0% 1% 39% 42% 16% 2%
Ethiopia 0% 0% 0% 10% 26% 42% 19% 13%
Russia 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 6% 50% 44%
South Korea 0% 0% 0% 0% 18% 68% 9% 5%
Ukraine 0% 0% 0% 0% 28% 29% 36% 7%

Giving Back
To gather as much data as possible, we once again posed a challenge: If more than 1,000 people who adopted in 2013 or 2012 completed our Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey, we’d select one at random and donate $300 to the adoption charity of his or her choice. We’re thrilled to report that more than 1,100 adoptive parents completed the 2012-2013 survey! The winner of our giveaway was Evelyn Hedden, of Georgia, and we were honored to contribute to Love Without Boundaries in her name. The organization funds education and medical care, arranges for foster homes, and more for orphaned and impoverished children in China.


More Results from the 2012-2013 AF Survey:
How long did it take to adopt in 2012-2013? Find the latest timing data here.

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