Cost of Adoption Update: 2010-2011

A comparison of costs for domestic and international adoptions, the cost of adoption uncertainties, and more — data from our 2010-2011 Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey.

How much did it cost to adopt a child in 2010-2011? More than 1,500 families that adopted a child in 2011 or 2010 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.
  • 80 percent of respondents who adopted from foster care receive an ongoing monthly subsidy. On average, these families reported receiving $630 per month.
  • For most adopters, the average total expenses were about $30,000.
  • 39 percent of domestic adopters had at least one “false start,” in which adoptive parents worked with one or more birth mothers before a match that succeeded. The majority (77%) 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 2010-2011 Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey.


Average Domestic Adoption Cost

Domestic Newborn – Agency

Domestic Newborn- Independent

U.S. Foster

Home Study Fee  $1,820 $1,538 $285
Document Preparation & Authentication $768 $680 $0
Adoption Agency Application & Program Fees $14,441 $4,608 $0
Legal Fees  $3,536 $10,331 $686
Advertising/
Networking
$2,172 $3,437 $0
Birth Family Counseling $1,233 $543 $0
Birth Mother Expenses $3,834 $4,274 $0
Foster Care $230 $38 $0
Travel Expenses $1,870 $2,285 $521
All Other Expenses $4,108 $2,488 $761
TOTAL $34,012 $30,222 $2,253

Average International Adoption Cost

China Ethiopia Russia South Korea Ukraine
Home Study Fee  $2,052 $2,107 $1,923 $2,178 $1,886
Document Preparation & Authentication $2,214 $1,769 $3,258 $1,472 $1,272
Adoption Agency Application & Program Fees $7,652 $11,988 $22,173 $16,675 $6,143
In-Country Adoption Expenses  $5,581 $1,979 $6,709 $9,007 $13,946
Child’s Passport, Visa, Medical Exam, and Other Fees $716 $837 $1,431 $888 $1,021
Post-Adoption Expenses $1,576 $1,150 $1,684 $1,775 $767
Major Travel Expenses $7,181 $7,852 $14,748 $5,577 $9,614
In-Country Travel Expenses $2,704 $1,080 $6,709 $583 $2,386
All Other Expenses $2,125 $5,363 $7,569 $8,533 $5,000
TOTAL $31,801 $34,125 $66,204 $46,688 $42,035

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% 6% 25% 37% 23% 7% 1%
U.S. Independent 1% 7% 14% 24% 22% 17% 13% 2%
U.S. Foster 70% 23% 4% 3% 0% 0% 0% 0%
China 0% 0% 0% 4% 58% 32% 6% 0%
Ethiopia 0% 1% 0% 10% 50% 30% 8% 1%
Russia 0% 0% 0% 0% 3% 17% 45% 35%
South Korea 0% 0% 0% 9% 36% 42% 11% 2%
Ukraine 0% 0% 0% 0% 32% 36% 32% 0%

Giving Back

To gather as much data as possible, we once again posed a challenge: If more than 1,000 people who adopted in 2011 or 2010 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 1,500 adoptive parents completed the 2011-2010 survey! The winner of our giveaway was Amy Kolker. of Illinois, and we were honored to contribute to Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, an organization that offers a range of services, including adoption and pregnancy counseling.

Authors


Copyright © 1999-2019 Adoptive Families Magazine®. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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