Cost of Adoption Update: 2009-2010

A comparison of costs for domestic and international adoptions–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.


Average Domestic Adoption Cost

Newborn (Agency)
Newborn (Attorney)
U.S. Foster Care
Homestudy Fee
$1,912
$1,640
$231
Agency Application and Program Fees
$14,161
$6,413
$0
Attorney Fees
$3,548
$10,261
$1,573
Document Preparation and Paperwork Fees
$1,114
$640
$02
Advertising/Networking
$2,017
$3,259
$0
Birth Mother Expenses/Counseling
$4,161
$5,729
$0
Travel Expenses
$2,198
$1,895
$342
All Other Expenses
$4,682
$1,628
$598
TOTAL*
$33,793
$31,465
$2,744

 

*Total costs before claiming adoption tax credit or applying any adoption reimbursement benefits.


Average International Adoption Cost

China
Ethiopia
Russia
South Korea
Homestudy Fee
$2,171
$2,019
$1,831
$2,413
Agency Application and Program Fees
$6,062
$11,380
$18,441
$14,361
Document Preparation and Paperwork Fees
$1,584
$1,679
$2,432
$1,352
All Travel Expenses
$8,699
$7,377
$13,481
$4,868
In-Country Adoption Expenses
$6,334
$2,327
$7,653
$9,534
Post-Adoption Expenses
$933
$1,326
$1,143
$1,111
All Other Expenses
$2,840
$2,146
$4,768
$3,689
TOTAL*
$28,623
$28,254
$49,749
$37,586

*Total costs before claiming adoption tax credit or applying any adoption reimbursement benefits.


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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Adoption Agencies

Holt International Children’s Services
Eugene, OR
U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Children’s Home Society & Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
Saint Paul, MN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Children’s Connections, Inc.
Lubbock, TX
U.S. Newborn
TX
Gladney Center for Adoption
Fort Worth, TX
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Building Blocks Adoption Service
Medina, OH
U.S. Newborn, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Open Door Adoption Agency, Inc.
Thomasville, GA
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Bethany Christian Services
Grand Rapids, MI
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
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See all adoption agencies >

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