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Nov 08, 2021

Adopting a Child: Preparing Financially

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While considering the thought of adoption, money may not be in the forefront of your mind until the mere thought turns into a plan. Once the decision has been made to adopt, budgeting for the new baby or child must be considered. So, how much does it cost to adopt? There are actually many ways to adopt a child, and as a result, the costs vary depending on which path you choose.

Domestic Adoption and International Adoption

The first thing to consider is whether or not you’ll be adopting a child from within the United States or abroad. Be aware that there are likely to be costs you may not expect during the process. Making a child a part of your family is a serious choice, and the price of that decision will absolutely be reflected.

If you choose to go with an international adoption, there are base attorney or agency fees as well as any application fees to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Depending on where the child is from, there are additional court and legal costs as well. Be sure to consider medical expenses for the child’s transition, if necessary. In addition, consider the language of the country your future child is coming from. You may need a translator for you and/or any documents that need to be reviewed.

You may be surprised by some of the things covered above; however, adopting domestically comes with expenses you might not have thought about. You may have to pay for medical costs, court fees, rent, legal representation for the birth and adoptive parent, counseling, as well as travel and phone expenses for the birth parent. You may also need a translator for domestic adoption, if the family speaks a language other than your own.

Potential expenses related to birth parents are a cost many adoptive parents don’t consider. Because of the costs that come with pregnancy and giving birth, such as prenatal care and hospital expenses, it’s quite common to help birth parents financially during the adoption process.

Adopting a Child Through Foster Care

The costs linked with adoption are required in order to find stable, responsible parents. At the end of the day, it’s for a child’s safety and security. However, if you want to save as much as you possibly can, adoptions through foster care are actually paid for by taxes.

Public institutions receive federal and state funds to form adoption plans and provide needed services, such as monthly allowances to adoptive families and their qualifying children. Of course, adopting through foster care isn’t free. In certain states, the adoptive parent(s) must pay for the finalization of the adoption. Also, you can expect several trips to get to know the child before you get to take them home, sometimes out of state. A local foster care adoption, not including travel expenses, can still cost over $2,000.

Using an Adoption Agency

Yet another option is to work through an adoption agency. Both adoptive and birth parents can choose to work through such an agency. They will get help in the matching process, assistance with the paperwork, ongoing counseling, and coordination of social services required for the placement and adoption finalization. An agency is, in very broad terms, a matchmaker for children and parents. It can make the process easier, but agency adoptions are one of the more expensive paths to adoption.

Every adoption agency sets its service options and fees. It is vital to ask for a detailed list of costs, refunds, and non-refundable costs and come to an understanding regarding costs related to birth parents.

Research Is Key

There are a number of ways to adopt; remember to do your research. Network and utilize word of mouth as much as possible. Let everyone know you want to adopt.

Before agreeing to work with an adoption attorney or agency, ask them for a description of all costs, their fees, and refundable costs. Inquire about how they calculate each cost and be sure they’re aware of your budget.
When determining your budget, get creative. Some families have fundraisers to cover expenses. Additionally, there is an adoption tax credit to look into. You can claim this in the same year you finalize your adoption. Lastly, there are grants and loans to help with the adoption process. Learn about adoption loans with TruStone Financial.

Make A Budget

When examining the actual cost of adopting a child, look at the following umbrella expenses and make a clear budget:
  • Living Expenses or Rent
  • Travel Expenses
  • Counseling
  • Legal Representation for Birth Parent(s) and/or Adoptive Parent(s)
  • Medical Expenses
Consider these and any other category of expenses you think you’ll encounter. Creating a game plan can help reduce stress. No matter what direction you choose, be sure to leave no stone unturned. Double and triple check for hidden fees in the paperwork, and work with a professional to help you keep it all in check. And, while all of this can seem overwhelming, remember that bringing your child home is worth the process.  


Note: parts of this article were sourced from International Adoption Help, AdoptUSKids,, Adoption Network and the IRS.

Material in this blog should not be considered legal, financial or other professional advice. Neither the publisher nor TruStone Financial assumes liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on this material. Websites not belonging to TruStone Financial are for information only. No endorsement is implied.

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