Costs of Adopting

If you are looking to adopt, the first thing you should know is that there are different types of adoption and different costs associated with each type. Adoption costs anywhere from $0 to $40,000. It is up to you to decide what kind of adoption is right for you. There are two universal expenses associated with every adoption and those are the fee for the home study and court costs. In some cases there are resources to help with these and other adoption costs.

Foster Care Adoption: $0 – $2,500. Foster case adoption is the least expensive route for adoption. These are children who, through no fault of their own, have been taken from their home and are unable to be returned, usually due to abuse or neglect. These children are known to have “special needs” which simply means they are either older, in a minority group or have disabilities.

Domestic Infant Adoption: $5,000 – $40,000. These vary widely according to the type of agency used and individual circumstances. Domestic adoptions fall into three categories:

• Licensed Private Agency Adoption: $5,000 – $40,000. Costs for this type of adoption include a fee charged by the agency and may include the cost of the home study, birth parent counseling, adoptive parent preparation and training, and social work services. Some agencies have sliding fee scales based on family income.

• Independent Adoption: $8,000 – $40,000 (average is $10,000 – $15,000). Independent adoptions handled by an attorney generally result in costs that may include medical expenses for the birth mother (as allowed by law), as well as separate legal fees for representing adoptive and birth parents, and any allowable fees for advertising. Compared to licensed agency adoptions, the costs of independent adoption may be less predictable. Also, the costs may not be reimbursable if the birth mother changes her mind about adoption.

• Facilitated/Unlicensed Agency Adoption: $5,000 – $40,000. These costs are generally the same as costs of licensed agencies. However, in states that allow adoptive placements by facilitators, these placements are largely unregulated and prospective parents may have no recourse if the adoption does not proceed as expected.

Intercountry Adoption: $7,000 – $30,000. These fees generally include dossier and immigration processing and court costs. In some cases, they may include a required donation to the foreign orphanage or agency. Overall costs may be affected by the type of entity in the foreign country that is responsible for placing the child. Many intercountry adoption agencies offer a sliding fee scale. Depending on the country, there may be additional fees.

The cost of adoption may seem overwhelming to prospective parents. Fortunately, there are resources to help defray adoption costs such as federal tax credits and tax exclusion, state tax credits, subsidies and reimbursements for children with special needs, employer benefits and adoption loans and grants. While the costs associated with adoption may be daunting, becoming a parent is a very rewarding and worthwhile experience. Regardless of the type of adoption you choose, there are many children ready and waiting to be adopted by a loving family.

For more information on Navigator, or if you have questions regarding adoption or any other legal matter, please contact David A. Grooters at Pappajohn, Shriver, Eide & Nielsen P.C., 103 East State Street, Suite 800, Mason City, Iowa 50401, (641) 423-4264 or visit