View Full Version : Wondering about the costs of adoption US and Int'l

duein june2003
09-19-2003, 08:21 PM
Hi all-

I just had a baby in May and my bio clock is about to 'run out of batteries'. I'd like to adopt our 2nd child, but don't know exactly how expensive adoption may be. Can you give me ballpark figures for adopting a child from the US and overseas?
Mom to Cole 5/21/03

09-20-2003, 08:42 AM
Okay I'm probably going to give you more information than you want as far as international adoption goes. The truth is that fees range are dependent on so many things that it's hard to give an accurate ballpark figure. The fees associated with adopting a non-waiting infant with no special needs from most countries probably start at roughly $15,000 and go up with a majority of countries coming in somewhere between $18,000 and $22,000. Because many agencies will offer grants for children who have special needs (and special needs might mean an older child, or a child who is a part of a sibling group or a child who has a minor medical issue or a child who has a major medical issue), the adoption of a waiting or special needs child can in some cases be much less then that.

In each case with an international adoption your fees break down into 4 basic categories (5 if you want to include things like mailing and getting documents in order).

First is your homestudy which is very dependent on the state you live in

Second are your fees to the BCIS (formerly called the INS) and other gov't offices that are fixed depending on the form you are filling out or the service you are requesting.

Third is travel expenses which can be effected by the time of year you fly or how much lead time you have in making your travel plans.

The bulk of your expenses are agency related..again agency fees can normally be broken down into a couple of categories..basic application fees, the "agency's" fee and the the "country/program fee" and finally a specific orphange or program donation (it's not really a donation as in charity but is sometimes listed apart from the normal program fee for accounting purposes..while an agency might for example reduce the country/program fee for a special needs child, the donation part remains the same).

While there are some "bad" agencies out there, most of the agencies that deal in international adoptions are non-profits or not-for profits that use the fees they collect (excluding the ones they pay to foreign gov'ts and agencies in other countries and basic operating costs) to assist children that can not be placed for adoption for one reason or another. That's not to say that they don't take a salary but most of those involved in international adoption in this country aren't doing it to get rich (nor am I implying that those involved in domestic adoption are doing it to get rich but domestic adoption is a slightly different animal from international adoption in terms of how fees are paid and to why and for what

It certainly isn't a small amount with the current adoption tax credit of $10,000 it does make a big difference for many (while you still have to have the money up front, after the adoption (once the adoption is finalized for an international adoption) you should be able to take the credit and in theory "get" some of your money back. The credit of course is available whether you adoption internationally or domestically.

Also some employers also offer some sort of assistance for adoptions which again can lower your over all costs after the fact

http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=680 is a pretty good article comparing costs in general

Hope that helps a little

Kimberly H
09-20-2003, 06:23 PM
Absolutely WONDERFUL post!

I would also add that some agencies handle most of the paperwork for you - gathering the documents, having them notarized and certified and authenticated, and assembling your dossier - while others have you do it yourself. I selected an agency where I did it myself and it gave me *some* feeling of control over the process and I got to cross things off my list. A very useful feeling during a time when so much was beyond my help.

Many international adoption agencies have websites where you can view the process, and sometimes generic fees, and can order brochures. I think it would help to narrow down what countries you might be interested in and go from there.

I'm sure you can get some great ideas from those of us who've been there/are there now.