View Full Version : Adoption costs

06-27-2004, 01:20 AM
OK, I hope this doesn't sound wrong- but is there a way to get a "bargain" adoption? The little I've read seems to show that adoptions are so expensive that I'll never be able to afford to adopt. If I choose to have another child, I'd actually prefer to adopt a toddler rather than conceive, but like I said the costs would probably overwhelm us. Can anyone give me info or websites that fully disclose the costs of adoption (domestic or international)?

06-27-2004, 11:16 AM
I could type a a huge book on Indy adoptions in Ukraine, Indy is a method standing for independent and thus not using an agency. I know Ukraine allows Indy adoptions (actually once on their turf that is all that is allowed agencies can only help on this end)...and I don't know what other countries allow Indy but I think there are about two others.

Indy adoptions cut out the agency. Speaking for Ukraine an agency hires a facilitator in Ukraine to help (a must) couples adopt...via my research on the internet I have hired the facilitator that many of these agencies hire. So I have cut out a huge middle man, and also get my info directly from the cats mouth and don't have an agency telling me what they want me to hear.

I have a huge thread on Ukraine INDY adoption so it is a great place to start if that ever interest you.

There is a tax credit of $10,160 per child adopted which means you get that back in taxes...I wrote up a thread on that to if you search the archives in the lounge as of the past month I believe.

Again it is lengthy to explain but my thread if that option interest you is a good one to start...

AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

06-27-2004, 12:22 PM
There is a book called Passages From The Heart which is a collection of articles reprinted from FCC newsletters. (Families with Children from China). In it, there is several articles on budgeting and costs of adoption. Also, remember you are paying for services rendered. If you do an independent adoption, nothing is set and you are left alone in a foreign country. An agency works for you. You do not have to pay all at once. Many banks offer adoption loans. I know BB&T does for one. Research agencies. Research countries. Guatemala and Korea cost more for adoption because the children are in foster care. There is the tax credit as Neve mentioned but you only receive it after the adoption is complete which could be up to a year later. Many people fundraise for their own adoption. Start with adoption websites like Rainbow Kids or FCC. There are plenty of books in the library or bookstore. Nothing is impossibe.
DD #2 adopted from Guatemala
DD #3 waiting in China

Edited to add: I have read up on Ukraine's adoption process after Neve's response and do stand corrected that agencies are not allowed in the Ukraine process. However, agencies do have contacts like translators and facilitators that they can refer you to. Having an agency refer you, you would be insured of the reputation and integrity of the person in the Ukraine. That is similar to Guatemala where private attorneys actually arrange the adoption throught the court process.

06-27-2004, 12:41 PM
well different countries I can only assume are different so I will say right out that I only know about Ukraine...but the above is totally incorrect in Ukraine for agencies are not even allowed to work in Ukriane, so if one hires them they are only good here so the "you are left alone in a foreign couyntry" couldn't be further from the case IN UKRAINE. Granted if you chose not to hire somone that would be the case but I feel safe to say you'd come home empty handed too...

ALSO and only speaking of which I know...in Ukraine your adoption is finalized there in country so tax credits apply the year you adopt...

Again I am only speaking of Ukraine...
AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

06-27-2004, 01:42 PM
check with your HR department, some companies offer adoption benefits. Where my husband used to work, they paid adoption expenses up to a certain amount, plus employees could participate in a legal benefits program for a small monthly fee that paid the legal fees part of the adoption.

Jacob Nathaniel Feb 91
Logan Elizabeth Mar 03

06-27-2004, 01:46 PM
Julie, I think the least expensive option is domestic with children currently in foster care. Many states have listings of foster children currently available for adoption. Not sure how old you are considering though. I think the youngest I've seen on our state's listing is about 3-4 years.

Otherwise, I'd say that the overall costs for international adoption are more or less in the same ballpark of costs. Every country is different so that will impact what you can do, though.

We are adopting from Guatemala, and I don't think I'd ever chance it without an agency. The actual agency costs are fairly minimal--only $5000 (not including homestudy which was another $1200 or all the INS or US government fees). The highest cost was actually directly to the Guatemalan lawyer, which was a total of $16000, paid in two $8k increments--one when we accept the referral and one when the adoption is final but before we travel. These amounts vary considerably from agencies and all adoptions in Guatemala are handled as private adoption; the government is not involved in terms of the placements, etc. Travel costs to Guatemala are quite low, and you are only required to stay for 3 days on the pickup trip.

Our daughter is in excellent private foster care, and her health is as good as it would be in the US. We just returned from visiting her at 3 months of age, which is another perk for the Guatemalan system.

I think the actual adoption costs in other countries is lower, but you also have longer in-country stays and more expensive travel costs.

Also, the adoption credit is based on your gross income. If you make over $150k, you get a reduced credit up to about $190k. I think over that, you cannot qualify for it at all.

Some companies also offer adoption benefits. Many people also get second mortgages on their home, or get unsecure loans with great interest rates.

It's unfortunate that adoption costs are as high as they are, but we are paying for our daughter's foster care, lawyer fees, etc. during the process so I feel like the costs are somewhat justified.

Good luck with your decision!


06-27-2004, 02:29 PM
I would agree that the cheapest way to go would be through your county or state. You MAY have to wait longer - or shorter. The wait is more uncertain (as I understand it). And there are all ages available, although the younger you want, normally the longer the wait. The stressful part, in general, is that it takes longer for your adoption to be final, with the possibilty of biological family members stepping forward and deciding to take over. Again, I'm sure this is rare, but it just happened to friends of mine who were going to adopt a sibling group - 5 and 7 year old boys - only to have their mom get out of jail for neglecting them and drug abuse and apply to get custody. Now, of course, she has to jump through a bunch of hoops and my friends are fostering them in the meantime, but it was devastating. Particularly because they were told, "No one is going to come for these kids."

Another option is to look into special needs adoptions. Frequently you can get grants and there are all sorts of special needs available.

Most agencies do an excellent job of telling you the costs for different countries. I'm not sure about domestic.


06-27-2004, 11:31 PM
...like I have said before, one can use an agency who can help them with Ukraine they will supply aid here in the US, and will hire a facilitator in UKRAINE there for them...but since your question was about inexpensive adoptions I thought I'd share my tons and tons and tons of research on this in regards to UKRAINE.


You will find the following blurbs on this one page:

This blurb:
ADOPTION AGENCIES AND ATTORNEYS : Ukraine does not allow adoption agencies to operate or locate a child for adoption in Ukraine. However, facilitators are allowed to assist with translation and interpretation services.

This blurb actually states that the NAC will only have contact with the adoptive parents, and that it is the adoptive parents who must send in their info.

The Adoption Center, a part of the Ministry of Education, is the only legal Ukrainian authority for adoptions. It maintains the database of adoptable children available for both domestic and international adoptions. The Adoption Center is involved in the international adoption process from the moment prospective parents apply for registration until an adoption hearing is held in court. The National Adoption Center has a policy of direct contact with prospective adopting parents. Adopting parents must send their documents directly to the National Adoption Center.

Another blurb-
Adopting parents who have registered with the Adoption Center may receive information about adoptable children only after they receive an invitation from the Adoption Center to travel to Ukraine. Under Ukrainian law, Ukrainian officials may not disclose information on adoptable children to agencies or other private citizens.

There is another blurb on how there is no fee for children either...thus explaining that any you pay is to "the help" with the exception of some small sums that they list.

So read these blurbs on the above page...the link takes you right to the page...
I just wanted to show you what I meant when I said that agencies can not do anything on that side of the pond for you but hire a facilitator and translation team for you, they can not operate over there on your behalf. I hired my facilitator in seconds...I emeailed him and he responded :)
Now many use agencies that help them on this side and then send them on to a facilitator over there. Most of these facilitators make themselves available to INDY families as well. In fact I only know of one who does not and will only allow himself to be hired by an agency. So if one went INDY he is the only one out of like 10 (plus) I have heard of who would not help you. The down side is he has a fantastic reputation...the upside is so does Oleg, the facilitator I have hired and several others...who also allows himself to be hired by agencies.

I hope this helps you, I got an email from someone questioning me so this is why I am posting this since you asked about ways to adopt and saving money.

I would spend my last penny on adopting if I needed to, I thank goodness have the money to go either route we would want to go...but from the research I have done in UKRAINE I don't have to and thus we are going INDY.

I hope that helps...my thread will help explain other things if it helps at all :)

Good luck and keep us posted!!!

AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

06-28-2004, 01:12 AM
Thanks for the info, everyone! I am wading though all the info Neve referred to, you are right- you could write a book!! As for my hubby's company chipping in, that will never happen. He works for a small business and the benefits are nil. Fundraising might be an option, but that could take a real long time to come up with all the funds. The costs are just so discouraging.

Honestly, we are a very low middle-class family... so maybe we don't "deserve" to be able to adopt. It's not like we could just take the funds out of our savings or whatever- the funds don't exist. Maybe I'll win the lottery some day, but I suppose I'd have to pay in order to win. :(

06-28-2004, 07:50 AM
yikes hate the word "deserve" there...for that is not it...
keep in mind company aside you have the tax credit after the fact which helps....
as you start researching things might come to you...

AKA "mama2be"-forgot password
and Baby Boy Tristan born @UNC
Feb 25, 2003
Brother to 3 pups "gees" and 2 kitties

06-28-2004, 08:27 AM
I totally agree with Neve that it's not about deserving to adopt. People who have biological children incur similar costs, it's just that insurance picks up most of the tab. It is really inequitable, in my view, that people who are building their families through adoption don't have similar support from society.

The tax credit goes a good way to addressing this inequity, but doesn't really solve it. The tax credit is not enough to cover the cost of most adoptions (certainly not ours) and it comes after the fact.

There are companies that offer adoption loans. One possibility is figure out the total cost of your chosen route (domestic, international,etc), then save all but $10,000 of it. Borrow the $10,000 and then repay the loan with the tax credit. I don't mean to suggest that this would necessarily work in your particular circumstances, just a possibility.

Also, keep in mind that you don't have to pay all fees at the same time. For our adoption from China, we paid homestudy and other fees upfront and then had 6 months or so to save to pay for the remainder of the fees and travel costs.

Also, depending on what sort of child you feel able to parent, there are lower cost options. Others have mentioned adopting through the US foster care system. I believe that there are grants and such for adoption special needs children internationally. I think that often works well for people who don't have ready funds but do have good health care benefits--again that may not be your situation. Also, the agency that did our homestudy has a program to help place African American babies domestically. I believe the costs in that program are significantly lower.

I am very sorry that cost is discouraging you and hope that you will continue to search for a way to make this work for your family.

06-28-2004, 10:24 AM
I'm going to try and not repeat too much of what the other shave said, but they are all correct: adoption through your state is the least costly way, the tax credit is helpful, and most places space out payments. I adopted domestically through an agency and the costs aren't much different than international. The only thing I can say is that if you are willing to consider a child of another race (which it seems that you probably are since you are also interested in international), a lot of agenceis have lower fees for AA or biracial children, as these children are sometimes harder to place. Almost always, though, you would be dealing with a newborn, but ALL fees would be reimbursed by the tax credit. Just a little info.... Oh, and try not to think that you don't "deserve" to adopt because of the costs. The costs are hard for everyone, all "deserving" parents. What's important is that if you're already a good parent, there's another child out there who "deserves" you. Good luck!

06-28-2004, 01:11 PM
In the end, statistically speaking adopting is no more costly then if you were to have a child without medical insurance. Of the truth is that the majority of people have medical insurance when they are pregnant so the cost of all the medical people and the hospital isn't something we ever see. While with a domestic adoption some of your fees come from the mother's living expenses, for an international adoption and at least some of domestic adoption the fees you are paying are for services just like what you would pay without insurance if you were pregnant. My point in all this is that while most of us have no problem financing (taking out a loan) for a car or a home or a college education or even putting a dishwasher or clothing on a credit card and paying over time but for some reason we cringe at the thought of financing an adoption, I think because it's hard to thing in terms of the what we are financing is the services we are paying for. I mention this because for many people if they look at their own views on debt and what they are actually going into debt for currently, it becomes a little easier to think about whether they can afford to finance an adoption

In the end each of us have to be comfort with our own debt level. Since you are interested in adopting a toddler domestically would be going through the foster care system in the USA, which means you would little to no fees. Depending on whether you are able to become a multi-racial family would probably be a huge factor when it comes to what country international (or even domestically depending on the children who are currently in the foster care system). In some countries where children are most typically places as infants or below a certain age, a child who is a bit older may have matching fees associated with them (for example you pay 1/2 the "normal" country fee and the agency pays the other half or you pay 3/4 and the agency pays the remaining 1/4). In other countries children who have medical concerns ranking for mild to moderate to severe, may actually be sponsored in total by the agency in USA for the simple reason that if you are adopting a child with known medical concerns the agency already knows that you are taking on a bigger financial risk (since you may have out of pocket medical expenses you would not have with a child without medical concerns), plus a greater emotional risk and more time will have to be invested in the child's care. That often will make the child "harder" to place. Therefore by placing the child using agency funds, the child who might otherwise never have a "family" is matched with one. Not all special needs or waiting children qualify for that type of match thru an agency

Then there are countries that simply are cheaper or less expensive. For example places where the children are in foster care tend to be more expensive then those where they are not. Places where travel is shorter may be more expensive (but then you have to factor in time also, many people simply can't spend 3 to 6 weeks out of this country). Or countries where there tends to be more hardship or political unrest can also factor in (Africa and Haiti are examples here, although not all programs in Africa or Haiti are in expensive._

People like to say where there is a will, there is a way. I'm not sure that's an accurate statement. I think in the end it's more of a matter of being honest with yourself about what you are actually willing to trade off and what you are able to do emotionally, physically, finanically (perhaps for some people spiritually as well). What I mean is that there are people who simply aren't willing or able to make the trade off of say giving up their cable TV or weekly pizza or heaven help us, their internet connection, not that any of those things alone would be enough to pay for adoption expenses but over time every little bit helps. If you spend $15 a week on pizza that $780 is more than enough to cover the filing of an I-600A for the adoption of an international child. Moving from a high end cable service to basic only probably gets you another $500 a year. Canceling the newspaper and any magazines (since we figure we need the internet to stay sane while we are adopting), probably nets another $100 or so. Things do add up. It's just that most of us don't start "saving" for an adoption 6 years before we do it. If we did the amount of money probably won't seem as bad because we would have a nice stock pile. Instead of us end up going to debt and paying it off after the fact by the same cost cutting measures

None of this is probably very helpful to you and I probably should delete it all but maybe you can find something useful. If you really want to adopt, even if you think you might want to adopt, start saving the small amounts (you can also use the money for something else if you don't adopt) and honestly look at what your priorities are in terms of a child (age, race, healthy, particular country, the amount of travel you can handle). You really might find as you wade through the process than after the tax credit (which currently stands at 10,160 so you in theory pay the gov't less but you've already paid that much in adoption fees) that another 10,000 or so is more doable. Then again if you go through the foster care system in the USA, you fees are not nearly as expense as all and probably with the tax credit your out of pocket turns out to be 0

Wishing you success in whatever you decide

06-28-2004, 04:31 PM
Other's have already said it, but the cost can be very low if you're willing to adopt an AA or biracial child within the U.S. My sister had a friend who adopted a biracial child and her costs basically worked out to $500.

06-29-2004, 12:25 AM
Thank you for all the time you put into your message to me. :) It just strikes me as sad that money is such an obsticle when my family is so loving and could provide a happy home for another little one. In our house everyone has everything they need and even several of their wants- but there aren't any "silver spoons".

I wish it was a matter of giving up the "extras" in order to come up with the money. We've pared down extensively in order to have me be a stay at home mom. Our internet service is $9.99 a month, cable is free, we never eat out (even fast food), the only magazines I get are the ones that are free at BRU or at the library, we don't rent movies, I buy most clothes used from Ebay... quite honestly I think I am already the bargain queen... LOL.

In thinking about this, I probably shouldn't have posted my original post. I was just whining. Your post got to the heart of the matter- what am I willing to give up? Am I willing to give up each weekend to fundraise? Am I willing to give up being a stay at home mom to earn money? Am I willing to give up the occassional "treat" like a new toy or game for my sons? Those are hard questions because we don't live a live of excess.

Anyway, thank you everyone for your posts. I have a lot to think about. I will happily celebrate as you all go through your adoptions, and maybe someday you can celebrate with me too.

06-29-2004, 12:00 PM
you know when I posted my message..I really was speaking in general terms not about you specifically (because for some reason I was pretty sure you weren't living high on the hog spending money without thinking about it)

And I honestly think that you should have posted your message because everyone of us should get to whine every now and then. Even when we 'logically' understand why things are the way they are that doesn't mean we have to like the way they are or that in the grand scheme of things that things seem "fair".

And although it's probably not the way you have been thinking but you might look into the foster care program in your state or the foster to adopt being a foster parent is obviously not for everyone and in the case that is not foster to adopt, you know that the child isn't going to be a part of your family forever but in the end I think if you (speaking in general here not you specifically) can make a positive impact on a child even for a short time period, you have provided that child with love and support and a positive role model which they might not have experienced before in their life and over time that might be the one thing that keeps them going. But like I said I know it isn't for everyone

Whatever path your life takes you on, don't apologize for asking the question that most people think about..how does anyone afford to adopt? And hopefully we will be able celebrate with you a year from now, two years from now, or five years from now

06-29-2004, 12:09 PM
Julie, I really do understand what you are saying. I didn't have any problem ttc or any problems with the pregnancy but gestional diabetes. It would be nice to have a sibling for dd. We have enough love in our hearts that a 2nd child doesn't need to be our actual dna. There are enough children in the world that need a home that we could provide. I too would rather have a toddler. Then you look into all the red tape with domestic adoptions, racial issues etc., and it is a mess. You look overseas and the cost is so high up front and lots of red tape there too. In the end it is easier to just to have another baby of your own and not have to go through this big mess. Meanwhile all those kids still need a home and don't get one because of the all the money and hoops that are put in your way to discourage you.

Karin and Katie 10/24/02

06-29-2004, 01:00 PM
Not that I am not frustrated by the cost of international adoption - because trust me I am (and the paperwork is tedious and time consuming but not hard - I think people overstate that part personally), but a lot of the money is put to good uses. For instance, in China, there are approximately 1000 orphanages, 250 of which adopt internationally. The money that China gets from international adoption goes to support the kids who will never be adopted. My agency fee does go to overhead and salaries, but it also goes to support the work they do in countries providing medical care, family reunification, foster care etc. I guess my point is that the money and hoops aren't meant to discourage, it's meant to help the greatest number of kids.

06-29-2004, 02:19 PM
And really the hoops for the most part are also suppose to be to protect the children (sometimes it backfires but that's why they are there) Plus honestly the end result is well worth all the annoying and time consuming things you might have to do. With international adoption the whole issue of having to please two gov't can be hard on your nerves BUT really the other countries gov't wants to make sure that a child coming overseas is not going to be placed in a bad situation..there are already enough rumors in different countries about why Americans want children.

06-29-2004, 06:58 PM
Karin, we are in the same situation. My home is a good home, not rich in money but rich in every other way. I'd love to share that with a child, but like you said it is "easier" to just have another baby of your own.

06-30-2004, 12:12 PM
It is so easy to get discouraged about money, but don't...If you are committed to it, you'll find a way to make it happen.

I'm not a regular in this forum, but I'm an adoptive mom. We did a domestic adoption and were all set to work with an independent agency out of state. We got a call from a friend who knew of someone who had a sister that was expecting. They had told her all about us and she wanted to talk to us about adopting her child. After referring her to our local agency (who was only planning to do our homestudy) we were in the delivery room for his birth and now he's our forever.

I'm not shy about talking about money and adoption. It's a necessary evil. We had budgeted $30K--and we wouldn't have had that if FIL hadn't passed away 6 months prior and left us a comfortable inheritance. As it turns out, we were very lucky. Bmom needed very little financial assistance, was on Medicaid, and the local agency fees were much less than the out-of-state agency we had originally planned to work with. Our final expenses will be less than $10K, which will all be recouped when we get our Adoption Tax Credit.

The least expensive option on the spectrum is to adopt a special needs child (which is a very broad definition) through your state/county or do foster-to-adopt.

As for "Deserving" to adopt...think of all the 'unfit' parents out there who truly don't deserve to have children. I'm not going to lie and say the homestudy process is a barrell of laughs...it's not. If you can pay your bills reasonably well, keep a roof over your heads, and food on the table, you'll do fine. The social workers who handle adoptions aren't looking for reasons to turn you down. They're looking for all the reasons that you should have a child.

07-01-2004, 10:51 PM
Hi, I wanted to comment on your post. We did a private adoption (not all states allow them) and were matched with our birthmother through networking. Most the networking I did was at very little cost to me, and mostly money for long distance. Had we not had to travel our adoptoin would have been less than $6000. We traveled twice. The first to meet his birthmother and the second time when she had him. Because she lived on the other coast in which we lived our flights were very expensive short notice. We also had to stay in that state for two weeks. So our travel cost were very $$$. (I refused to stay in a Motel 6 with a newborn)
Like other says, many companies offer adoptoin help. My husband company offers up to $5000 in related adoption expenses. Plus we got the taz credit which was very very nice.
There is a lot of misconception about adoptoins, so I say read read read, and then read some more. You can adopt for free or for little cost in the US. Most of my friends who have adopted through the foster care system did adopt children under 3 at no cost to them. Some of them it took a short time, others longer. Of course all of them were at risk placements. More than half of those placements took place when the child was less than one.
Also, look at smaller less prestigious agencies. You dont have to go with flashy names or designer furniture. A good non profit agency will do and are often affordable, even doing fees on sliding scale. Not jsut infants are placed either, but toddlers and sometimes older children too. The agency social worker we worked with is affordable and you can pay over time.
If you are open to adoption a biracial/mixed race child, unfortunately their adoption fees are less because they are not as in "demand". :(

07-02-2004, 02:46 AM
Hi Julie,

I'm just checking the boards after many weeks away. I think it can be 'easier' to have a bio child than adopt. How much hassle it is I think depends in part on your reasons for adopting. Our attitude was--hey, they're giving us a child, so they better make sure we're good people. So for us, the hoops didn't really seem that big. Also, as a PP mentioned most SW's want to find reasons to place a child with you vs. the other way around.

Financing wise, we were fortunate to get an interest free loan from some family members to adopt and then pay them back with our tax credit money. Between the federal and state tax credits, our adoption will not end up 'costing' us anything, but it really is a cash flow issue--you'll have to come up with the money at the time the adoption occurs, and you don't get reimbursed until tax refund time. One advantage of domestic vs. international is that now you can claim adoption expenses on your taxes before your adoption is finalized if it is a domestic adoption. So, if you go through a multi-year process, you will be able to claim your adoption expenses (and get the credit) even before you have a placement.

I think you are in the Portland, OR area. I can PM you some specific OR info. I found as we went through the process.

Mom to Jeremiah 2/4/03