How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Child?

cost to adopt a child

“What does it cost to adopt a child?”

And another similar question: Why does it cost to adopt a child?

We often hear questions like these. And they’re good questions.

Multiple factors and safeguards exist to help children who need families come into safe, loving, equipped homes. And most of these require professionals.

In order to help break down some of the typical costs for families considering adoption, we’ve put together a quick list of the contributing factors, typical costs, and available resources.

So let’s take a quick look—

Factors influencing the cost to adopt a child

Many factors influence adoption costs.

Here are six—

1. Type of adoption

First and most significantly, adoption fees depend on which type of adoption a family pursues.

Three of the most common adoption types include—

Domestic adoption: adopting a child from the same country as the adoptive parents, domestic adoption is typically facilitated through adoption agencies, attorneys, or adoption professionals.

Inter-country adoption: adopting a child from another country, inter-country adoption requires adoptive parents to comply with the laws and regulations of both the adoptive country and the child’s country of origin.

Foster care adoption: adopting a child who is in the foster care system, foster adoption requires working with the foster care system and obtaining necessary approvals from relevant authorities.

2. Agency fees and services

Additionally, adoption agencies have operational costs that sustain their daily activities. These can include rent, utilities, staff salaries, training, and marketing.

These expenses vary by agency and increase agency fees and adoption costs.

Adoption agencies handle extensive paperwork, process hundreds of documents, and coordinate multiple parties involved in the adoption process.

Each of these administrative tasks requires time, resources, and staff, which then contribute to the cost to adopt a child.

4. Home study and background checks

Social workers conduct home studies, gathering and evaluating many documents—including background checks, references, medical reports, and financial statements.

These home studies play an important role in safeguarding the well-being of the child and ensuring a safe and loving home environment.

Home studies help identify potential concerns or challenges and provide valuable support and guidance to adopting families. Home studies contribute to the cost to adopt a child.

5. Medical and counseling expenses

Prior to adoption, some countries or agencies require medical evaluations of the child and/or family to asses overall health and identify any existing medical conditions. These evaluations may involve various tests, exams, and consultations with medical professionals.

Pre- and post-adoptive counseling services play an important role in supporting the emotional and psychological well-being of everyone in the adoption triad. These counseling costs are sometimes included in the adoption fees as they are viewed as essential to the long-term success and well-being of the family.

6. Travel and accommodation costs

Whether traveling here in the United States or overseas to meet the child, various travel and accommodation costs may be factored into adoption fees.

“Lifesong gave us the platform that made it easy to share our story as well as our donation page. We also were blessed to receive a matching grant that helped us reach our fundraising goal!” —Chelsie & Ryan

Overview of costs

So considering everything above, here are some more specific breakdowns—

Adoption costs vary widely, but here are a few averages, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway:

Adopting a child from foster care: $1,000 – $5,000
(Typically speaking, expenses are minimal and may be reimbursed by the state. Sometimes—especially if additional court hearings are required—there may be extra expenses.)

Private agency adoption: $35,000 – $70,000

Independent adoption: $15,000 – $40,000

Inter-country adoption: $20,000 – $50,000

Financial assistance and resources

While the cost to adopt a child may be understandably high, there are multiple resources to help.

These include—

Adoption tax credits and subsidies

Adoption tax credits are financial benefits provided by the government to help offset the costs of adoption. These credits allow families to claim a certain amount of qualified adoption expenses.

Grants and loans for adoption

Through adoption financial assistance—like matching grants, interest-free loans, and adoption crowdfunding pages, organizations like ours help you bridge the gap in adoption fundraising.

Employer benefits and adoption assistance programs

A growing number of family-friendly workplaces offer valuable resources to help with the cost to adopt a child, including reimbursement for adoption expenses, paid leave, or adoption-related counseling.

Crowdfunding and fundraising options

Fundraising for adoption is both a practical way to afford the financial costs of adoption and a beautiful demonstration of the Body of Christ co-laboring on behalf of a child in need.

“We believe that adoption is a faith journey—one that you are called to by the Lord. We believe that whatever God calls you to, He will equip you for.”

—Herbie Newell, President & Executive Director, Lifeline Children’s Services


Adoption is a complex process that requires many resources and professionals to ensure the well-being of a child, to support birth parents, and to assist adoptive families.

So adoption fees—while they can feel overwhelming—are necessary to hire individuals that help maintain the integrity and professionalism of the adoption system and provide the necessary ongoing support to adoptive families.

That said, we understand that the greatest cost in an adoption isn’t financial. Healing trauma, extending love, and being the hands and feet of Christ to a child in need costs more than just money. Just as the Cross was the cost of our adoption.

Thankfully, God is always willing and able to give us exactly what we need.

Remember: If God leads you to adopt and you’re overwhelmed by the cost to adopt a child, you don’t have to do it alone.

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