Why does an Adoption cost so much?

I hate to part with my hard earned money. I mean, it’s downright painful to me to spend money. That’s because I have a Money Savor personality. When I first heard about the cost of Adoption, I thought, “Are you kidding me?! How much?” Let’s break it down as to why does an adoption cost so much.

According to Adoptive Family Magazines, the cost of an average domestic adoption is $43,239.


My Money Saver personality is thinking, “Do you have any idea how much that money would be worth in 20 years if you saved it in a mutual fund earning 7%(the average annual rate)?!”

I honestly get a little bitter when I look at this graph and I see what that money goes towards because my frugal side of me is thinking, “Seriously, why is that needed? Isn’t there a more cost effective way to do that?”

There are, but that’s not what this post is about.

Hiring an adoption Agency

Hiring an adoption agency costs a lot of money, so why should you do it? I mean, look at the fact that they get 43% of that pie. What the heck?! Couldn’t you save a bunch of money and not use an agency?

Hiring an adoption agency is much like hiring a financial advisor. You can invest in Schwab, E-Trade, and Vanguard on your own, but it can be confusing if you don’t understand how the market works or you feel intimidated about navigating the waters of ETF’s, discovering your diversified portfolio balance, or choosing a mutual fund. That’s why finding a competent financial advisor that will walk you through the process will be the key to your success.

Similarly, an adoption agency will guide you through the entire lengthy process of adopting children. They know where to refer you for counseling, where to find an attorney, and how to provide the home study. They also have access to a network of children that are ready to be adopted. In other words, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. (I gotta say, that’s enticing! Ray Croc knew what he was doing when he based McDonalds business process on an already successful hamburger chain, rather than starting from scratch.)

Planning for travel

What do you do if your adoption is out of state or out of country? Where do you begin? How do you get the best travel deals? You could either go at it alone, or you can save time, money, and energy by learning from someone who’s done the research for you. I have included travel saving ideas in my Preparing Financially for Adoption course.

Last minute travel can be expensive, especially if flights are involved. You can utilize travel websites like Expedia or Orbitz to discover the best flights at the lowest prices, which is handy if a baby comes early or the paperwork suddenly goes through for your out of state or international adoption.

As an example, Melinda Simmons (she received the Chipstarter grant) and her husband just got their son Ezra via an international adoption. She posted pictures of them with their newly adopted son on Instagram, which made me want to cry because they were so precious. They traveled all the way to China to get Ezra in June 2019. Their travel budget obviously had to be larger than a travel budget for a domestic adoption, so they needed to plan farther ahead and set aside extra funds. (Setting up your travel fund during our coaching program is one thing I will help you accomplish.)

Finding an Attorney

Can attorneys overcharge and milk the system? Yes. Can you find an honest and reasonably priced one? Absolutely! Can you choose your own attorney for adoption? Definitely! Here’s one resource for you to find an adoption attorney.

When we were presented an opportunity to adopt our oldest child, I researched local attorneys and reached out to a networking group called Women Mean Business. It was through this networking group that I connected with the attorney we ended up using for the private adoption. Her name is Rebecca Sierra-Woods, and she is an adoption attorney for the Chattanooga area. Her attorney fees were only $1,700 for the entire process. I was elated with the price, since I found out from a friend that when she was going through the adoption process, her attorney fees totaled $10,000.

“So, wait Laura, are you telling me that prices aren’t the same?”


It is imperative to do your due diligence in finding an adoption lawyer before you sign on the dotted line.

Here’s a few pertinent questions to ask your potential attorney:

  1. How many adoptions have you finalized? (This will help you determine if they are a newbie or a seasoned veteran.)
  2. Are you domestic, private, or international? (You don’t want to be a guinea pig for an international adoption if they have only done domestic adoptions.)
  3. What states can you practice law? Do you practice law in the state in which the child is being adopted?
  4. How long do you anticipate the adoption process will take? (If they are on top of things, you’ll have an adoption within 6 months, but if not, it’ll drag on forever or what seems like forever.)
  5. What are your fees? (An attorney who is vague on their fees should be avoided.)
  6. What do those fees cover? (You don’t want to pay for something that the adoption agency is also charging you for.)
  7. Are those fees negotiable? (If you need help with learning how to negotiate, I can definitely coach you on that. I have formulated a successful method of negotiating which my grandfather and father taught me. It proved very useful for my husband when he was negotiating for his salary after being hired. That negotiation alone put us tens of thousands of dollars ahead in the long run. He said he is glad he married a Money Honey.)
  8. Do you bill per hour, through retainer, or a is there a set fee?
  9. How do you communicate with your clients, and is communication included in your fees? (In other words, is the clock ticking while you are typing an email to me?)
  10. How detail oriented are you and how organized are you? (I’ve discovered that detail oriented attorneys complete the correct paperwork at the right time and in the right way. Improperly filled out court documents will cost you time and money. Plus lost documents(yes, attorneys do lose or misplace documents) prolong an adoption, which is super frustrating and costs you even more money)

Home Study Costs

Normal costs range between $1000-$3000 for a home study. You need to find a certified social worker to perform the home study. If you are using an adoption agency, they will have a certified social worker on staff. We did a private adoption for our oldest, so no adoption agency was involved.

Learn more about the Adoption Home Study process.

Putting it all Together

Adopting children can be expensive. I emphasis the word CAN, but it doesn’t have to be. Our 3 adoptions cost us $2,700 IN TOTAL. (Feel free to schedule a free 15 minute call with me if you want to know how.)

Please carefully consider the following when contemplating whether or not to adopt due to the expense involved. Is the cost of adoption the only reason why you’re choosing not to adopt? If the answer is “Yes”, please consider the child’s life. They didn’t ask to be in their situation. You can have a profound impact on their life, giving them the chance to be raised in a good home with love and opportunities they would not have otherwise have. How can you put a price on that?

As you plan and set aside money for the adoption process, you will feel a sense of accomplishment towards your goal of being a Forever Family. It’s the intentional aspect of living that will give you the satisfaction and joy on the journey.

How you can help

If you know someone who is on the journey towards adoption, please let them know about our Preparing Financially for Adoption Course. Check out more about the Preparing Financially for Adoption course.

Money Ideas to Fund Adoption

If you are looking for ways to save money for Adoption, Check out the Adoption and Fertility Grant Success Course. The worksheets, excel downloads, checklists, and videos in the Grant Success Course will help guide you on what to put in your grant applications. Ideas will be sparked by the questions in the downloadable PDF, success tips with what to look for to find the ideal grant for you, a list of 80 grants for adoption and 20 grants for fertility, a checklist to help you stay on task, and a list of documents needed for application.

Here’s resources for the military and ideas on how to fund adoption.

Put a plan in place, so you can stress less about they money you need. If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter for money resources to help you during your journey, then be sure to sign up here.

Join the community on Facebook: Paying for Adoption.

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