Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice. Learn More ›

Costs of Adoption FAQ

Adoptions can cost a bundle. These questions and answers help you weigh the financial aspects of different types of adoptions.

What's Below:



Are agency adoptions very expensive?

They certainly can be. Agencies charge fees to cover the birthmother's expenses as allowed by state law; these expenses may include medical expenses, living expenses during the pregnancy and counseling. Add to this the agency's staff salaries and overhead -- and charges can mount up quickly.

Many agencies charge a flat fee for adoptions, while others add the birthmother's expenses to a fixed rate for the agency's services. Some agencies use a sliding scale which varies with adoptive parents' income levels, usually with a set minimum and maximum fee. You can expect to pay between $1,000 and $6,000 to adopt a young child, and $10,000 or more to adopt a newborn. Some agencies charge a lower rate for handling special needs adoptions.

Public agencies generally do not charge fees for placing children in adoptive homes.

Back to top

What are the costs involved in an independent adoption?

Because each situation is unique, fees for independent adoptions vary widely. Prospective parents must generally cover the costs of finding a birthmother, all costs related to the pregnancy and birth, and the costs involved in the legal adoption process. Some states allow the birthmother's living expenses during the pregnancy to be covered as well. Items such as hospital bills, travel expenses, phone bills, home study costs, attorney's fees and court costs can often surpass $10,000.

You Can't Buy a Baby

It is illegal in all states to buy or sell a baby. All states, however, allow adoptive parents to pay certain "reasonable" costs that are specifically related to the adoption process. Each state has its own laws defining which expenses may be paid by adoptive parents in any kind of adoption proceeding -- agency or independent. If you pursue an independent adoption, you must adhere to these laws when you give any money to the birthmother. And agencies are regulated to make sure that they charge adoptive parents only for the costs that the state allows.

Most states allow the adoptive parents to pay the birthmother's medical expenses, counseling costs and attorney's fees. Some states allow payments to cover the birth mother's living expenses such as food, housing and transportation during pregnancy. Most states require all payments to be itemized and approved by a court before the adoption is finalized. Be sure to know and understand your state's laws, because providing or accepting prohibited financial support may subject you to criminal charges. And the adoption itself may be jeopardized if you make improper payments.

Back to top

Copyright 2004 Nolo

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Mr. Clay exceeded my expectations. I was fighting for custody and child support with a bully of an ex. He was tough with the other lawyer and made sure that I was not taken advantage of. His knowledge and experience was very apparent. I highly recommend Mr. Clay to anyone needing legal aid. K. Aleman
★★★★★
Absolute pro! If you need a Lawyer that truly understand law and can answer any question you present him with, Mr. Clay is your man! I am extremely happy to have him represent me! Picking a lawyer is like picking a real estate agent. So many, so it can be hard but let me tell you I am 100% happy that I picked him and I will forever use him in the future and recommended him to anyone in the San Antonio area that is looking for legal representation. P. Martinez
★★★★★
Mr Clay represented me during my divorce in 2011. He was absolutely incredible throughout the entire process. He is very reasonable and is hands down one of the best attorneys in San Antonio, Texas. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for an attorney!!!!! B. Johnson
Contact Us Free Consultation
J. Michael Clay 210-694-5205