Many different aspects of the adoption process have some degree of financial requirement, but the important thing to understand is that the total cost of adoption varies significantly from family to family and from situation to situation. Below, we will break down the different types of adoption expenses you can expect.
In order to legally adopt a baby in the United States, you must have a completed home study from a licensed social worker or agency. The cost of getting a home study is determined by the individual or agency performing the home study, but it usually ranges from $1,500 to $3,000. That fee is paid directly to the individual or agency.
If you’re working with a professional or organization that provides marketing and advertising as part of their adoption services, there will be a fee associated with those efforts. Adoption marketing and advertising usually includes online efforts, such as content marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising, and more. Offline efforts usually include networking with adoption professionals, such as hospitals, doctors, agencies, shelters, women’s centers, and more. Every professional or organization sets their own cost for this aspect of the adoption process and it varies. That being said, the costs associated with marketing and advertising within the adoption space can be significant — particularly online — so expect this amount to reflect that.
After you’ve been chosen by an expectant mother and she decides to move forward with you in an official capacity, it will be your responsibility to retain legal services. An adoption attorney is always required to represent you in an adoption, but depending on state laws, you may also need to retain services for the expectant mother in her state. Legal fees are determined by each individual practice and vary significantly from practice to practice and state to state. From our experience, adoptive families can usually expect to pay between $5,000 and $9,000 per placement. Those fees are paid directly to the attorney.
After legal services are retained, the expectant mother is legally allowed to receive financial assistance from the adoptive family. A caseworker or adoption attorney will meet with the expectant mother and put together an outline of her financial needs for the remainder of her pregnancy and a certain period of time after birth. The amount of support each expectant mother needs depends entirely on her individual circumstances; therefore, the total amount can vary significantly. In general, a family can usually expect to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 per placement. These funds can only be distributed to an expectant mother through an attorney. It is illegal for an adoptive family to give money directly to an expectant mother.
Every family can expect some level of travel during their adoption journey, especially if you are chosen by an expectant mother who does not live near you. This could include traveling to meet the expectant mother any number of times before or after the baby is born, traveling to the hospital for the birth, traveling to court for finalization, and more. Furthermore, in the event you are chosen for an opportunity that requires you to move quickly, it’s also important to be prepared for unexpected, last-minute travel expenses. Since we can not predict where and when you will need to travel, there is no way to estimate the total cost of this aspect of the adoption process.
The Adoption Tax Credit is a set amount of money that can be deducted from your annual taxes. Unlike a tax deduction, with a tax credit, a family can get reimbursed dollar for dollar, provided they qualify for the credit.
To qualify, adoptive parents must have had a domestic, non-special needs adoption during the tax year. Even if an adoption doesn’t finalize, adoptive parents can still take the credit. It’s important to obtain and save receipts for all eligible adoption-related expenses, including adoption program fees, attorney fees, agency fees, birthparent expenses, travel expenses, etc.
The amount of the Adoption Tax Credit usually changes at least once a year. Click here for more details and to see the current amount.