The cost of Adoption

This is a continuation of my prior post on the costs of infertility. There are many reasons to adopt a child, and of these one is infertility. Here I discuss adoption costs.

I think adoption is a great option. At the end each individual or couple decides how they want their family forms. We seriously considered adoption and met with a lawyer to discuss the process and adoption costs. This is an account of our experience with the process.  

Adoption costs

There were many things we did not know. The sticker price of an adoption (local/private) is about $13,000. If you use an agency you are looking at $25,000. International adoption costs up to $40,000.  Yes you read that right, adoption costs between $25,000 to $40,000. This is wild considering in vitro fertilization (IVF) costs between $15,000 to $30,000.

One financial incentive that exists for adoption  is a $13,190 tax credit fully paid up to a adjusted gross income (married filing jointly) of $197,800. There is some credit from $197,800 to $237,880 (2016).

For IVF, there tax deductions exist on medical care costs after 10% of your adjusted gross income. There are also IVF options including shared risk plans. The cost is high for both IVF and adoption, thus limiting many couples to pursue either and definitely not both simultaneously.

Home visit

We also learned that a home visit is required before even being considered for an adoption. This makes complete sense, as the home needs to vetted before sending a child into it. A social worker evaluates the home and at the end of the day has a lot of pull. They come to the home, interview the couple, check out the house, and decide on the overall fitness of the couple. They make at least 2 visits and if they don’t like what they see then tough luck.


Next is a scrapbook for the potential mother which is not a requirement but highly suggested. The scrapbook has a letter for the mother of the adopted child explaining why the family wants a baby, how they would love the child, etc. Include pictures of the family, spouse, and extended relatives. It is weird, but basically we would have to sell the idea of a profile to the mom so that hopefully she chooses your family over someone else.

After our appointment my wife and I had a long discussion. Unfortunately, we could not afford to do both IVF and adoption simultaneously (and both potentially take years) so we decided to move our IVF timeline up by 6 months. This would hopefully allow for us to do IVF one or two times and if it did not work, move forward with adoption by the end of the year. Neither of these guarantee a child. Adoption takes up to 3 years at times and IVF is about a 50/50 shot.

 So the cost of adoption can be between $25,000 to $40,000 and take up to 3 years also with no guarantees. Currently (2016) there is a tax credit of $13,190 that is fully paid up to $197,800 adjusted gross income (married filing jointly) and to some degree after that up to $237,880.

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I am a Dad and Doctor trying to find financial freedom by owning my dollars and debts. Helping dads with their finances so they can focus on the family.

2 thoughts on “The cost of Adoption

  • December 17, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Adoption is less expensive when adopting from the US foster care system, as families working directly with public county or state agencies typically have minimal out of pocket costs. It seems the costs go up, as you mentioned, with private agencies, or the farther away you travel to adopt. We traveled numerous times to another country in our attempt to grow our family. We had wonderful times holding, caring and loving “our” baby. He was deeply loved at a time he needed it most. Yet, he did not come home with us. Adoption laws changed while we were in process, and the birth mother changed her mind about going forward with the adoption. She decided to let her parents keep the child. This was crushing, but we knew he would be lovingly raised by his grandparents, who we met, and he would not grow up in an orphanage, which had been a real possibility. Although we ultimately did not get to expand our family, we realized there were no guarantees and spent according to our values. We were committed to the financial and the emotional costs, regardless of the outcome.

    • December 17, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Wow. Thank you for sharing. That is both uplifting and disheartening. Funny you should comment on this article today. My wife was just reading me an article by some foster parents. It is something we have continued to consider and likely will explore more when our son is 5 years old or so.


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