Adopting a child is one of the best things a loving home can do.
However, the cost of adoption often makes it difficult for parents looking to adopt.
The average cost of adoption is $15,000 to $40,000 with some adoptions even soaring past $70,000.
With such a large price tag, you may wonder what the factors are that drive the cost to such heights.
Here are 10 reasons adoption is so expensive.
Why Is Adoption So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Travel Expenses
Because of the high cost of adopting a baby in the United States, many families instead look to adopt a baby in a foreign country.
The problem with this process is that it can sometimes incur even more expenses.
One of the biggest costs of adopting a baby from an international agency is the travel expenses.
Many foreign countries require adoptive parents to spend time in the country first.
They want to supervise the parents with the baby or child to determine the relationship.
It also gives the parents the chance to determine if they’re actually ready to adopt a child.
Depending on the distance, it can be extremely expensive to travel to another country.
You’ll need to pay for a visitor’s visa, hotel costs, food, and an abundance of other costs associated with traveling.
The worst part is that it isn’t a single trip either.
These are expenses that you’ll need to pay three or four times.
Only after you’ve convinced the government and adoption agency that you’re the best pick for the child will they allow the process to continue.
By that point, you may have already spent $10,000 or $20,000 on travel expenses alone.
Adoption is expensive when you’re adopting an international child because of travel expenses.
2. Attorney Fees
There is an abundance of different legal hurdles you need to jump over to adopt a child.
That’s because the government is very wary of putting children into the hands of abusers or those connected with a pedophile ring.
To ensure you don’t miss a legal deadline or misunderstand the legal jargon used in adoption, you’re usually assigned an attorney if you don’t hire one of your own.
Adoption attorneys represent your interests to the adoption agency and court.
They help you understand the steps you need to take to adopt your child legally.
If there’s ever a deadline or a requirement that you need to satisfy, then they’ll make you aware of it and help you complete it.
The problem with adoption attorneys is that they’re expensive.
Many adoption attorneys specialize in adoption law.
Because of that, they earn most of their money by helping adoptive parents and children.
That also means they tend to charge more than other types of attorneys.
The benefit is that you have a lawyer that understands adoption laws to the letter.
Attorneys are also expensive because some charge by the hour while others charge a fixed price.
Those who charge by the hour tend to be more expensive because attorneys work long hours.
They have to ensure that they have all the paperwork they need, all the arguments lined up, and all the evidence to support the fact that the parents are suitable.
Attorneys who charge a fixed price are a bit cheaper because, even if they end up working many hours on your case, they won’t charge you more because of it.
Adoption is expensive because of the fees associated with hiring an adoption attorney.
Adopting a baby or child isn’t as easy as walking into an agency and choosing one.
There are several steps to the process.
One of those is meeting with a counselor.
Counselors are responsible for determining whether a set of parents is right for a certain child.
They can also help parents prepare their lives for the addition of a child.
They’re also extremely helpful in cases in which the parents are waiting for a biological mother to give birth.
In this instance, the counselor works with both of them and often acts as a mediator.
The counselor gives the birth mother support while keeping the parents updated about her situation.
If a problem ever arises between the birth mother and the adoptive parents, then the counselor is there to represent everyone and bring everyone together.
Adoption can be a stressful situation.
If the parents are starting to feel the pressure of it, then the counselor can help them find coping strategies or simply provide an ear for them to vent to.
In cases of adoption of an older child or a teenager, the counselor can help them sort out their feelings about adoption.
As with everything else, a counselor has to be paid.
Each adoption agency differs based on how much they charge for their counseling services.
Some add it to the overall price to adopt through their agency.
Others treat it as a separate fee that adoptive parents need to pay.
Regardless of the method, adoption is expensive because parents need to use a counselor and pay their fees.
4. Adoption Agency Staffing Fees
Adoption agencies are different than a foster care system.
Foster care systems use taxpayer dollars to fund themselves.
A foster home receives a check in the mail to cover the costs of raising the child.
Adoption agencies are for-profit organizations that connect parents with either birth mothers or children in a different country.
Some, like orphanages, also have children within a single building for parents to see and adopt.
Since they’re not funded by taxpayers, adoption agencies have to receive funding through the fees associated with adopting.
The funds they receive from the fees allow them to pay their staff, provide food for the children, and keep the place running.
Some agencies charge more than others.
An agency that uses variable fees, for example, will usually list a cheap price to entice parents.
Then they’ll start to reveal all the extra fees associated with the agency once the parents start to involve themselves in the adoption process.
These fees can range from counseling to attorney representation to even help with figuring out travel visas or government adoption papers.
Other adoption agencies will use fixed prices.
These agencies tend to be a bit cheaper because, no matter what problems you face, you have a set price with them.
These agencies will list all their fixed prices on their websites which makes it a lot easier to understand how much it costs to adopt through one of them.
Because agencies have to earn enough money to pay their staff and fund the business, adoption through an agency can be expensive.
5. Supply And Demand
As with anything, the rules of supply and demand also affect adoption.
If parents are looking for a certain type of baby—for example, a healthy white baby—then they’ll discover that supply is low.
Because the supply is low and demand is high, then the cost to adopt a healthy white baby is higher than another type of baby.
Babies or children with disabilities or other impairments are often not in high demand.
As such, the cost to adopt them is much lower.
It’s also why many adoptive parents will partner with a birth mother who is looking to give up her baby for adoption.
It gives them first dibs on the baby.
The problem is that not all birth mothers will go through with it once they give birth.
They change their minds, and the adoptive parents find themselves stuck with paying medical costs and no baby to show for it.
Infants are also generally more in demand than older children.
Parents want to experience what it’s like to raise a baby.
Others have concerns about older children being able to adapt to their new living situations.
Whatever the reason, many parents want to adopt an infant over an older child.
This further reduces the number of available babies for adoption and increases their price.
Adoption is expensive when you’re looking for a very specific type of baby that other parents want, too.
6. Medical Costs
If adoptive parents are working with a birth mother, then they usually find themselves having to pay for medical costs.
That’s because the birth mother usually has a large number of adoptive parents asking to adopt her child.
She can choose from the lot.
The parents she chooses for her baby tend to be ones who will offer to cover her medical costs and other associated costs.
Because of that, adoptive parents find themselves paying for expensive medical costs related to pregnancy and birth.
The average cost of having a baby is $5,000 to $11,000 depending on the state and hospital.
If complications arise, then you can expect the price to increase.
The price also increases if the labor extends for a long time.
That’s because the mother is using up a hospital bed and hospital resources.
The hospital is losing money since they’re unable to change the bed and bring someone else in.
To make up for the loss of money, they charge the patient for every day they remain in the hospital.
Adoptive parents could face large expenses if the birth mother goes into labor but doesn’t give birth for a few more days.
They also then need to pay for the services that come after giving birth.
The doctor gives various vaccines and performs a few tests to determine the health of the baby.
The parents will pay for those tests and vaccines.
The mother will also need care after giving birth.
They’ll cover those costs, too.
Giving birth is expensive, but if adoptive parents want to claim a birth mother and her child, then they often find themselves having to pay her medical bills.
That makes adoption extremely expensive.
7. FBI Clearance Fees
A vital step in the adoption process is to check the parents for past crimes.
Adoption agencies will not release a child into the custody of parents who have certain crimes attached to their records.
When parents choose to go through an agency, the agency will charge them a fee or add the fee to the total amount of adoption to do a background check.
The FBI will look through their records to determine if either of the parents were ever convicted of a crime, particularly one of child abuse.
This requires time on an agent’s behalf, and because of that, they need payment to perform the search and determine clearance.
Each parent needs to pay the fee.
Once the FBI clears their names, the parents are able to continue with the process of adoption.
Although the fee isn’t too expensive in itself, relatively speaking, it does add to the overall cost of adoption.
Adoption is expensive because of the various fees associated with it like the cost of receiving a letter of clearance from the FBI.
Besides paying for the birth mother’s insurance, adoptive parents also find themselves paying for the insurance of the child.
Whether the child is already born or when it is born, the adoptive parents have to take out an insurance policy for it.
This is especially true when adopting a child in a foreign country.
Because the government can’t be sure if the child received all their vaccines or not, they rely on insurance to cover the costs of any illnesses or treatments the child needs when it enters the United States.
Insurance policies can be expensive, especially for children.
Children often become sick because their immune systems are building and growing stronger.
They spend more time in hospitals than older children or teenagers.
Since the insurance company has to pay more for younger children, the cost of insuring them is also higher.
If you have to pay for the birth mother’s insurance during pregnancy and for a short period after childbirth, then you could find yourself paying a lot of money for insurance.
Adoption is expensive because you’re required to pay for insurance either for the birth mother, the child, or both.
9. Immigration And Visa Fees
Adopting a baby outside of the United States brings with it a few extra costs.
One of those costs is the price of immigration.
When you bring a baby into the United States, you need to fill out a lot of paperwork.
One of those important pieces of paperwork is the baby’s visa.
This allows the baby to enter the United States.
Visas cost money.
There’s also the process of adopting the baby to make them legal United States citizens.
That costs money, too.
Adoption is expensive because bringing a foreign baby into the United States to adopt it incurs extra fees and work.
Sometimes parents will try to cut out part of the expense of adoption by looking for a birth mother of their own.
However, this can sometimes bring added expenses of its own and actually make adoption more expensive than it needs to be.
One way that parents try to find a birth mother who is looking to give away her baby for adoption is through marketing and networking.
Whether it’s by searching through social media, relying on adoption forum websites, or even putting an ad in the local newspaper, there are several methods for parents to find birth mothers.
Some of those avenues cost money.
For example, some forums that help connect adoptive parents with birth mothers charge a subscription fee for you to join.
If you decide to go a more formal route like posting an ad, then you need to pay the price of that ad.
You may also have to go through several birth mothers before you find one you like and trust.
This might mean that you have to purchase an ad several times.
Adoption agencies usually do the looking for you, but if you want to try and find one on your own, then those are expenses that add to the price of adoption.
Adoption is expensive if you choose to market for a birth mother on your own.
How To Make Adoption Cheaper
Considering that adoption carries with it the same price as a new car or a small home, you may be looking for ways to make the process cheaper.
Here are a few tips you can use to make the process of adoption cheaper.
1. Expand Search Criteria
One of the best ways that you can make adoption cheaper is to adopt any baby that you emotionally connect to.
Whether that baby has a certain skin color or is healthy or unhealthy shouldn’t matter.
By narrowing your search to a specific skin color or quality of health, you’re decreasing the number of babies that qualify.
Those that do qualify are going to be in high demand.
Since they’re in high demand, they cost a lot to adopt.
By opening your heart to any baby, you can find the perfect addition to your family without having to go into debt.
2. Foster Care
Another great way to drive down the cost of adoption is to adopt from a foster care home instead of an agency.
Since foster care homes receive their funds through taxpayers, you’re basically adopting a child whose care you’ve already paid for.
Foster care homes have cheaper adoption fees.
Some of them even let you adopt kids for free.
You’ll find older children and teenagers in foster homes, too.
They tend to be cheaper than babies as well.
If you want to adopt a great kid and keep from getting into debt, then you should consider adopting from a foster care home.
3. Adoption Grants
Finally, you may qualify for an adoption grant.
Certain states that are eager to help children find loving homes offer grants for individuals who qualify.
The grant either covers most of the cost of adopting the child or waives the fees entirely.
You can search for adoption grants by looking through your state’s government website.
Adoption is expensive because it involves an agency to connect adoptive parents with birth mothers and children.
Since it’s a business, the agency has to pay its employees as well as take care of the children if it’s an orphanage.
Other costs associated with the adoption process also increase the price.
Thankfully, there are a few ways you can consider to make adopting that much cheaper.