How To Save Money on Adoption

Amanda Koval • Apr 16, 2024

Adopting a baby in the United States can be expensive. Typically, it can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $70,000, depending on what type of adoption you choose to pursue. There are, however, some ways that hopeful parents can save money when pursuing adoption to grow their family. 

The different types of adoption

Before we dive into the more affordable vs. less affordable paths when it comes to adoption, we’ll share a brief overview of each option. Choosing the one that is right for you will be the first step of your adoption journey. 

Foster care adoption

Foster care adoption is where you’re adopting a child from the foster care system in your state. This means a child is eligible for adoption, in that the parental rights of their biological family have already been terminated. This is often a more affordable route than private adoption. Many of the expenses are subsidized or covered by the state, and sometimes there are even adoption subsidies to support the child’s needs post-adoption. Costs vary, but are typically around $5,000 - $10,000. 

International adoption

International adoption is exactly what it sounds like. This is where you’re adopting a child internationally from another country. There are some countries that allow international adoption and others that don’t. Every country has a different set of requirements and restrictions as it relates to adopting from their country. This option can be expensive, as there are often additional costs due to the international nature of the process, including travel, legal fees, etc. 

Private adoption

Private adoption means that you are adopting a child from an individual, and it is an agreement between you and the expectant parent that gave birth to the child or is going to give birth to the child. This is a private agreement that you work out together, in collaboration with an adoption attorney or agency that can help facilitate the communication and legal paperwork associated with the adoption. Private domestic adoption, where you adopt an infant within the United States, can cost anywhere from $35,000-$65,000. These costs typically cover adoption agency fees, home study fees, fees, counseling, and medical expenses for the birth mother, to name a few. 

There are also different types of private adoption

There are a few different routes you can take when it comes to private adoption, including embryo donation. This is where you adopt an embryo from genetic parents that no longer wish to to birth or parentn this child. You would be adopting the embryos from them either for you to carry or for a surrogate to carry. 

Another option is to work with an adoption agency, whose job it is to match hopeful adoptive families together based upon a set of criteria they are each looking for in their corresponding partner(s). You may also consider agency-assisted adoption as an alternative to full-service agency adoption. This is where you’ll get some help from an agency, but are doing part of the process on your own. 

An adoption consultant can help network you with multiple adoption agencies. However, every adoption consultant works differently, so it's important to clarify with them before entering into any sort of contractual agreement. Most of the time, an adoption consultant's job is to either help you choose the right adoption agency or to share your adoption profile with multiple agencies within their network to find you additional adoption opportunities. Costs associated with working with a consultant can be pricey, ranging anywhere from $70,000+. 

If you're trying to be super scrappy and self-sufficient in the adoption process, self-matching adoption may be the best choice for you. Also called independent adoption, this means that you are working to find an expectant parent yourself to match with. You're still likely going to need to use an adoption agency or attorney to help finalize the adoption, but with self-matching adoption you’re doing the legwork up front to find potential match families on your own. Costs associated with independent adoption (or self-matching) can range from $10,000-$30,000. 

While these are ballpark cost estimates for each type of adoption, it's important to note that the overall cost can be significantly influenced by variables such as the specific circumstances of the adoption, legal fees, and the need for counseling and support services. Some adoptive parents may also be eligible for adoption tax credits, which can help offset a portion of the expenses. 

If you're still not sure which type of adoption is right for you, take this quiz to find out.

Have a high-quality adoption profile

No matter which type of adoption you choose, your adoption profile is the single most important tool in enabling you to adopt faster, ultimately saving you time and money. When it takes you more than a year to adopt, you have to pay to renew your home study (between $500 and $2,000) and potentially have to pay agency or attorney renewal fees ($2,500-$5,000) as well. Matching quickly is in your best interest, and the easiest way to match quickly is focusing on your adoption profile. 

Be the expert in you.

Take the Quiz

How do you make a high-quality adoption profile

  • Make it easy for people to get to know you

  • Appeal to different learning styles

  • Use videos, images, text, etc.

  • Make sure your profile is mobile friendly

Don't be afraid to show your authentic selves and share why adoption is important to you. It will help you match that much more quickly with a potential adoptive family.

Share your adoption profile yourself

It's finally the moment you've been waiting for: Sharing your adoption profile is the step where someone considering placing a child for adoption sees your profile and then ultimately decides that you are the right family to raise the child. Hopeful adoptive parents can spend tens of thousands of dollars unnecessarily to get people to share their profile for them. There are many free ways to match your adoption yourself, thus saving money on total adoption costs.

While adoption can be costly, where there's a will there's a way. Read these tips for funding your adoption, and best of luck on your adoption journey!

Amanda Koval created My Adoption Coach to offer people hoping to adopt a supportive community to help make their dreams a reality.  Amanda is an adoptive mom of two and an adoption profile expert who has helped over 1,000 families bring home their babies through adoption. She has hundreds of videos on her YouTube channel to teach you how to adopt.