Cost of Adoption Guide

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Cost of Adoption Guide 2017-12-21T22:39:20+00:00

The Cost of Adoption

A step by step guide to help you understand the cost and process of paying for an adoption.


The cost of adoption is often misunderstood and can be discouraging. I understand those fears and have teamed up with to help!

In this guide, you will understand more about the cost of an adoption, the associated fees and what they are for. Also, we have compiled a guide with a list of ideas on ways to fund your adoption and will send you additional ideas and details on a monthly basis. Simply leave us your email and you will get monthly content to help you overcome this obstacle.

Every adoption is unique, and so is the way each family goes about funding their adoption. 


How Much Does Adoption Cost?

One of the first questions asked when considering adoption is “How much does adoption cost?” Unfortunately there is no a simple answer. Every adoption is unique and fees vary based upon the type of adoption you choose to pursue. Public agencies also known as State agencies locate and prepare adoptive families to adopt children from foster care. These adoption matches are typically arranged by the agency and the placement committee and are based on the needs of the child and the ability of the family to meet the needs of the child or children. The cost of adoption through a public agency is usually minimal and are paid for through tax dollars. is a licensed private agency specializing in infant domestic adoptions. Private adoption agencies, such as, work with expectant parents who have chosen to make an adoption plan. We provide support, counseling and advocacy throughout the entire process. We encourage expectant parents to choose a prospective family for their child based on shared information and regular contact. Private adoption fees average between $30,000-$40,000 and may include the following:

Private Adoption Fees:

  • Home Study Fee: A home study involves interviews, verification, home evaluation, documentation, and completion of the report.

  • Agency Fee: This fee covers administrative and professional services provided by the agency in connection with the adoption. It includes the cost of training, documentation preparation and authentication, counseling and support for adoptive parents and birth families, matching services, personnel, Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children administration, overhead, and legal consultation. Each agency has their own policies, but if a match does not result in a placement or a placement is disrupted, rolls the agency fees over to another adoption situation.

  • Outreach Fee: Prospective adoptive parents who desire agency services and assistance in identifying a child to adopt must pay an outreach fee. This fee gives the agency the ability to advertise itself as a provider of adoption services and manage an advertising campaign for prospective adoptive parents.

  • Training Fees: Most states require prospective adoptive parents complete several hours of training prior to placement of a child.

  • Birth Parent Expenses: Birth parent expenses are not an obligation, but an agency can help coordinate prospective adoptive parents pay, as a matter of charity, actual pregnancy related living expenses, including housing, food, transportation, personal items, clothing, and activities provided to the birth mother prior to delivery. Such payments must be permissible by applicable state adoption laws. The amount paid depends on the needs of the birth parents and will be discussed fully with prospective adoptive parents.

  • Legal and Professional Fees: An agency may incur fees for outside professionals, including agencies, attorneys and mental health professionals, in connection with adoption.

  • Medical Expenses: Prospective adoptive parents are not obligated to pay birth parent medical expenses, however, they agency may coordinate with the prospective adoptive parents as a matter of charity to pay actual medical expenses related to pregnancy, including prenatal care, maternity care, medical, physician, delivery, hospital, lab and other medical services. The amount paid depends on the needs of the birth parents and available insurance coverage and governmental funding.

  • Travel Expenses: Adoptive parents must pay any travel and lodging costs incurred for their adoption placement.

  • Post-Placement Supervision: A social worker or other mental health professional must supervise the child’s placement until finalization of the adoption. He or she assists with the transition and can assist prospective adoptive parents in obtaining any needed services. The post-placement supervisory requirements will vary from state to state.

We know this information can be overwhelming, but we are here to help! We have compiled a guide to help you overcome any financial obstacle and enable you to realize your dream of growing your family through adoption.

How To Fund Your Adoption

Federal Adoption Tax Credit

This is a tax credit offered to adoptive parents to encourage their adoption. The United States International Revenue code offers a credit for “qualified adoption expenses” paid or incurred by individual taxpayers. The credit apply’s for all types of adoption except step-parent adoption and is available in the  year the adoption is finalized. In 2017, the maximum adoption tax credit was $13,570 per child. The amount changes year over year due to inflation. Talk with your tax adviser to understand more about the Adoption Tax Credit and how it can work for you. The Adoption Tax Credit is not refundable, but it does provide financial assistance to many families each year.



This is simple to do and easy to set up. Crowdfunding has worked well for some families when raising funds for their adoption. Websites like and are available online and can get you started. It is completely free to create a campaign for most crowdfunding platforms, however, some will take a percentage of your donations. So, do your research before deciding which platform to go with. It’s important to note that crowdfunding an adoption can have mixed responses from families and friends, so take time to think over whether crowdfunding is right for you. This was a tool that I used as a last resort. I did not start either adoptions by sharing a link to a crowdfunding platform on my social media pages. For truly successful fundraising, most people will follow your journey to see how hard you work to raise the funds.  We raised just under $1,000 through crowdfunding for both adoptions.

Agency Fundraising 

It can be hard to let people know that you are funding your adoption, and understands that. Let your friends and family know that they can donate to and the donations raised help families like yours, adopt. The funds go toward helping families with the expenses of your adoption. In addition, their donation to AdoptionLife is tax-deductible. For some, there comes peace of mind knowing that their funds go directly toward your agency. We are here to help you make funding your adoption go as smoothly as possible. Some agencies have simple platforms such as Amazon Smiles or Facebook Donation that can help you raise money. Check with your agency to obtain more details about how they can help you raise funds. 

Restaurant Fundraising Events

Local restaurants are a great way to get your network involved. Work with local restaurants like Chic-fil-A and have a night dedicated toward your adoption. Generally, restaurants will donate a percentage of its proceeds toward your cause. This can be a great way to get friends and family together to celebrate your hopes to adopt while enjoying yummy food. 

Apply for grants

There are many grants available to families for all types of situations. An amazing list of grants is available HERE. Each grant requires families to fit specific criteria to be considered and awarded funds. Make sure to read each grant requirement carefully and find one (or more!) that is best for you.  It is a great idea to try and apply for a matching grant.  Through this type of grant, people can donate money for a tax deduction and then the grant foundation matches it.  We received a matching grant for $5,000, so they received $5,000 in donation to the foundation, and they sent us a check for a total of $10,000. This was a huge boost for our fundraising campaign. 

Branding your adoption

Say what!? Nothing fancy, but items like T-shirts, socks, etc. can be a simple yet powerful way that comes back two-fold. Not only does every item purchased help contribute to your adoption, but your network is now proudly sharing your hopes to adopt by strutting their stuff in your adoption swag. Win/win! Contact your local print shop or utilize a company like to get started. We did a puzzle fundraiser which is when individuals can “sponsor” a piece of the puzzle by making a donation toward the adoption. As each sponsor donates, their name is written on the back of the puzzle piece. Once all the pieces were filled, then we revealed the first photo of our son. Visit HERE for more information. 

Number Board Fundraiser is another creative idea that is minimal cost but provides great potential. 

Step 1: Visit your local crafts store or office supply store and pickup supplies to build your board. Be creative! Make sure you get many small envelopes or cards to be your board’s “numbers.”

Step 2: Build your board. Include information on your board about your adoption and how picking a number will impact your family.

Step 3: Set up your board at church, school, or work. (Be sure to get the appropriate permission before setting it up.)

Step 4: Leave your board up for about 30 days. By that point hopefully most of the numbers will have been taken and “donated.”

Selling homemade or handmade items

Are you creative, crafty, or crazy good in the kitchen? Consider selling your handywork to promote your hopes to adopt and raising funds to help afford it. It can be a lot easier for some to financially assist your adoption when they receive something in return. Sharing your talent is a great way to fundraise for your adoption.  We held a weekly bake sale all summer and raised $2,000.

Here are a few examples of the goods we sold and funds we raised: 

  • Made and sold key chains – $400
  • Tamale Fundraiser – $1500
  • Partnered with a local coupon company and sold Pizza coupon books – $7,000
  • Art Raffle – $2000
  • Gun Raffle (check local laws for raffles) – $1500 
  • Auction with items donated from friends and family (we did this twice and made over $1,000 each)
  • “Egg My Yard” fundraiser (delivered pre-filled Easter eggs to families the night before so their kids woke up to a yard with hidden eggs.) – $4,000  (could have made more but ran out of man power and had to stop taking orders)

Host a class

You can take a class for almost anything, and a lot of companies will assist in a fundraiser. Reach out to local companies that do painting parties, cooking classes, etc. or host your very own! Put your skills, talents, and network together to come up with something amazing that your community can get involved in.

Auctions and Garage Sales

Asking friends and family to donate to your garage sale can be an amazing way to raise funds for your adoption. Hosting online actions on social media can also help you reach a larger crowd. You can ask your friends who have services or items they create or sell to donate to your auction and appreciate the free marketing and advertising you provide on their behalf with their items and services. For our Yard Sales, we asked all of our friends and family to donate unwanted items that they no longer needed.  We had an outpouring of donations.  We also asked friends and family to donate baked goods and had a bake sale at our Yard Sale.  On the same day of our Yard Sale, we advertised for a car wash at a local grocery store.  Between both events we raised almost $6,000 in one day.  I set up a Square account and people gave/donated more because they could use a debt/credit card.

Adoption Loans

Loans are available to families hoping to adopt. Many companies offer loans and some even offer little or no interest. Each adoption loan is different and some have criteria for loans to be awarded. Most adoption loans only take a few days for approval. However, it’s up to you at what point in your adoption process you wish to take out a loan. It’s also important to note that many adoption loans are faith-based, so do your research before filling out any loan applications. We refinanced our house twice to obtain extra money for both our adoptions. Loans are a great way to finance adoptions because they allow families to borrow a large amount of money and offer fixed interest rates and terms. This can make it easier for you to budget. Remember, each family is different. It is important to research and to choose the best adoption loan that fits your situation. For more information about adoption loans, visit HERE. 

Social Media Influence

Bring others on your journey! Social media is a very powerful outlet for people to raise funds. You need to be active in your adoption journey and social media is a great way to remain active and create community. As you post, you must have realistic expectations. Share everyday – In general, maybe 20% of your friends will see your posts, so don’t get upset if you don’t receive a lot of interaction. Be honest about what you are using the funds for and make a breakdown of what all the fees were used for.  I shared every step of our journey on social media for all to see.  I  kept everyone updated with details about the process. Each time I paid a fee, I posted a photo of the check amount and what it was going toward. I had so many people thank me for my honesty and openness.  They felt more inclined to give and and many donated multiple times because they knew exactly what I was using the funds for.  I was very careful about what our family spent money on. It is important to sacrifice and save, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever go out for an ice cream.  You just don’t need to post that on social media. Also, one thing that worked for me may not work for you.  Research and find ideas that other families have done, and choose the ones that feel like a good fit for you and your network.  Ask for help from friends and family, but don’t expect it or assume everyone will want to be involved.

Federal Adoption Tax Credit

This is a tax credit offered to adoptive parents to encourage their adoption. The United States International Revenue code offers a credit for “qualified adoption expenses” paid or incurred by individual taxpayers. The credit apply’s for all types of adoption except step-parent adoption and is available in the  year the adoption is finalized. In 2017, the maximum adoption tax credit was $13,570 per child. The amount changes year over year due to inflation. Talk with your tax adviser to understand more about the Adoption Tax Credit and how it can work for you. The Adoption Tax Credit is not refundable, but it does provide financial assistance to many families each year.

Qualified adoption expenses include:

  • Adoption fees
  • Court costs
  • Attorney fees
  • Any expenses directly related and necessary for the adoption
  • Travel expenses while away from home

Take a Deep Breath and Focus on Your Goal

There are many fundraising opportunities and funding resources that can help you realize your goal of growing your family. We know the process of adoption can be overwhelming. is here to assist, educate, advocate, and prepare you for adoption. Take us on your adoption journey.


Mindy Jensen // Social Worker

Kim Jerde // Adoptive Parent

Courtney Hiersche // Adoptive Parent