5 Reasons Adoption Can Be Expensive

December 11, 2013 | Posted In Featured | Share

5 Reasons Adoption Can Be Expensive

If you are new to the topic of adoption or are currently in the beginning stages of your adoption process, a question that has most likely crossed your mind is, “Why is the adoption process so expensive?” If there are millions of waiting children in the world, why must it often cost tens of thousands of dollars to help bring them into the love and protection of a family?

Before we attempt to shed some light on this difficult reality, we must first acknowledge foremost the divine beauty that embodies the miracle of adoption. Beyond the challenges (both financially and otherwise) that adoption can present, adoption at its core is a life-changing journey that not only restores hope to a waiting child, but also exemplifies God’s love for His children. The power of this miraculous journey can be seen through the testimonies of so many families and children who have been impacted by Show Hope’s adoption aid grants, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy process. In an attempt to shed some light as to why adoption can be such a costly endeavor, we will focus on five main areas of financial expense that relate to adoption.


One of the major steps in the adoption process is to choose an adoption agency and/or attorney who will help to facilitate your adoption. Depending upon what type of adoptive placement you are seeking (private, international, domestic, etc.), your agency or attorney will be involved in navigating the referral process and will help you process your legal documents. Agencies and attorneys often have fees that vary based on the program you are pursuing and how much legal help is needed to move through the process. Additionally, in the case of international adoptions, an attorney’s services are often needed in order to file “re-adoption” paperwork once your child is home. In all cases, your agency and/or attorney should be your best advocate as they guide you through extensive paperwork and necessary legal steps. The fees for this service can range broadly.


Every adoptive family is required to complete a home study. Home studies consist of multiple stages, starting with an orientation period. Initial information is recorded about the family and interviews are conducted to retrieve specific background information. Preparation training for adoptive parents is required along with home visits that ensure the home is safe and suitable for children. In addition, health, income, and autobiographical information are required, as well as thorough background checks and fingerprinting. Lastly, personal references must be submitted in order to provide the most complete picture of the family. After each stage of the home study, a report is created by the home study agency. These reports are combined to create the family’s portfolio which prospective agencies and birth parents can review based on the type of adoption program. After placement, a home study agency will also complete post-placement visits. These visits focus on making sure the child is doing well and thriving within their new family. The entire home study/post-placement process can span many months to years (depending on how quickly a waiting child is placed into the family) and the cost is often impacted accordingly.


The Hague Convention was enacted by the UN in an attempt to thwart corruption/trafficking and preserve the right of orphaned children to experience the love and protection of a family through adoption. Under the convention, each country has its own program to place children internationally and determines its own adoption fees. For families living in the US and adopting abroad, they can expect to pay fees for processing federal forms and paperwork as well as adoption fees for the specific country they are adopting through. With each country determining different fees and program costs, this area of expense can vary widely.


Documentation is required for each step of the adoption process. These documents make up the dossier that most international programs require, including proof of eligibility. Each document is processed locally, then by the agency, state and federal government, and finally by the international government of the child’s country of origin. Many adoption agencies require the documents to be sealed and notarized, which authenticates the application and dossier. If a family decides to adopt internationally, they will also have to submit paperwork to the USCIS (U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services) in order to receive citizenship for their child. This element is vital to the adoption process but can also add thousands of dollars to the overall cost.


Whether the adoption is domestic or international, travel expense can usually be expected. Undoubtedly, travel for an international adoption can be quite expensive. In most international adoption cases, the family will visit the country and the child first. Then, once that country’s waiting period is over and the process is complete, the family will return to their child’s country of origin to complete the process and travel home with their child. The cost for this element of adoption varies widely based on time of travel and country of origin.

Although adoption expenses can often seem insurmountable at first, many families find comfort in discovering that there are many fundraising options available to assist them. Show Hope was founded out of a desire to reduce the financial barrier to adoption and to see more waiting children have the opportunity to find their way into loving families through adoption. Through Show Hope’s adoption aid program, thousands of waiting children have been able to come into the love and permanency of a family over the first ten years of Show Hope’s work. It is an incredible blessing to have a small part in a child’s home and for that privilege we are deeply thankful! These miracles are not possible without the continued partnership and generous support of our sponsors and donors.

If you would like to learn more about the process necessary to adopt, information about our adoption aid program, or how to become a Show Hope sponsor, please visit our website.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

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  • Oh please do not justify the insane costs of adoption. Why is adoption so expensive? Because it is a business.. a 13 BILLION dollar a year industry and they know that people will pay almost anything to get a child.
    The industry preys on the desire and needs of potential adoption parents. They know that they are desperate for a child.. and that many have already spent years and thousands of dollars in infertility treatments and they are down to their last savings. They have their fee structures set up that by time concerned PAPs might begin to question the ethical-ness of the adoption process, that too much money is already invested in the actions of whatever agency and the Paps feel they have no choice but to continue following through. Plus APs trust the “professionals” and believe what they are told.. which is often exactly what they want to hear.
    There is NO reason that adoption is as costly as it is except that the middle men.. aka the agencies and other professionals … are lining their pockets. Just look at the income reports.,.,http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/the-non-profit-adoption-agency-myth/

    • Xtraflo Xsane

      You’re absolutely correct. My wife and I have a great home and are very fun-loving, responsible people who live average home bodied lives but don’t have an extra $20,000 laying around. But we do have enough to offer an abandoned child a wonderful, loved life.
      Why haven’t the people of this country spoke out louder about this ?!?

  • faithsailor

    How come they don’t do Home Studies before a couple brings their own newborn home from the hospital? No one checked my house for safety when I gave birth! Its too bad that it is complicated, but its the World… and He is bigger.

  • Wondering

    Adoption agencies may want to reconsider how expensive they are making adoption. How are they going to compete with IVF, which is covered for a lot of people by insurance?

  • Sarah B.

    Each human being was
    brought into this world for a reason. Many children at young ages are not
    wanted by their birth parents and as a result are either neglected, abandoned
    or placed in someone else’s care. Adoption is a way that these children can go
    to a place where
    they are wanted and loved. There are alternatives such as fostering or sponsoring
    a child, but adopting a child offers a greater fulfillment of their hierarchy of
    needs, created by Abraham Maslow. The hierarchy consists of biological and
    physiological needs (or food, water, shelter and warmth), safety needs (for
    stability, freedom from fear, and security), and esteem and self-actualization
    needs. There are so many ways in which individuals can help others around them
    such as adoption, fostering and sponsoring, in order to help fulfill their
    needs to the best of our abilities and
    adoption is the best way to maximize on the lasting impact made and providing
    in a more substantial way. Adoption “is the heart of God the Father and it’s good to
    advocate it.”

  • Krissy Dawn Fulton

    One thing I always find interesting, is that we were never told to expect cost upon arrival home. Cost for Occupational Therapy for Sensory Issues, cost for sensory diet equipment at home, cost for play therapy, cost for therapy for the whole family, cost for neurotransmitter supplements, cost for a special diet if trying to reduce histamine levels, cost of cutting back work hours or forgoing a job all together to implement TBRI, and the list goes on … I love EVERY BIT of Dr. Karyn Purvis’ advice and everything that comes out of TCU’s Institute of Child Development, but it’s not cheap and it takes a great deal of time and effort. I think we would do well to include this information for parents in the adoption process.

    • Ivan Silva

      Im glad you shared this before i get in over my head…

  • Michael Liu

    These are so unnecessary, if you don’t put people through all this stuff when they have their own child, then why is it necessary to put adoptive parents through it? If anything people should be paid to adopt children because it removes the financial burden of raising the child from government funded orphanages. So messed up. All those pro life activists should tackle this issue. If adoption weren’t so expensive more people would adopt. Then it would be easier for a pregnant woman to find adoptive parents and less would resort to abortion.

  • Mark

    I strongly believe that most countries would rather you not adopt their children. My wife and I just spent 4 weeks in country working on bringing home our beautiful girl and was able to witness a system that is tough to navigate and understand. However, she is home and life changes are happening.
    I am sorry if I offend people by saying this however, you should never put an amount you can afford in front of your decision with adoption. I believe there are so many ways you can seek help for finances for adoption. If God calls you for this difficult and expensive task, he will supply your needs. Don’t spend all your time trying to justify the expense or complaining, just seek the provider.

    • Viviane Aguilar da Silva

      Not everyone has 20k to provide and has a dream of adoption. I have already a son and I would love to adopt a kid, but I cant just ”find” 20 000 usd to get another child!!!! Its not so simple as you are saying. Its not about complain, is about how much you can afford per month to survive.

  • Jesse Strickler

    Adoption doesn’t have to be expensive. My husband and I are going to Foster with the hopes of adoption. Which means we will be foster parents until an infant we are fostering’s parents rights are terminated by the state.-Yes, we have to risk that the kid might go back to his birth family, but all things considered. I have to look at that as a good thing. That means they put their child before themselves and got their act together. What child doesn’t deserve that?- the cost of the adoption from the state of Texas (where I live) is nothing. Granted there are a few things that we have had to do to prepare for our home study, which is paid for by the state, such as purchase a fire extinguisher and medication storage. We also have to pay for our fire inspection which is $50, are driving records which are $7 each, doctor’s appointment so if they will sign a form to say we’re healthy enough to be parents, fingerprinting which was about $40 for each of us, and gas to and from training downtown… we are out less than $500 and we only have to do this once and maintain our training in order to be foster parents. There will be state inspections but there’s no cost to us. Along with fostering come certain benefits. Any child adopted from Foster Care receives lifelong Medicaid. I believe it’s if they’re adopted after the age of 2 they get free tuition to any college in the state of Texas and a life-long stipend. Children in foster care receive, and we are encouraged to maintain in case of reunification, WIC as well is Medicaid. There are possible clothing allowances. And you’ll receive less than $22 a day to pay for the child’s expenses. They’re also older children in the Foster system that are readily available for adoption.

    • Andrea

      You sound like me 6 months ago. Before we got our first placement. Before we fell in love with a beautiful newborn baby girl. Before my life became an emotional, torturous roller coaster. I wouldn’t give back any of my time with her for anything. But, if I knew then what I know now, I would have never signed up for this. And even if we get to adopt her, I’ll never put myself through it again. This little baby becomes your whole world, and every day you torment yourself thinking about what if she gets reunited. What in the world will you do? And you want to hate the birth parents. You really want to, but you don’t. And part of you is rooting for them, because you’re a good person and good people don’t wish failure on others. But you love her so much, she’s become yours. And you just know that if she goes back to them, you may not make it out alive. Because you’ve already lost so much on your journey of infertility, you’re not sure you’ll survive any more loss. But by all means, you were forewarned. They told you that it’s a really long, daunting road and no particular outcome is gauranteed. They told you that reunification is always the goal. They told you that it wouldn’t be easy. They told you…

      • Jesse Strickler

        I know exactly what you will do. I’ve talked to many people who have been there. Because, like you said, you are a good person you will grieve the loss and still celebrate that the child was her parents priority. You will ask to take a break from placements and you will go through all the steps of grief. You will deny that they have really changed, you will begin to bargain with God, you will be pissed off, you will feel depression as deep… Deeper than a bfn… Then you will cope. You will call and open your home back up. And you will do it all over again. Because it’s not about you or what you want its about what is good for each child. It has to be. And you have to remind yourself of that every moment of every day… Do you understand what you have done for that child already by teaching her to positively attach. You have literally healed her brain!

  • Sequoyah

    Home studies can involve a person with a simple college degree visiting for Ann hour and filling out a form or typing up a report. Really doesn’t need to be expensive. CASA volunteers and state social workers perform them for the state and courts for next to nothing. Drafting adoptions papers are really not tens of thousands of dollars complicated. I know cause I’ve worked years as an adoption attorney domestically. Sure there is more work involved with international adoptions, but not $30K worth. Charging this much for adoption smells like trafficking in children.

  • Ivan Silva

    So its preferable for a child to grow without parents, than to give them to a caring, loving family??? It seems having my own child was cheaper upfront… I understand the costs listed, but in the long run, how much does it cost the state to care for them? My daughter is a very happy baby, yet no one assesed me before being a parent, no one did any home studies…what is the difference?

  • qopyrighter

    This is pure BS. If you are a drug-free, employed, stable couple with excellent references, simply reach out to someone in the family court system and let them know that your home is available to adopt 1, 2, or more children who are siblings, at-risk, and minorities. Do not work through an attorney. Put the burden on the system to place the children with you. The reason these costs are exorbitant is because lawyers, by training, will do ANYTHING they can to escalate their billable hours. They’ll turn a nickel problem into a fifty-thousand dollar solution because that’s what pays for the 2nd home, the Porsche and the Benz, and the private school tuition for their three children. Instead of spending your social media capital on some “GoFundMe” campaign to pay the lawyers, use your voice to let everyone you know that your home is available. Contact a pastor, a crisis pregnancy center, child services officer. Sooner or later they’re going to come into contact with a birth mother who needs to find a home for her children. Put the burden on the system to help solve THEIR problem instead of putting the squeeze on your friends and family to pay ALL your bills. And, for goodness sakes, if you’re absolutely bent on begging for money, at least have the decency to ask for no more than HALF of the costs and disclose -in detail- what those costs are.