Growing your family through adoption is one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have. If you’ve considered adopting, you more than likely have done some research online only to become overwhelmed by the amount of time, paperwork, and perhaps most of all, the exorbitant cost in some cases. But did you know there are several different types of adoption that vary greatly in terms of the process and cost? Here are some explanations of the three most common types of adoption and their average costs.
Private Domestic Adoptions: $20,000 – $50,000
Private adoption typically involves the adoption of infants whose parents have placed them up for adoption by their own volition. There are two primary types of private adoptions: independent adoptions and agency adoptions. Independent adoptions involve the adoptive family finding a pregnant mother through networking. Then the services of an adoption agency are used to complete the process legally. In an agency adoption, the agency assists the adoptive parent(s) through the whole process, which includes finding adoption opportunities.
A report from Adoptive Families Magazine found that the 2017 average cost was $43,000. A number of variables make up this cost, including fees from attorneys, administrators, physicians, the agency itself and more.
International Adoptions: $15,000 – $50,000
International adoptions involve the adoption of a child from another country. While the cost is comparable to domestic private adoptions, there are different factors that determine the final cost, including frequent travel expenses, medical exams, domestic and foreign legal fees, as well as costs that are unique to the country you’re adopting from.
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, there is usually less information available about the individual child when adopting internationally. Additionally, recent data shows that international adoptions are becoming significantly less common. This is due to the growing evidence of ethical concerns when adopting internationally. For example, Russia, which once saw some of the highest international adoptions to the US, passed a law that prohibits US families from adopting from Russia. Several other countries have followed suit, as regulations on international adoptions have been found in many instances to not be in the best interest or safety of a child.
Adoption from Foster Care: $0 or Minimal Cost
Nationwide, there are 420,000+ youth in foster care. Of these, more than 123,000 youth are waiting to be adopted. Children and teens are in foster care because they have experienced abuse or neglect and courts have determined that it’s not safe to remain in their parents’ home. While the main goal of foster care is to reunify the child with their parents as quickly as possible, in some cases this isn’t an option and the child is then made available for adoption. When this occurs, the adoption cost is basically free.
You might be wondering, “Why is there such a difference in cost from the other options?” Typically people who adopt from foster care do so in the state where they currently live, and the costs are funded by the state. This means that in most cases there are very few to no fees at all to adopt from foster care. To adopt from foster care, families must complete a training course (30 hours on average) that will equip them with the tools and parenting skills to care for a child who has experienced trauma. The process can incur some out-of-pocket expenses, but this can be refunded by the state after the adoption is finalized.
Youth in foster care waiting to be adopted span all ages and come from all walks of life. They are in foster care by no fault of their own and are waiting for a Forever Family to provide them with the love and support they need and deserve. One of the best ways to know if this is the best option for you and your family is to become a foster parent. Fostering provides a child or teen who has experienced abuse or neglect with a safe, loving environment. It also gives you the opportunity to show a child or teen the love and care they deserve while growing emotionally, mentally and spiritually as you teach life skills and give support. Learn more about becoming a Kentucky foster parent here.