Day 3: Adoption Costs

Oh, adoption costs. The myths that grow around this topic! We always get the, “Oh, isn’t adoption really expensive?!” question. And I know that behind that question people are secretly wondering just how much money your family makes. Visions of celebrity adoptive parents come to mind, so they think that all adoptive parents must be rolling in the dough. Not in our case, I promise!  The answer in short is, yes, it’s expensive but it’s broken over many small (and some not so small) expenses. You aren’t expected to sit down a write a check for $30K at the beginning of the process. That would be rough and likely exclude 90% of hopeful adoptive families.

I receive so many questions regarding the cost of adoption and cost misconceptions, that I will do my best to post our ongoing expenses with our current adoption. I want to do this to encourage those of you who are considering adoption but are scared of the high cost. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. If you want something badly enough, you find ways to get it.

I hate to be insensitive, but I always laugh when people say that they’d love to adopt, but the cost is just too much. Yet, those are the same people who drop money on designer labels, getting mani/pedis weekly, can’t live without their daily Starbucks, etc. There are ways that you can cut lifestyle costs. It’s not glamorous and you may have to look like a tight wad for a while, but it’s only for a season and it is manageable. Don’t let the cost of adoption be a cop out. If you really want to adopt, then do it. There are plenty of grants and adoption loans that adoptive families are eligible to apply for once their home studies have been completed. And there are always fundraisers! You’d be amazed at how generous even strangers are when they find out that you’re trying to grow your family through adoption. Trust me!

To give a more detailed picture of what adoption expenses look like, here is the actual breakdown of what our family’s adoption expenses were this week:

Kai’s 6 Month Post-Placement Visit: $400
Passport Photos (3 sets): $39.12
Livescans (2): $170
Homestudy Fee: $1000
Agency Fee: $2383.75

As you can see, not all adoption expenses go directly to your adoption agency and even fewer go to the country that you’re adopting from! I’ll throw out some real numbers here and say that our orphanage donation for Kai was about $6K and our total adoption was over $30K. These countries aren’t getting rich off of adoption, folks! Most of the adoption fees go to your agency (of course, your social workers deserve a salary too!), training, the US government (!), and other miscellaneous third parties (livescan, etc.). Checks get sent to many places, not just one.

Hopefully this helps clarify the misconception about adoption costs a bit. And hopefully this helps shed some light as to how adoptive parents can actually afford adoption; many little fees, not one giant fee.

*Note: I’m speaking strictly from an international adoption point of view. The fees to complete a private domestic adoption or a foster-to-adopt adoption differ greatly! If your income isn’t great enough to satisfy the international adoption qualifications, then adopting through the foster care system might be a great option for you.


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