Cost of Adoption

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Adoption agency add-on fees for international adoption

May 2011

We are having an international adoption,and after a 4 yr wait, have been matched with an older child. After 3 yrs with no child forthcoming, the agency switched us to another country. Our fees were paid for the first country and at first, the director said we'd need to pay $1 K more to update our paperwork for the new country. The billing has not reflected this--we are essentially paying agency fees twice (this doesn't include the amount to be paid to the country of origin). Have you or someone you know negotiated with an agency about fees? Have you felt ''held over a barrel'' with your child waiting? We have a meeting scheduled with the director, but would like to hear your advice. Thank you. Waiting impatiently

Hello, Although I have not done international adoption, I have done a domestic adoption and was really shocked to learn that not only did I have to pay fees to my California agency, but also had to pay fees to the out-of-state agency as well, nearly doubling what we initially thought we would pay. I never tried to negotiate with either agency. Of course we knew adoption would be expensive, but didn't think it would end up totalling quite what it did (over 50K when all was said and done!). Best of luck to you! Anon

Hi, First, congratulations on your upcoming adoption! We adopted from Russia in 2004, and it is wonderful to be on the other side. I work for our agency now, so just want to disclose that. I am a parent counselor, helping families who are in the research phase make a plan, and choose country, agency etc. So I have a good grasp of all the common programs and how most ethical agencies structure fees, changing countries etc. I'd be happy to speak with you (completely confidentially, no matter who your agency is) and give you some feedback. I'd need more detail to comment accurately, but in general,and under most conditions, good agencies will allow you to switch countries without paying the US agency fees again. Again, I can't comment accurately unless I have more detail, but that is the general expectation. It's probably not a good idea to quote me to your director:-) Adoption Advocate

Here's some great research and advice on adoption: We adopted domestically for both of our sons, and found the costs in-line with what's in their research. So, I assume the international fees are similar to what they have listed. Good luck! Adoptive Mom

Struggling to raise $20,000 for a US adoption

October 2005

My husband and I have been pursuing adoption for a long time now and still are stuggling with how to finance the process. As I am older and anxious to get the process rolling if any of you have suggestions on how to come up with the estimated $20,000 for a US adoption we would love to hear your ideas. eager to adopt

Have you considered adopting through your local County? I adopted my son through Alameda county and it was all in all a good experience. As you probably know, any adoption can be stressful - actually any way you have a child can be stressful and full of worries, but I was very happy with my experience. I did not pay any fees at all. None! The only out of pocket expense I had to pay was for my CPR certification, which was refunded at the end of the adoption. Yes, there are young healthy infants available. My son was placed with wonderful foster parents at birth and stayed with them until I was matched with him and brought him home when he was five months old. He is now 2.5 years old and is healthy and thriving. I would definitely adopt through Alamada county again. On another note, do you know about the adoption tax credit available? It is up to $10,000 (may be more this year). This is a credit, not a deduction. I wish you a wonderful adoption experience. anon

If you are willing to adopt an older child, I would suggest you look into foster care with a transition to adoption. I have friends in Florida who adopted three boys they original had acted as foster parents for. I don't know about California, but Florida offers incentives such as free college tuition if the boys stay in Florida for college as well as medical care. My friends did not have the financial resources to pursue regular adoption, but all their costs were covered by the state because they were foster parents. Not to mention they provide a permanent home enviroment to three wonderful boys. anon

Two comments for the person looking for help funding adoption. I am sure you know both of these anyway, and I don't know the details on either...

First, if you are willing to adopt from foster care, the cost can be substantially reduced. Call the city/county.

Second, there is a tax deduction for adoption expenses. You still have to front the money, of course, but it might be helpful. Bryan

I wish you all the best with your adoption quest. The way we handled the finances was to adjust our tax withholdings, since there is a tax credit (I think it's now around $14,000, which we also set as our adoption budget) for adopting. We set that money aside to pay for the adoption, and if the adoption hadn't come through, then we'd pay it out in taxes and start over again. We also arranged with family to advance us some money if the adoption came through before we had enough saved up (which it did!), as we could pay them back with this same money that wasn't going to taxes. Obviously you might want to consult with a tax person on all this. I'd also like to say it doesn't have to cost $20,000. The organizations we worked with had sliding scales based on income (if you are open to adopting children of color, I highly recommend Pact in Oakland). And there's always foster-adopt, where you actually may get PAID to adopt! Good luck to you. Happy Adoptive Mom

if you adopt through social services, there is no cost. that's what i did, because i felt like that money should be used for my future child's sake, not some agency.

i adopted a 9-month old boy, who had been in one foster home since birth. he was drug-exposed in utero, but has no problems now from it. he is healthy (except for asthma, which so many kids have in this area), smart, sweet, usually happy. he had hypertonia when he was younger (muscle stiffness), but it went away.

i am such a happy mama now. he is 3, and starting pre-school. i'm a single parent, and it has been a wonderful experience.


Adoption can be very expensive. I think ours cost us $25,000 total by the time we were finished for a domestic newborn adoption. The only way we were able to afford is was to accept a generous gift of $10,000 from my in-laws and another generous $10,000 from my husband's grandmother. Financial gifts of $10,000 or less do not have to be reported on taxes if I understand correctly. I know it is so hard to afford, and is a big reason why we didn't adopt a second. By the way, if you are Jewish, the Hebrew Free Loan Association (I think that's the name) has interest-free loans. Best of luck to you! one child adoptive family

How to raise the money to adopt a second child?

July 2002

Hi , I am a new mom of an adopted 2 y.o. from an international adoption. We were approved for 2 children but accepted 1 to see how things would go. We have been having a great time ,after getting settled and now are thinking about adopting a second. We are still paying for the first adoption but would like to proceed with a second since we are still under approval. Does anyone have any creative suggestions on how to raise the money for a second child? We already know about the tax credit. Now we are looking for the up front money. If anyone has any great solutions or can refer me to a good book or web site that perhaps I haven't found that would be great. Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Kat

If you own a house, then a home equity loan or line of credit is a possiblity. I don't think there are any restrictions on what you can spend the money on, and (as far as I'm aware), you get to deduct the interest because the loan is secured with your home. Rates are very low right now and there are some good deals on no-point no-cost lines of credit. Fran

Try the Hebrew Fee Loan Association in San Francisco. I'm not sure how to locate it. But you might look in the Jewish Bulletin or it might be part of the Jewish Federation of San Francisco. I know they have given loans to first time adoptive parents to complete an adoption, so why not a second. Good Luck, Lita, an adoptive parent.

I think Hebrew Free Loan (in S.F.) had a program to loan money - interest free - to Jewish families wanting to adopt. good luck Betty