Why is Adoption So Expensive

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post answering the question, “Why does adoption take so long?” Today, I will attempt to answer another question I am asked on a regular basis, “Why is adoption so expensive?”

Behind both of theses question is an underlying question, “If there are so many orphans in the world, and the need is so great, why isn’t it easier, faster, and less expensive for them to be adopted?” I’ve asked this question many times myself.

How Do the Costs of International, Domestic Infant, and Foster Care Adoption Compare?

As I’ve said before, my experience is with international adoption, so I’ll speak mostly about the costs associated with that. From my understanding, adoption through the foster care system costs very little. Domestic infant adoption is generally comparable to the cost of international adoption and sometimes more expensive. The total cost is commonly determined by a sliding scale based on your income.

3 Reasons Why International Adoption Costs So Much

Contrary to popular belief, the cost of international adoption in not due to corrupt governments extorting money from families through bribes, outrageous “fees” and the like. While some countries may be worse than others in this regard, the majority of the costs associated with an international adoption are real, valid expenses.

1. Home Study, Fingerprinting, and Document Charges

Before an adoption can even get off the ground a family must be thoroughly vetted by their home state and United States Immigration. A home study is needed, and includes numerous background checks, as well as the sophisticated finger printed required by US Immigrations. Additionally, there are other document and shipping charges required to prepare your dossier (the set of documents that you send to your child’s country in order to file for court).

2. Agency Fees and Attorneys Fees

It takes an extraordinary amount of work to pull all the pieces together for an international adoption. Agencies and their attorneys facilitate every aspect of an adoption including identifying a child, completing the orphan investigations, obtaining medical information for a child, preparing the dossier, filing for court, arranging travel for the family, and representing the family at their hearing.

3. Travel and Accommodations

One of the main reasons international adoption is so expensive is that travel, often more than one trip, is required. Depending on when you travel (which you have very little control of), you could pay high-season ticket prices. Additionally, in-country accommodations may not be as inexpensive as you might think. Sometimes, it costs just as much to stay in your child’s home country as it would in your own.

There are certainly other costs I have not mentioned here, and many expenses are unique to the country you adopt from.

While adoption is a costly endeavor any way you look at it, those costs should never prohibit a family from welcoming a child into their family. Many families, like ours, have successfully been able to raise the funds they need to bring their children home.

If God has called your family to adopt, I urge you to step out in faith regardless of the cost, and watch him provide.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Why is Adoption So Expensive

  1. Thank you for the info. We would love to adopt and I have had the idea of starting an adoption ministry for a while..to raise funds for our family and for families in the future. I am convinced that if people knew that they could raise funds a lot more would adopt.

  2. If God has called your family to adopt, I urge you to step out in faith regardless of the cost, and watch him provide.

    Thank you for adding this at the end. My friends can’t believe that people can “afford” to adopt. I am always saying “THEY CAN’T!!! They depend on God to provide it for them”.

  3. Encouraging post though I am still apprehensive. My husband and I are not bloggers nor are we public Christian personalities with influence Christian parents or friends. We are just regular Christian folk- with full-time jobs and I small community of friends and family. I am not saying it is impossible but when I read these type of posts I get super encouraged but then I am
    reminded  how much more influence, connections, and ‘celebrity’ the blogger/writer/Christian personality.  has over the average Joe. Raising money is hard for you guys…how much more for the rest if us. 

    • I completely understand your hesitation. We do have a fairly large network to work with. However, I don’t think it’s about the size of your network. It’s about the size of your God. I have seen time and time again families raise the money they need to adopt, regardless of how many people they know. Each story is unique. Some do it through garage sales, bake sales and car washes. Others through social media. Still others partner with their churches or get grants. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and as Gwen Oatsvall says, he funds what he favors. If God is calling you to adopt, I enocurage you to take the leap of faith and trust that he will provide.

  4. Great post Megan. I’ve often felt similar and have watched families who have felt called to adopt step out in faith and God has provided. One thing I wanted to add though Megan is one way God has provided to care for these orphans is through the U.S. tax credit. Right now, I believe the rate is roughly a $13,200 TAX CREDIT per child. I have watched some families get a short very low interest loan (sometimes 0 interest adoption loans) for $13,000 and have only had to come up w/ $7,000 (or so). Once they receive the credit, they pay off the loan.

  5. What an excellent outline on the “why” of such a frequently asked question!

    I work for an agency that recruits families to adopt waiting children from foster care in Alabama. The average cost for that process is $500. The Home Study, fingerprinting, and background checks are free. There are no agency fees. Also 10 weeks of training is provided, at no cost. A family might pay a co-pay for their medical and some minimal travel costs for your initial visits. The $500 is the attorney fee to assist with the finalization.

    Just thought I’d add an Alabama perspective :-)