How much does it cost to adopt a child?

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Couple with adopted child

Is becoming a parent one of your biggest dreams? If so, you may feel like nothing can come between you and your future child. Whether it’s paperwork, research, or cash, you’re ready for anything. But adoption is a complicated process, as are the associated costs, which may partly explain the decline in the number of adoptions. The total amount of money that a potential parent (s) will put into place changes from one situation to another. If you’re interested in adopting, here’s an overview of the process and your options.

One of the smartest things you can do when planning an adoption is to work with a financial advisor who is experienced in this area.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Adopting a Child

Various factors influence the cost of adoption. For example, the type of adoption can affect the price, whether through an independent adoption, a national adoption agency, an intercountry adoption agency, or the placement system. with a host family. The payment structure associated with each of these changes from professional to professional.

There are also other variable expenses that fluctuate between each adoption. From medical bills to legal fees, every adoption is different.

If you want to get a good idea of ​​what price you should expect, start researching as soon as possible. Talking to experienced people can also help you get a clearer estimate.

How much does it cost to adopt a child?

Again, the costs can vary wildly. It all depends on the channels you use and the type of adoption you are looking for: the foster care system, national or international. It is difficult to predict the exact direct expenses: you could pay from nothing to $ 50,000.

Exploring multiple avenues will help potential parents find the right method for their financial situation. Keep in mind that depending on which method you choose, you may encounter a number of different charges. The amounts will also change between each option.

National adoption

Mother and adopted child

Mother and adopted child

As a rule, adopting a child in the United States comes with quite high prices. Of course, it all depends on the adoption professional you are working with and the particulars of your situation. But domestic adoptions are usually an expensive option. For example, the national American Adoptions program ranges from $ 50,000 to $ 60,000. On the other hand, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, an individual adoption from a private agency can result in costs of $ 20,000 to $ 45,000. So it all depends on the occupational group you are using.

The agency is usually the largest expense in your overall total. Agencies use different payment systems, one or more of which may be of use to you. Some use a fixed rate, while others use a partially fixed rate or service charge. You can contact the agency for a breakdown of expenses to see what is covered. Some fees that you may see include a home study and legal fees, as well as associated fees for the expectant mother.

Pursuing an independent adoption, where you connect directly with a pregnant woman, can be slightly cheaper. At around $ 15,000 to $ 40,000, you can still have a list of fees but a potentially lower overall price.

International adoption

Foreign adoption costs depend on the child’s origin and can vary widely. You may also need to pay a number of additional fees, including accompanying fees, translation fees, foreign agency fees, and post-placement counseling. Overall, the Child Welfare Information Gateway estimates a range slightly wider than domestic adoption, of $ 20,000 to $ 50,000.

Intercountry adoption, or sometimes referred to as intercountry adoption, also comes with another unique set of challenges. You may have to travel to the child’s country several times before they can come home with you. This means you need to budget your savings enough to cover multiple transportation costs, hotel costs, and more.

In addition, the country may suddenly change its adoption policies. This can not only be disappointing, but also financially draining.

For example, the enactment of the Dima Yakovlev law in 2012 officially prohibited US residents from adopting children from Russia. In addition, several countries refuse applicants to LGBT couples. So, some places may not accept you as a potential parent or have strict requirements. Researching a country’s rules and regulations before adopting internationally can help you identify the best option for your family.

Adopt in foster care

Parents who want to provide a home for a child but have a smaller budget should look to foster adoptions. This choice is generally the most affordable and costs little or no cost at all. This is because the state reimburses families for the care of these children. Compensation covers all required adoption costs, such as attorney fees and home study. Many children in foster care need a loving home and a permanent family. However, this is not the case for all children. In some cases, the goal is to reunite them with their biological family.

According to the Children’s Bureau and data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), 423,997 children were in foster care on September 30, 2019. Of these 423,997, 28% had a plan. intervention in order to be adopted. . In contrast, 55% of the children had case plans with reunification goals.

So while foster adoptions are minimal in terms of cost, they are difficult in a different way. Your child is probably having experiences with their biological family that will have a long-term impact on them. Sailing this together has its ups and downs.

Adoption fees

Watching the fixed costs for adoption can be overwhelming. Breaking the total down into covered expenses can help you understand the official price. However, each method of adoption involves a different range of expenses.

Domestic adoption can reach up to half a million dollars. But when you use an agency, it can include costs like:

  • 24/7 support for the biological mother (awareness, medical costs, legal costs, living expenses and advice)

  • Help from an agency to create a profile

  • Your home study

  • Education of adoptive parents

  • Background projections

  • Hospital documents

  • File management

  • Social worker services

  • Post-adoption support

If you are considering an international adoption, you are also considering:

Even adoption into foster care will incur some expense. Although the government reimburses the initial costs, there are still post-adoption services. In particular, advice and education, which will help support your family.

Strategies for paying to adopt a child

Father and adopted child

Father and adopted child

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you see the numbers. But you don’t have to bear the costs alone. There are a few systems in place that can help you find ways to pay for an adoption. For example, the tax benefits for adoption include both a tax credit for eligible adoption expenses paid to adopt an eligible child and an income exclusion for adoption assistance provided by the employer. . The federal adoption tax credit helps reduce the financial burden following an adoption, including legal fees and travel costs. Parents must meet certain criteria, but they can receive up to $ 14,300 per eligible child.

Your job can also be another option. Check with your employer to see if there is a sponsored adoption assistance program. Only 10% of employers surveyed in SHRM’s 2019 Employee Benefits Research Report offered adoption assistance. But it’s up to tens of thousands of dollars that you can use to financially recover.

Some groups sometimes fund adoptions through grants as well. If you are a member of a religious organization or are part of an LGBT couple, consider exploring the options in your community.

The bottom line

Adoption is sometimes hard-won, but starting a family can be worth the cost. There are many steps, such as requesting and home study, that incur significant costs. The type of adoption you pursue, whether from foster care, national or international, also affects the cost and length of the process. The federal government offers a significant tax credit to adopters. Check if your state provides something similar.

Tips for investing

  • Maybe you realized you wanted to adopt a youngster, or maybe it was a recent decision. Either way, starting earlier leaves more time for planning. Saving early will give your savings the opportunity to earn compound interest. In turn, you can allocate these funds to the associated adoption costs. If you want to follow the growth of your investment, consider consulting our investment calculator.

  • Adoption can represent an attractive but high financial cost. You want to be in control of a stable financial foundation before you bring your child home. A financial advisor can help you organize your finances in advance to make the process seamless. SmartAsset’s free tool connects you with local advisors who have the skills to guide you. If you need help reaching your financial goal as a future parent, start now.

Photo credit: © iStock.com / gradyreese, © iStock.com / SDI Productions, © iStock.com / Umkehrer

The post How much does it cost to adopt a child? first appeared on the SmartAsset blog.


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