How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Child?

How much does it cost to adopt a child?

Families considering adopting a child often ask ‘how much does adoption cost’. The answer to this largely depends on the type of adoption. For example, international adoptions, due to their more complicated nature and the fact that adoptive parents must travel overseas to complete the adoption, will obviously cost more. Further complicating the task of estimating the cost of an international adoption is the fact that these costs can vary by country, based on airfare expenses, the length of the stay in the country, currency exchange rates, local cost of living and local adoption fees. Domestic adoptions vary based on whether it is a birth adoption or the child is older and is in foster care with the latter often involving a low cost.

Cost differential in adoption

This is illustrated by a recent report published by The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a U.S. government-funded adoption information service, estimates that the average U.S. adoption costs $8,000 to $40,000. The organization estimates for a family adopting a child from another country; the range is $15,000 to $30,000. For a family adopting a child in foster care in the United States, the cost is zero to $2,500.

In the case of a domestic or international adoption, the greatest cost and adopting a family will incur involves the fee charged by the domestic or international adoption agency. The price an adoption fee will charge can run the gamut and can increase in more complicated cases. A second cost area involves legal fees related to processing immigration paperwork in international adoptions and in domestic cases legal fees related to petitioning the court for an order of adoption. As is the case for other legal services, if the case is more complex or lengthy legal fees may increase.  

Although the fees needed to process an adoption can be substantial in some cases parents adopting through either domestic or international adoptions, could be eligible for federal and state adoption tax credit which can will help offset qualified adoption costs. The credit is nonrefundable, in that it is limited to the tax liability for the year. However, any credit more than tax liability may be carried forward for up to five years. As of 2015, the maximum amount was $13,400 per child.

Counsel experienced in navigating the adoption process can provide advice as to how best to proceed and the most cost effective manner for either a domestic or international adoption.

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