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Are You Ready to Adopt?

However, you may be eligible for the federal tax credit of up to $10,160 per domestic adoption attempt. In addition, some employers (65 percent of Fortune 500 companies) provide adoption benefits, such as counseling, leave for adoptive mothers and fathers, and reimbursement for expenses. Public Agency (domestic)

Range: $0 - $2,500

If you adopt a "waiting child," as children in the U.S. welfare and foster care systems are called, you will pay minimal costs and receive many incentives. Most public agencies deal exclusively with "special needs" children - a term that can have different definitions in different states.

A few nonprofit agencies only charge court filing costs ($100 to $150); however, most adoption agencies charge for home study, counseling for the birth parents and the prospective adoptive parents, medical expenses and foster care, if applicable. The home study evaluation report must be completed by a state-licensed social worker and the report typically costs between $750 and $2,500, depending on where you live. In total, agency fees, travel expenses, and attorney's fees can add up to $2,500. However, agencies usually lower or waive their fees for these children and the government will reimburse you for your adoption expenses, including travel and legal bills, up to $2,000.

Private Agency (domestic)

Range: $4,000 - $30,000 or more

The fees charged by private, licensed agencies include birth parent counseling, adoptive parent home study and counseling, birth parent's expenses, post-placement supervision (until the adoption is finalized), and general agency fees. You can save money if you locate your own birth parent, and some agencies also offer a sliding fee scale based on your income.

Independent Adoption (domestic)

Range: $8,000 - $30,000 or more

Most states allow independent adoptions, but not all will allow you to seek a birth parent by advertising in newspapers, magazines, or other methods. Costs associated with an independent adoption include advertising, legal representation (for yourself and possibly for the birth parents, depending on you state's laws), and birth expenses.

An attorney will cost between $5,000 and $7,000 and $2,000 for legal representation for the birth parent(s). Even if you don't use an attorney to locate a birth mother or arrange the adoption, you will probably use one to finalize the adoption in court.

International Adoption (private agency or independent)

Range: $7,000 - $30,000

Adopting internationally can be as expensive as adopting domestically when you factor in travel expenses and adoption costs in two countries. Costs for an international adoption include agency fees, immigration processing fees, and court costs, as well as travel expenses or escorting fees (if the adoptive parents don't travel to meet the child), foster care, and medical care and/or treatment for the child, if necessary. Depending on the requirements of the foreign country, an international adoption could range between $10,000 to more than $30,000. Time

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