a story of adoption

The Cost of Adoption

The Cost of Adoption

Did you know that adoption can cost over $40,000 for the family and that foster care costs the government over $9 billion a year? Before we take a look on how the numbers add up, click above to hear from a few guests.

How Do the Numbers Add Up? 

Fostering and adopting in the US are on the rise. Even so, foster care costs the state and federal governments over $9 billion a year. Currently, there are over 679,191 children in foster care. With the cost of adoption between $8,000-$40,000, many parents are unable to adopt because of costs. If the federal government were to subsidize the costs of adoption, this financial weight would greatly decrease allowing more families the ability to adopt. 

The numbers are in and the Adoption Council says, “State and federal expenditures for foster care administrative costs (placing and monitoring children in foster care) totaled $4.3 billion. The number of children entering foster care or in care totaled 679,191. Thus, the average administrative cost per child served per year was $6,675. The total of maintenance costs and administrative costs per child per year was $25,782 ($19,107 plus $6,675). If the number of children adopted from foster care doubled (increased by 57,500), the savings to the public would amount to $890 million per year. If more children in foster care were made available for adoption, even greater savings could result.”


Research shows that depending on the agency, location, and the age of the child, that the process of adoption can get pricey. Let’s look into how these factors play out.

“Adoptive Families Magazine surveyed 1,100 families who adopted a child in 2012-2013 and reported here:

  • Average Total Cost: Adoption Agency = $39,966; Independent Adoption = $34,093
  • Agency Fees/Program Application: Adoption Agency = $16,962; Independent Adoption = $3,357
  • Legal Fees: Adoption Agency = $4,141; Independent Adoption = $12,693
  • Birth Mother Expenses: Adoption Agency = $3,233; Independent Adoption = $5,590
  • Advertising/Networking: Adoption Agency = $2,340; Independent Adoption = $3,978″

The state of Oregon also studied the topic and states that “the financial cost for one child to remain in foster care in Oregon for just one year is, at minimum, $26,601. The average annual net savings for one child being adopted out of foster care is $17,636 in Oregon, and it is $15,480 nationally.

Money is the Road Block 

Overall, this data reveals a deeper problem. There are kids in need to be adopted, but the price is constraining families from the opportunity. “Comparing the per-child cost of subsidized adoption from foster care with the cost of maintaining a child in foster care, one concludes that the child adopted from foster care costs the public only 40 percent as much as the child who remains in foster care.”

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