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Adoption: Costs and Basic Requirements

At any given time, there are thousands of children waiting for a loving family to come along and adopt them. The children are waiting for the unconditional love that a family can give. It is a lifelong commitment and is very rewarding.

Adoption costs can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, but the final cost of adoption will be a result of a number of variables, making the average cost of adoption unpredictable.

How much does adoption cost?

One of the most common questions related to adoption is “How much does adoption cost?”

Many factors determine how much an adoption will cost:

  • One factor is how you adopt. You could adopt independently, through a domestic adoption agency or an international adoption professional, or even the foster care system.
  • Another factor that affects adoption costs is how much and how many expenses are associated with the adoption that are required to complete the adoption such as medical, legal, or living expenses
  • The adoption professional you choose will have their own rates and will vary in how their costs are structured compared to other professionals.
  • If you need to seek legal guidance during the adoption, this could impact the cost of adoption.

Adoption can be an expensive venture for parents who want to adopt. The paperwork of adoption and the long process that it comes with often call for a specialist with thorough knowledge of the process, even when adopting parents elect to work with an agent directly.

Additionally, every state has its own adoption guidelines. While they are costly, many private agencies serve to guide adopting parents through the complex process of adoption.

If you decide to adopt from the foster care system there is virtually no cost. Most all expenses can be recouped at the end of the adoption. Every foster child is represented by an attorney in court. You may choose to hire your own attorney to represent you, however.

If you decide to adopt a child from foster care you will be working closely with a social worker that represents the child. It usually takes between nine and eighteen months to finish the inquiry. There will also be an orientation study performed that takes 24 to 30 hours to complete. After the inquiry time it will take about 12 months to complete the adoption.

There are even more expenses associated with adoption that are outside the actual cost of adoption such as traveling expense, attorney fees and any medical expenses the child may need. There is also the chance that your home could need modifications or updates to complete the adoption, as well.

If you decide to use an agency to assist you to adopt,  the costs surge from $19,000 to $42,000. The filing of paperwork and general case management can quickly stack up in addition to the costs of many other services.

Requirements for adoption

Patience and commitment are important here. The challenges are, but so are the rewards. Most children are able to thrive very quickly as they grow and adjust in a safe, secure home environment. There are special requirements, however.

  • You may own your home, or rent a home or apartment
  • You must be at least 18 years of age, 21 years in some states
  • You can be employed outside the home or be self-employed
  • You must work cooperatively with the system of care

The adoption process

Depending on if you are seeking an older child or an infant defines the process for you. An older child will often be found in foster care whereas a newborn will not be in the system but they will be given directly to the adopting parents. A social worker will be meeting with the family and do a home study over several months to ensure the safety of the environment and if the parents can provide a loving home for the child.

Oftentimes, the adoptive parents must terminate the legal rights of the birth parents and family before proceeding with the adoption. An experienced adoption attorney may be needed in these circumstances to ensure a smooth transition for all parties involved.

Adopting a child gives couples or individuals the ability to have a child who may not be able to have children on their own. It is also a new start for the child who does not have a home or loving parent and is longing for a forever family.

Knowing the cost beforehand will help you decide if this is an option for you. Adoption is a very rewarding venture. It will certainly change your life and your family forever.