Cost of International Adoption

Since the 1950s, many Americans looking to grow their family have pursued overseas adoption. Some view it as an opportunity to help out orphans in need while also creating a richer, more culturally diverse household. Parents develop a broader community of relatives and form attachments to different parts of the world. That being said, international adoption is pricey; in fact, it's almost always the most expensive adoption option out there. In addition to the financial investment adopting from another country requires patience and a willingness withstand long waits and rounds of extensive paperwork. However, many families will tell you that their adoption experience was worth everything they put into it. So how much, exactly, was that? According to Binti, a technology company that serves all parties in an adoption, an international adoption typically costs between $20,000 to $40,000.

  1. Agency Fees

    Agency fees typically make up the largest individual expense in an international adoption. An international agency is an essential expense; these organizations do the matching for you and help take care of paperwork and legal expenses in the country from which you plan to adopt.

    Agency Fees
    • Child Welfare Information Gateway estimates that these program fees range from $15,000 to $30,000.
    • The amount varies widely depending on the agency you choose and the cost of living in the country from which you adopt.
    • Agency fees typically cover a dossier, immigration processing costs, court costs, translation fees, and medical care for the child (when necessary).
  2. Home Study Costs and Application Fees

    These are typically the first expenses you will face. Before you even get matched with a child, prepare to save a few thousand dollars just to get the process started. Home studies are expensive, but they are one of the most important parts of an adoption and necessary for you to become an informed participant in the process.

    Home Study Costs and Application Fees
    • estimates that home studies will set you back $1,500 to $2,750.
    • The home study is a series of visits by the agency to make sure your home environment is suitable for parenthood and make the best possible match.
    • These visits help prepare prospective parents for the the adoption process. It gives the agency a chance to educate parents on the unique set of challenges an internationally-adopted child could present.
  3. Airfare and Living Expenses

    Besides the amount you pay your agency, these often make up the second-biggest expense in your budget. Because the circumstances of international adoptions vary so widely, it's almost impossible to make a generalization about the costs this will incur.

    Airfare and Living Expenses
    • Traveling expenses depend on the time spent in the country where you're adopting and the number of visits the country requires you take before bringing home your child.
    • You can never be sure how long you'll need to stay in the country. Sometimes parents need to be there for multiple weeks or months.
    • Remember to buy a return ticket for your child, and budget according to living expenses in the country.
  4. Budget for Costs After Your Child Arrives

    Bringing your adopted child home requires such a huge financial and emotional investment that sometimes parents forget to plan for what comes next.

    • In addition to general costs of parenting, you might need to spend money on therapy, language classes, or other services that address adjustment issues your adopted child could face.
    • Babies or kids who grew up in an orphanage or institution that wasn't able to provide extensive personal care could face attachment disorders and other emotional issues in addition to health problems.
    • If you don't feel confident addressing these issues on your own, seek help from other adoptive parents, online forums, and professionals.

Plan Ahead

Odds are that $20,000 to $40,000 price tag made your jaw drop. Not just because of how much money you will need to raise before bringing your new child home, but also because a $20,000 gray area isn't exactly pocket change. By planning carefully and getting as much information as possible before you choose an agency or program, though, you can narrow that number down to something much more specific. Once you know how much you need to raise, you're that much closer to launching a successful crowdfunding campaign to do so! Kick off your adoption fundraiser today.