Adoption Costs

Below is a breakdown of the adoption process for adopting an infant domestically, and the anticipated costs using our selected agencies. Note that some costs are known in advance, while others are estimates or highly variable. We will update the variable costs as we get more information.

Important to note is: 1) we were blessed to raise more than $12,000 in fundraising from our generous family and friends! This has covered ALL of our adoption expenses so far, although the biggest expense (placement fees) are yet to come. Currently we have enough savings to cover everything, and as time goes on that will only increase. 2) The federal adoption tax credit gives about $14,000 back to adoptive families, payable through a reduction of federal income tax over five years maximum, so that is one way that we will be able to recoup what we spend, and help us to save for (God-willing) future adoptions.

The bottom line is: domestic infant adoption is expensive, yes, but it will be absolutely worth it! We are committed to contributing a large portion of our personal savings toward the wonderful goal of becoming parents to a child in need of a home. We are sharing costs in such detail not to scare anyone away from adoption, but to be realistic about what it takes.


Stage 1: Pre-Approval (approx. 4-6 months) - ALL DONE

$550                Application fee (Barker Adoption Foundation, Bethesda MD) - DONE

$1,000             Intake meetings to prepare for home study (Barker) - DONE

$3,000             Home study (Barker): this is the process by which we are approved as adoptive parents by our state of residence, MD. It involves many forms (see next item) and a lot of paperwork, as well as a series of interviews with a social worker, both at the agency's office and in our home. We anticipate this step taking around 4 months. - DONE

$257                Misc. paperwork for home study: fees paid to the relevant offices for criminal background checks and fingerprints, home fire inspection (including buying a fire extinguisher), notarization of documents, etc. - DONE

$345                Parent training (Barker): in-person and online classes about parenting - DONE

$125               Profile book: a photo + text book that we create to show prospective birthparents what life in our family is like. We ordered several copies. - DONE

Subtotal: $5,277

Stage 1B: Home Study Update - DONE
Since we did not adopt within a year of our home study approval, we had to update it in Summer/Fall 2016; we also had to update some forms because of moving

$500              Home Study Update fee: paid to Barker for updating our home study; this included a social worker visit to our new home

$205              Misc fees: payments for fire inspection of our new home + fingerprints

Subtotal: $705
Running total: $5,982

Stage 2: Matching and Placement (option 1: St. Joseph's)
We originally signed up with St. Joseph's Adoption Ministry in late 2015; we continue to work with them, but also expanded our options by signing up with an additional agency, Open Door (in Georgia) - see below; these two agencies take a different approach to their fee structure.

$4,500             Matching and Placement fee (St. Joseph Adoption Ministry, Kansas City KS): this covers everything St. Joseph does for us, including networking with prospective birthparents, providing us with information about possible adoption situations, connecting prospective birthparents with counseling and other assistance in their home state, assisting us with legal paperwork after a match is made, etc. NOTE: what we have learned is that this fee does not cover fees paid to other adoption professionals involved in a child's placement, such as another placing agency that may network with St. Joseph's, advertising fees for the entity that made the match, and lawyer fees for us and for the birth family - DONE

$0-$13,000      Birthparent expenses during pregnancy, such as aid for housing, food, legal and medical costs. These costs vary greatly according to the situation and child's birth state, and would be facilitated likely through the entity handling the child's placement, either St. Joseph's or an agency/attorney working with them. FYI: these fees are non-refundable and so are considered "at risk".

$2-4,000        Travel, Meals and Lodging: most likely our child will be born in a different state. Usually adoptive parents have to stay in the child's state for two weeks or more for the legal paperwork to be filed so we can bring our son or daughter home.

$0-$2,000      Baby's medical expenses: in case our child has serious medical needs that aren't covered by our insurance.

$12,000 (est.)   Fees paid to adoption professionals in the child's state of birth, facilitated through our placement agency.         

$5,000 (est.)  Attorney Fees for items such as establishing guardianship, assistance with the interstate compact for protection of children (to travel home with our child), etc.

Subtotal Range (est.): $23,500 - $40,500
Running total: $10,482

Stage 2: Matching and Placement (option 2: Open Door)

While we continue to work with St. Joseph's, in Fall 2016 we expanded our options by signing up with an additional agency, Open Door (Georgia).

$300                Application fee - DONE

$318                Twenty profile books for all of their satellite offices - DONE

$35,500           Placement fee: for Open Door, this fee includes all birthparent expenses, lawyer fees, ICPC fees, counseling services for the birth family, advertising efforts on our behalf, etc. It is a capped fee, meaning that if we match with one family but an adoption doesn't happen, we will not have to pay additional fees for another match (so funds are not put at risk). This fee is due within 10 days of a match, so we won't pay it until that point.

$2,000 (est.)    Travel, Meals and Lodging: planning for a 10-14 day stay in Georgia

$0-$2,000      Baby's medical expenses: in case our child has serious medical needs that aren't covered by our insurance.

$0-$250      Foster care after birth: depending on the situation, we may be encouraged to use an agency-provided foster home for the baby until the birthparents sign termination of parental rights (TPR) forms.

Subtotal Range (est): $38,118 - $40,368
Running total: $11,100

Stage 3: Post-Adoption (6 months total)

$1,000             Post-placement reports (Barker): state-mandated evaluations after the adoption

$1,500 (est.)   Attorney and court fees for finalization of the adoption: this usually takes place six months after the placement of the child.

Subtotal (est.): $2,500

Total estimated expenses: $50,000+