Financial Resources for Adoption

The Real Cost of Adoption

The Root of the Costs
While there is always a need for people to adopt children, African American adoptive parents are in particularly high demand, says Maxine Chalker, executive director of Adoptions from the Heart (, a private adoption agency based in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. In many cases, agencies don’t have enough prospective African American parents on their waiting list for African American birth mothers who prefer to have their children adopted by someone of the same race. “In 2011,  Adoptions from the Heart placed 51 African American newborns.

It’s hard to gauge how many private adoptions take place each year because states aren’t legally required to report that information. The Administration for Children and Families tracks only adoptions from the foster care system, which is temporary housing for children in the state’s control. In 2011, 50,516 children were adopted from foster care, 23% of whom were African American.

Families considering private agency adoption should know it’s not an overnight process; it could take anywhere from one to two years before completion. The good news is you have a period of time to come up with the necessary funds. “You don’t have to write a $30,000 check the day you start,” says Julie Gumm, author of Adopt without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption (Black Boot Publishing; $14.99). Rather, you may need $5,000 at the beginning of the process and another $5,000 five months later, Gumm says.

Since there are limited federal laws governing adoptions–mainly concerning eligible expenses to receive applicable tax credits or exclusions–costs vary from state to state and agency to agency. A home study can cost between $1,000 and $3,000, and legal expenses are  in the neighborhood of $6,000, depending on state requirements, birth parent relinquishment paperwork, and the number of children being adopted.

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