The inability to afford to adopt is one of the most noted roadblocks for many who have considered adoption. Hearing the numbers in the tens of thousands is enough to scare people away from adoption. The high cost of domestic infant adoption has been thoroughly debated by society, though many do not understand how the agencies spend the funds. There are many factors that go into the high costs of domestic infant adoption and many processes that ensure an ethical and legal adoption process.

Agency and Attorney Fees

Most fees for domestic adoption will be related to the adoption agency and attorney. They include funds for the home study process, adoption education, matching, legal fees, among others. Each agency will have its fee schedules that should be provided to you before you even apply. They can also vary depending on the needs of your particular adoption journey. The fees ensure that you are prepared to adopt, but also that the agency makes sure to represent your best interests and that you meet all of the requirements of the adoption process. It is worth it to spend money on the best guides through your adoption journey.

Expectant Mother Expenses

When you match with an expectant mother who has to place her child upon birth, she may be entitled to assistance. Which means, paying various living expenses for before and shortly after her pregnancy. It may include but is not limited to housing, prenatal care, utility bills, and maternity clothes. You may also be required to pay for an attorney to represent the expectant mother as well as counseling following the birth of the child. This expense ensures that the expectant mother is not burdened financially by the pregnancy but also is ethically necessary to ensure she understands the placement and that she is confident in her choice. You can read more about expectant mother expenses here.

Various Expenses

While the majority of the expenses will lie in the agency, the attorney, and expectant mother, there are also various other expenses that will likely arise. It is important to account for them, as they may be unexpected. If you are adopting from out of state, you need to prepare for travel expenses. It may include airfare, food, and lodging. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It is important to budget for lodging during this time since it might be for an unexpected amount of time. If the child whom you are adopting has the misfortune of spending time in the NICU, this time may become even longer, needing you to account for multiple trips back and forth and more medical expenses. Simply put, be prepared for the unexpected.

The great news is that for most who adopt, you will be eligible for the adoption tax credit. This credit will allow you to apply all the mentioned fees, including travel and food, towards your tax liability. There may also be other qualifying adoption expenses not mentioned. It is not a refund, but it certainly does help at tax time!

Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on //