Choosing to bring a child into your family through adoption is a wonderful journey. Like many adoptive families, one of the things we initially worried about was the cost of our adoption process. There are many factors that influence your “bottom line” number, including the type of adoption you choose to pursue. In Montana, there are essentially three types of adoption: international, private domestic, and foster care. Here’s what you need to know about the fees:

For those families living in Montana interested in international adoption, fees vary depending on the country you choose to pursue. Families can expect to pay for a home study, dossier compilation, program fees, in-country adoption expenses, and travel. Travel may significantly alter the overall cost of the adoption if families need to travel more than once to complete the adoption process. Typically the fees for international adoption range from $30,000 – $45,000.

Those families interested in private domestic adoption can expect to pay for a home study, agency fees, legal fees, advertising fees (which may only be done through an accredited, state-licensed child placing agency in Montana) and birth mother and child expenses. Expenses may include medical and prenatal care, temporary living costs, and other reasonable costs related to the adoption. States do vary with regards to allowable adoption expenses, in Montana prospective adoptive families may not pay towards permanent housing, education, or a vehicle for the birth mother. Families pursuing private domestic adoption in Montana can expect to pay between $40,000 – $48,000.

If you are living in Montana and interested in helping a child through the foster care system, there are no fees associated with the adoption. Families can still expect to pay some expenses (such as the home study, travel, and some attorney fees) but the average cost is around $2,600. Interested families should contact the Montana Child and Family Services Division for more information.

The good news about adoption fees is that thanks to the 2013 Federal Adoption Tax Credit (ATC) you can claim qualified adoption expenses on your income tax return. In 2017, the maximum credit was $13,750. There are rules and regulations as to when you can begin to apply for your adoption tax credit, so be sure to read on the most current guidelines.

Have you adopted a child in Montana? What were your fees? How were the fees compared to those of other states?

Jennifer S. Jones is a writer, performer, storyteller and arts educator. She holds an MFA (Playwriting) from NYU Tisch. She has written numerous plays including the internationally renowned, award-winning Appearance of Life. Her amazing transracial transcultural family was created through adoption from China and India. She is passionate about the adoption community and talks about the ins and outs, ups and downs, joys and “is this really us?!” whenever she can. She writes about her experiences at