What Is The Cost Of A Domestic Adoption?



How much does it cost to adopt a child for a domestic adoption in the U.S.?

First, it’s important to understand that there are two types of domestic adoptions: there are agency domestic adoptions, and there are private domestic adoptions. An agency domestic adoption occurs when an adoptive couple who is hoping to adopt a child hire an agency to help them connect with an expectant mother. A private domestic adoption simply means that instead of utilizing an adoption agency, you hire an adoption attorney to assist you through the process of the adoption.

A domestic adoption can be completed either in the state that you’re living in or you can adopt a child from a state other than the one you currently reside in. An out-of-state domestic adoption is called an ICPC adoption in the adoption world.

ICPC stands for the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children. It’s a federal statute that was passed a long time ago to help give uniformity to how domestic and international adoptions are completed to ensure that the adoptions are completed legally.

Agency Domestic Adoption Cost

I’m going to give you the example of a couple who lives here in Nebraska, and adopted their child out of state. It was an ICPC adoption. They hired an adoption consultant agency which helped them to get connected with an adoption agency. Their total cost for the adoption was about $39,000 (give or take a few dollars). Here is the total fee breakdown (again, give or take a few dollars):

  1. The fee for the adoption consultant: about $4,080.
  2. The fee to get their home study done: about $1,545
  3. Vaccinations: about $238
  4. Professional pictures and putting together their profile book: about $390
  5. Home study training: about $188.
  6. Adoption agency fees total about $29,000. This included the birth mother living expenses, the agency placement fee, the application to work with the agency, legal fees, agency match fees, agency technology fees, and agency home study updates.
  7. Fingerprinting: about $145, but this did not include all the other background checks that also needed to be done to finalize the adoption.
  8. Adoption finalization legal fees: about $1,500.


A domestic adoption here in the United States can cost you somewhere between $20,000 to $45,000.

Independent Domestic Adoption Cost

Independent domestic adoptions, on the other hand, can cost you somewhere between $15,000 and $40,000. The fee range is different because you are hiring an adoption attorney to help you through the process. You will also pay for the biological mother’s attorney’s expenses.

With an independent domestic adoption, you are taking it upon yourself to do the advertisement that you need to get your name out there to let people know about your desire to adopt a child.

Some adoptive parents use Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms to advertise their desire to adopt a child. Others adoptive parents choose to build their own websites.

It is very important to note that your attorney cannot help you advertise to expectant mothers. Only a licensed adoption agency can legally do this. You will be responsible for:

  1. your attorney’s fees,
  2. the expectant mother’s attorney’s fees,
  3. your adoption home study which includes background checks,
  4. the expectant mother’s medical expenses for the pregnancy if she does not carry medical insurance.
  5. other expenses as allowed by law.


So depending on how much you want to spend on advertising, your costs will either tip towards the lower end of $15,000 or towards the higher end of $40,000.

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