What scares people the most about adoption?

Believe it or not…. The cost!

You want to give a child a home and are looking to adopt. 

Trying to understand the cost of an adoption can be very confusing and intimidating as you read through a million articles just telling you that “it’s expensive”. 

You ask a simple question like “How much does it cost?”, you expect a sensible answer. Right?

Then you hear it could be up to $40,000 or more. You take a deep breath. You wonder why it is so expensive and how anyone can afford it. 

But your desire to adopt is much greater than the intimidation of the unknown. 

There are several different types of adoption. Some are expensive while others can cost little to nothing at all. You need to simply know which is which and this is good news!

I’ll go into further detail.


Adoption costs vary according to the specific type of adoption. For instance, if you chose to have a public adoption from a state foster care system or orphanage, that cost can be between $1,000-$5,000. If you chose the most common type of adoption, a private domestic adoption through an agency, that can range around $40,000. 

An international adoption, which was once deemed affordable many years ago can range between $40,000-$50,000. This is due to government fees from both countries, travel costs and additional paperwork.

You do need to keep in mind that these numbers can be higher or lower depending on the adoption circumstances. 

However, it should be noted that in California, there typically is no fee for families interested in adopting a child or sibling group from foster care. You just may be required to pay up to $500 for processing costs.

Still wondering why adopting is so expensive? Let’s delve a little further into the costs.


In California, each adoption has a required standard fee and cost that you pay to the Court and other agencies. 

You first start with a background investigation. This would include fingerprinting, medical exams, and Court filing fees. This can range anywhere between $100-$300. 

Next, there is a home study that is conducted by Child Welfare which gathers information, evaluates your suitability as well as educates and prepares you for adoption. This includes several home visits and interviews as well as an evaluation of your health and financial stability. This fee is usually between $2,000-4,000. 

In addition to the above, there are agency and legal fees according to the specific type of adoption. 

Any agency adoptions can cost roughly $18,000, with the legal fees around $4,500. An independent adoption (which is without an agency) costs around $1,000-$5,000, with legal fees usually around $7,000-$15,000. 

Complex situations can be more costly. This is usually from court costs and legal fees.

That’s a lot of numbers to remember!

BUT the difference between how much you pay actually comes down to how you found the child you want to adopt.  

Trying to remember every cost for every step can be daunting to say the least. The best thing to do is to reach out to a family law attorney for guidance.

Have any questions? Contact me today, I am here to assist you!