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How much does an international adoption cost?

Inter-country adoption is not as expensive as you think. Most of the costs are on the UK side of the process.

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One of the greatest myths of intercountry adoption is the idea that it is so expensive. This is not necessarily true.

We are working tirelessly to create relationships with organisations across the world to ensure that your adoption is cost effective without compromising on quality of service.

One of my biggest bug bears is exploitation in any respect, and when one is on an emotional journey such as this, unscrupously people come out of the wood work. You can rest assured that all people that we refer have been vetted and do not use adoption for personal gain. I get a very bad taste in my mouth when I hear of people who have spent over £45000 on an adoption. We will not let this happen.

When you are calculating the cost of your adoption, please bear in mind that what may feel expensive now, will soon be forgotten, and the financial aspect should not deter you from adopting. There are many ways to raise money and your friends and family, church and wider community will support you on your journey. And not all monies will be payable at the same time so you will be able to spread the costs. And little adjustments can be made in your daily budget, just not buying a coffee in the morning will save you over £40 a month - enough to buy you support and guidance with our retainer Guide Service, or a day support in-country.

To keep things in perspective, it is likely that the cost of your adoption will not be much more than if you had had your chiild from birth. Surveys show the cost of a baby's first year averages £9,152., and more if you are living in a country where you have to pay for your birth.

And finally, the painful cost of  years of yearning for a child cannot be calculated. To live a life without ever feeling the love of a child is too painful. If you embark on an international adoption, and never give up, it is guaranteed  you will become a parent. 


 How much does an adoption cost?

Essentially  it does not cost anything to adopt a child.  Adoption of children is a gift.

However, you need to pay for the services of those that are able to facilitate the linking of your child witih you. There are  on average 150 people involved in this process. And each of them are professional.

The major costs are outlined below:

The Home Study is now costing between £4000 - £9000 depending which adoption agencies you use for your assessment

The Department of Education charges £1775  for your Certificate of Eligiblity.

Facilitation in your country of adoption from £1000 - £10000 depending where you adopt from

Sundry fees for translations/court fees etc in the region of £2000.

The visa to bring your child home in the region of £1000.

These figures do not include travel and accommodation and other expenses. 


Some countries e.g. China are government to government and the costs are minimal.

Throughout this website I will give to you tips and explain short cuts that you can make to save money.  Little things, like knowing you should make three original copies of your dossier, could save you thousands.

 An adoption will take approximately 3 years, so the costs can be spread.


This article from a US magazine can help you understand the costs. Please bear in mind that US adoptions are more expensive as they recieve tax credits to off set the costs.

The Cost of Adoption

Prospective parents should go into the experience with their eyes and wallets open.

Parents holding their young daughters.


By Oct. 2, 2014 

It costs a lot to raise a child: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an average middle-aged couple whose baby was born last year can expect to spend over $245,000 to raise the child, not including paying for college.

If you're planning to adopt, you may end up spending an extra $40,000.

The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a U.S. government-funded adoption information service, estimates that the average U.S. adoption costs $8,000 to $40,000. If you're adopting a child from another country, the range is $15,000 to $30,000. If you're adopting through foster care, which generally involves becoming the parent of an older child, the cost is much lower: zero to $2,500.

So what exactly are you paying for, other than the opportunity to become a parent? Here's a breakdown of where some of your money goes.

Professionals. Your biggest cost will be a fee charged by the domestic or international adoption agency that matches you with a newborn. Prices run the gamut, according to Nicole Witt, executive director of the Brandon, Florida-based Adoption Consultancy, which helps parents work with adoption agencies and navigate the red tape. Hiring Witt is akin to hiring a real estate agent to help you sell a house instead of doing it on your own.

"Some agencies will just say, ‘Our agency fee is $25,000,’ and others will say, 'Our agency fee is $500, but we also charge you for x, y and z,'" Witt says. She adds that the larger agencies invest more time to find birth mothers and have higher overhead. "Smaller agencies don't make that investment and therefore cost less but also have fewer babies to place," she says.

Because many prospective parents naturally choose the lower-cost, smaller agencies, the wait times are longer than those of larger agencies, she says.

If the biological-parent situation gets complicated, more professionals get involved and costs rise, Witt says. For instance, attorneys are always involved in an adoption, "and if it's a legally complex case, that's more of the attorney’s time," Witt says. "If you have a lot of discussions with the birth father, that's going to be more expensive."

Charges for adoption consultants like Witt also vary. Her pricing is tiered, but if one were to use her throughout the entire adoption process, the cost could be almost $3,000.

But like a real estate or travel agent, an adoption consultant may save you money in the long run. Monica Smith, a 33-year-old publicist in Orlando, Florida, says that before hiring Witt, she and her husband, Jeremy, a 39-year-old executive recruiter, blew through $15,000, using a private attorney and working with several agencies to no avail.

"Not only did [Witt] help us better understand the adoption process, but her ability to put us in front of the right agencies in parts of the country we never would have thought to explore gave us more opportunities," Smith says.

That’s not to say everything was inexpensive and easy the moment they hired an adoption consultant. Smith and her husband spent another $60,000 – $37,000 of which went to an agency placement fee. Much of that amount, Smith says, was due upon matching, "meaning that a bulk of that money was at risk of being lost if the birth mother had changed her mind. It's a tremendous leap of faith."


Travel. Of course, you have to go get your baby. "We spent over five weeks in Louisiana," says Lauren Hefner, an Arlington, Virginia, resident and director at a businesswomen's association. "Our birth mother thought she was in labor three weeks before she actually was. So we had well over a month of hotel expenses, food and gas."

Hefner, who adopted her baby boy less than two months ago, says she and her husband were at least able to work from their hotel and avoid losing a month and a half of income.

Smith and her husband had a similar experience, but on the birth's back end. "Because we matched with an agency in another state and our son was then born in a third state, we had to clear the ICPC process in three states total," she says, referring to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, a federal law designed to ensure children placed out of their home state get the same protections and services they would receive in their home state. "That meant that three separate state agencies had to review our already approved home study after our son was born and in our custody but before we could depart his home state."

The cost can climb even higher if you're flying to far-flung countries like the Philippines and China to adopt.

Miscellaneous costs. Expect to pay for everything from counseling for the biological mother to getting your fingerprints processed by the FBI to clear background checks.

"Some states allow for six months of fees, which can be anything from maternity clothes to lost wages to cellphone bills," says Hefner, who is writing about adoption for her master's thesis. "Cool for the birth mom, but a little too close to buying a baby for my comfort. And I firmly believe a birth mother should have the ability to change her mind until she signs the papers without feeling pressured by fear of retribution because someone has been paying their bills for months."

Time. As you've already figured out, you will spend a fortune in time, particularly when you do a home study, which is a written document full of probing questions.

"It isn't that I don't get it, but it's like an emotional Pap smear," Hefner says. She and her husband had to outline who would take care of their future, theoretical child if they died, answer questions about their marriage and sex life (i.e., compatibility), offer letters of recommendation from friends and employers and take 21 hours of parenting classes. They also had to demonstrate that they have 72 hours’ worth of emergency supplies and offer up veterinary records for their dog.

Hefner says there were times when she wanted to walk away from the process. She loves the idea of adoption and says her experience with the biological parents went well, but she doesn't think she will adopt again.

Smith says, "My husband and I are currently weighing our options for baby No. 2, and cost is the greatest factor of consideration."

Cost is an obstacle for many couples, according to Witt. "So many people come to adoption after years of fertility treatment, which is also really expensive, so by the time people get to adoption, they're usually pretty tapped out," she says.

There are some ways to lighten the financial load. For instance, LightStream, the national online lending division of SunTrust Bank, offers adoption loans. Adoption grants up to $15,000 are offered through Some employers even help out with financial costs, and there are tax credits that encourage adoption. Still, for the most part, you’ll be on your own.

That probably isn't a surprise. Everyone knows that parenting is hard, and the adoption process isn't easy. You could liken it to the cliché of riding a roller coaster because there are certainly a lot of ups and downs. And it’s unfortunate that by the time the adoption ride is over, you'll be pretty sure you spent enough money to build a roller coaster.


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