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How much does an international adoption cost?

It is a very sad fact that inter-country adoptions are becoming more and more expensive. There are many costs of which you may not be aware.


 Inter-country adoption is expensive. It shouldn't be, but it is. But these costs must be countered against not going through with an adoption. How much will it cost you if you do not become a parent? If you will never feel that love of a child trusting in you completely? What will it cost you never to hear the cries of joy of a child running downstairs on Chistmas day?  The benefits of becoming a parent are priceless. 

If I am ever stuck on something I always ask myself "How will you feel about this on your death bed?"  I know that sounds a bit morbid, but it does put things in perspective. When dying, are you going to be happy of the choices that you have made?  I believe one should not have any regrets in life.

Things may be hard, you may have to make sacrifices, you have to let somethings go, but it is so worth it. To have the love of a child is worth everything.



How much does an adoption cost?

 It does not cost anything to adopt a child.  Adoption of children is a gift - you only pay for those that help you to receive this gift.

The Home Study is now costing between £5000 - £7500, and depending from where you adopt agencies fees are between £15 to £40 thousand. The Department of Education charges £1775 and your visa to bring your child home costs up to £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, with others you may be looking at spending about several tens of thousands.  So any opportunity to save money and find short cuts is most welcome!


There is a saying that you can never afford anything until your really want it, and that is definitely true for international adoption. You do need money to adopt but that is weighed against a childless future. For many, coming to inter-country adoption, they have already been in the IVF cycle and finances have already been stretched. Fortunately, the costs of an overseas adoption are spread out over a few years, so it is not a huge lump sum in one go.


Inter-country adoptions are expensive because there are so many people involved. It is said that there are at least 150 people, from lawyers to civil servents, involved in the chain of international adoption. Each of those persons are professional and are rewarded for their service. 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.


But to even be considering bringing a child home from overseas, you need a fair chunk of money.  An adoption will take approximately 3 years, so you will not need all the money up front, but you need to be able to get your hands on it over the years. 


Will you be able to afford it?


I am a single mom who was working freelance, and if I could do it then I think anyone can!  We offer lots of tips and places where you can save money.


Here is an idea of costs involved, so that you can be aware of the odd things that come up which you haven't thought of. For example, I needed a Power of Attorney for my representative in Russia, so that he could act on my behalf. This document was then notarized £50, legalised £19 (now £60), couriered to Russia £42, picked up and taken to MoE by representative £26 for his time, translated £28, Russian notarization £8. A total of £173 only for them to reject it and issue us with their standard Affidavit outlining the exact working  that they need - translated into English £25 and the whole process over again.  So my one letter, my Power of Attorney, all up cost £371.


It is these expensive mistakes that International Adoption Guide will prevent you from making. 


It is important, though,  that with all this spending you do not lose sight of the final outcome - your child!


I remember once waiting in the queue at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, when it was in Pall Mall, thinking that I am spending all this money on the adoption and nothing for my child. Seeing that my number was about 90 minutes away, I headed off into Covent Garden and into a designer shop. For the first time, I allowed myself to think of my little child. "Too hell with the expense", I thought!  I am about to spend £300 on paperwork let the little boy at least have some clothes!!  I am glad that I did, as the idea of him wearing these clothes kept me going during the long wait for his court date.


Hidden costs


At the beginning of the adoption process you have no idea about the costs that are going to come your way. I outline here some examples of the areas in which you will be spending money: 


ADMIN, Phone calls, Courier, Photocopying, postage, stationary, books,Medical forms, Computer,Internet, Home Study, Report, Consultations, Information days,Preparation course, Panel, Post Placement reports, LEGAL FEES, accountants letter, Doctor, Medical, translator, representative, Notary, IA Doctors, Appostille, lawyer, letters from professionals, visas, air fares, hotel, transport, interpreters, psychiatrists, driver, food, Internet cafe, orphanage gifts, Gifts for Carers, Directors gifts, Child's passport, entry visa, birth certificate, court fees, Adoption Certificate, Photographs, toys/clothes, court interpreter, Court fees, UK birth certificate, Lawyer etc


I have put together a comprehensive budget book outlining the various costs involved from several adopters experiences which you will be able to download shortly. 


Financial help available?

  Unfortunately, the attitude towards International adoption here is the UK is nothing like our US cousins.  Here our government is charging us, there  their government gives a tax rebate of over $10000 on each adoption. Median wage for those with professional degrees in the US in the region of $80 000  (£51400) and here it is around £30000. There a Home Study costs between $1000 and $3000  (£640 to £1900) and here it is from £5000 to £6500. So we are the ones who need the financial help!  And yet there is none available. 


The Cost of Adoption

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

I am now working as an adoption consultant and can set up your own Personal Adoption Plan - saving you precious time and emotional angst.


The Cost of Adoption

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

Parents holding their young daughters.

Adopting a child can cost prospective parents thousands in fees, travel costs and other expenses.

By Oct. 2, 2014 | 9:38 a.m. EDT + More

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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