Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How Much Does Domestic Infant Adoption Cost?

When my friend Deanna was going through infertility treatment, she decided to post on her blog exactly how much she and her husband were paying for each part of the process. She did this because she had so much difficulty finding information online about how much various treatment options cost. She wanted to provide a resource for anxious women googling "how much does an IUI cost?"

I talked with J about it, and neither one of us feels that there is any reason why I shouldn't do the same on this blog. I certainly don't want Evie to see this post before she is 18 and has the legal right to do so, because I don't want her to think about herself as being some type of commodity that we purchased, but I'll deal with that when she's 16 and I finally let her online for the first time. Ha ha. I know that some people still consider it rude to discuss money in any context and if you feel that way, just skip this post. But, I hope that this information will be useful to people who stumble upon my blog from a google search for "how much does domestic infant adoption (DIA) cost?" I hope that it demystifies some of the process and gives couples confidence that they can build their family through domestic adoption.

Disclaimer: our experience is not necessarily the "norm" and, of course, we cannot guarantee that your own DIA will have similar costs. The important variables here involve the birth mother's health insurance, your geographic distance from the birth mother and child (i.e. travel costs), varying state laws and whether or not the birth father is identified and reachable. A birth mother without health insurance and without Medicaid can dramatically inflate adoption costs, especially if there are complications during delivery or a C-Section. State laws also vary, and some adoptive parents end up spending a lot of money traveling to and from their home state and the birth mother's state, as well as extensive lodging bills. When paternity is in question or a birth father is AWOL, there are all kinds of legal complications and, as you will see below, legal=expensive. We were lucky that R ended up obtaining Medicaid benefits, we live fairly close to R & G and G was in the picture and cooperative. Also, the adoption was officiated in the state of Kansas, which has very straightforward and "gentle" adoption laws, which required less time and effort from our lawyers = cheaper.

Part I: Pre-match

Cost of our initial homestudy in June of 2007: $1,300
Cost of our homestudy update in June of 2008: $500
Cost of homestudies for R & G, as well as counseling for both of them: $2,645
Cost of our social worker's assistant typing up all home studies, etc.: $244.60

Part II: Those bloodsucking lawyers

Cost of retaining a lawyer ($180 per hour) to represent R throughout the process: $1,487.59
Cost of retaining our lawyer ($195 per hour) and her paralegal ($90 per hour) throughout the process: $2,689.50
Cost for our lawyer to change Evie's birth certificate to our last name: $800
Filing fee to the court: $50.50
FedEx costs for our ICPC paperwork: TBD
Postage, photocopies and long distance calls: $166.06

Part III: Court-approved assistance to R (& G somewhat)

Money for groceries, maternity clothing, cell phone and gas for R (& G): $805

Total: $10,688.25

This is a lot of money, but doesn't come close to the amount of money we were told DIA would cost when we first began looking into it. People warned us to go overseas because DIA is so expensive and risky. We found the opposite to be true, but again, that is just our experience. More to come on that in a separate post. Additionally, we expect to receive every single penny of that money back from the government.

Expenses covered by the IRS's adoption tax credit: $11,390

Difference between our official expenses and the IRS's allowable expenses: $701.75

So, we'll be able to additionally claim gas mileage for driving to and from Kansas frequently for adoption-related matters and the costs we incurred while creating our profile books during the spring and summer of 2007. We'll end up getting a check from the IRS next spring for an amount close to $11,000. That money will go right back in the bank to fund our next adoption, whenever that is (haven't decided yet). ***NB: in order to receive the adoption tax credit you must have paid the federal government as much or more in income tax! If you have paid $8,000 or so in income tax during the year you claim the tax credit, you will receive $8,000 back, not the full $11,390 allowable. Also, if your joint family income is above $170,000 or so, you are not eligible to receive the full $11,390 back.***

Thank goodness I was a private school English teacher, right? :)

One final note: the tax credit is per child, not per year. For domestic adoptions, the IRS allows claims for failed adoptions (it doesn't allow claims for failed international adoptions). So, we will also receive a tax credit for the costs associated with Lucy's failed adoption, as long as it doesn't all add up to more than J and I paid together in income tax for 2008.

Do I need to mention that parenthood is worth every red cent, even if we weren't going to get any of it back in the spring? I didn't think so.


  1. Thanks for this, my husband and I are waiting to adopt and have so far just paid a deposit with our agency but we expect to pay about the same amount when it's all finished. I've been wondering about the tax credit and that info was especially helpful. Thanks again, & congrats on the finalization!

  2. Awesome post! I think this is going to be so helpful to so many couples trying to get started.

  3. It's great that you posted this. It answered a ton of questions!

  4. Thanks for being so open! We haven't been matched, yet, but everything looks about what we are anticipating on paying. (Although I know every situation is SO different). If we get chosen by an African American mom our costs will probably be even lower (government subsidizes). I'm also hoping to investigate some of the grants available, but have yet to do it!

  5. To add on to the tax info, J corrected me and said that if the cost of Lucy's failed adoption + Evie's adoption is more than we pay in taxes for 2008 then we can claim the rest of it on our 2009 taxes! That's awesome.

  6. We are an AA couple and we were told that there are no government subsidies for AA newborns. Subsidies are only available if the child is in foster care already. Does anyone have additional info on that


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