Betsy Tanner, Esq. Greenville, SC, adoption attorney
of counsel to Anderson Law Firm


How much does adoption cost?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. Is this a domestic or international adoption? Are you working through a private agency, the foster care system, or no agency at all?

It’s difficult to predict exactly what costs will be, but a ballpark figure for a domestic infant adoption is somewhere between $15,000 and $40,000 or more depending on a variety of factors including services provided, travel expenses, birthmother expenses, requirements in the state, and other factors. An international adoption may cost between $15,000 and $40,000.  Adoption of a child you already know—such as a grandchild or stepchild—may cost $1,500 to $5,000.

Please note that these are estimations of the total cost of the adoption process. Legal fees are only a part of this. Also, be aware that if you adopt through the foster care system, costs are significantly lower.

If these numbers seem overwhelming, don’t lose hope. In many cases there is financial aid available—see the next question.

Is there financial aid for families wanting to adopt?

Yes. Here are a few we recommend looking into first:

Hyatt Legal and ARAG

Betsy and the lawyers at Anderson Law Firm are in-network attorneys for Hyatt Legal and Arag. If your employer participates in either of these plans, your insurance may cover the legal fees for your adoption.

Federal tax credits

In years past there have been tax credits for families who adopt a child within the previous calendar year. For adoptions finalized in 2012, there is a federal adoption tax credit of up to $12,650 per child. The 2012 adoption tax credit is NOT refundable, which means taxpayers can only get the credit refunded if they have federal income tax liability.

Not all adoptions will qualify for the adoption tax credit.

Additional information on the tax benefit and the changes for 2013 is available through the North American Council on Adoptable Children.

Private charities

Some private organizations exist to help finance adoptions. Some that we are aware of include:

  • ABBA Fund: provides interest-free loans to Christian couples who meet certain criteria
  • Brittany’s Hope: provides grants for international, special needs, older children and sibling adoptees
  • National Adoption Foundation: provides grants, loans and other funding to prospective adoptive parents

Employee benefits

Many companies are beginning to offer adoption benefits to their employees. The company may reimburse some of the adoption expenses paid by the employee, or they may offer paid adoption leave. Check with your Human Resources department to see if your company provides adoption benefits.

What does the adoption process entail?

The process varies depending on the type of adoption, but in general the steps needed to adopt are as follows:

  • Home Study
  • Match with child
  • Relinquishment and placement
  • Post placement
  • Finalization: court process

 How long does the adoption process take?

The entire adoption process generally takes 1-2 years; however, each specific case can vary.