The cost of private infant adoptions varies widely from a low of about $15,000 to as much as $50,000. Non-profit adoption agencies like the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) tend to be on the lower end of spectrum. Nevertheless, it is still extremely expensive to adopt.
Many people ask why it costs so much to adopt. Why should you have to pay to help provide a home for a child? First, there are no government funds for a baby voluntarily placed for adoption, as there are for children removed due to abuse and neglect. However, the state does regulate agencies setting standards and oversight requirements for adoptions, which the IAC supports.
Therefore, both to comply with state regulations and to ensure best practices there are many costs associated with adoptions. An agency must pay highly educated social workers (at least Masters level) to write home studies, as well as provide counseling, termination of birthparent rights and post-placement supervision.
Agencies, like the IAC, also provide families with educational materials and resources. In addition, most agencies do outreach to potential birthparents. This requires marketing staff to develop materials, maintain websites, and buy advertising, which is also an additional expense. Furthermore, administrative staff are required to answer the phone, provide accounting services, comply with non-profit laws, ensure families are notified how many times their birthparent letter is mailed or saved online. There are also the costs any business has, such as rent, phones, Internet, and insurance.
As non-profit organizations, many agencies, including the IAC, receive both private donations and grants, but these are usually for special projects to enhance our services and do not cover the basic costs of an adoption. As a result, most of the costs to do an adoption are borne by the adoptive parents. IAC tries to help by providing a sliding scale fee structure, but even with this accommodation it is often a stretch for families to find the funds to adopt.