Cost: $0 to $2,500

Adopting from the U.S. foster care system is generally the least expensive type of adoption, usually involving little or no cost, and states often provide subsidies to adoptive parents.

Costs That May be Included:

  • Attorney Fees
  • Travel Expenses
  • Home Study
  • Medical Care/Psychological Evaluation

Most public agencies in the foster care system place children with special needs only, a category that is defined differently in each State but may refer to children who must be placed with siblings, who are older or in a minority group, or those with disabilities. Up-front fees and expenses may range from $0 to $2,500, including attorney’s fees and travel expenses. In foster care adoptions, fees often are kept to a minimum or even waived, so that final costs to parents are negligible. In some cases, the child may even be eligible for government subsidy payments (often called adoption assistance), Supplemental Security Income, or Medicaid coverage.

In the case of foster care adoption, there may be no charge for conducting the home study, although parents may incur fees for medical or psychological evaluations that may be required as part of the process.


National Endowment for Financial Education

Offers an online booklet on adoption costs

National Adoption Foundation

Offers information on adoption grants and loans

Other Information Gateway factsheets pertaining to adoption costs:

Employer-Provided Adoption Benefits

Adoption Assistance for Children Adopted From Foster Care

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