of Adoption: A factsheet for Families
page 1. page 2.
Universal expenses are
incurred by everyone who adopts a child. (In some cases,
they may be offset by reimbursements or other resources.)
These expenses include home study expenses and court costs.
Home study expenses.
A home study must be completed for all prospective parents,
no matter what type of adoption they intend to pursue. In
the case of foster care adoption, these most often are
completed by the local public agency or its contractors; for
other types of adoption, private agencies or certified
social workers conduct the home study. The purpose of the
home study is to prepare the prospective parents for the
adoption, gather information about them so that an
appropriate match between the child and parents can be made,
and evaluate the fitness of the parents. Home studies
culminate in the social worker's written report, which
includes a recommendation about whether the prospective
parents are qualified to adopt and, if so, what age child or
children would be most appropriate. (For more information,
read the NAIC's
Adoption Home Study Process.)
The cost for the home study
is generally paid by the prospective parents. 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. With other types of adoption, the private
agency or certified (or licensed) social worker may charge
$1,000 to $3,000 for the home study. In some cases, the fee
for the home study may be included in the overall agency
fee. Information about all fees should be provided in
writing by the agency or social worker, and prospective
parents should ask for such information.
Legal fees. All
domestic adoptions and some intercountry adoptions must be
finalized in a court in the United States. Some intercountry
adoptions are finalized in the child's country of origin.
Although not required in these situations, parents often
choose also to finalize the placement in a U.S. court to
provide additional protection of their child's legal status.
All of these procedures incur a cost. The cost for court
document preparation can range from $500 to $2,000, while
the cost for legal representation may range from $2,500 to
$12,000 or more in some States. (Again, these costs may be
reimbursable.) In some jurisdictions an adoption can be
finalized without representation by an attorney.
The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC)