Skip to content
Finance a Life Event

How to Keep an International Adoption Within Your Family Budget

The United States welcomes more children through international adoption than any other country in the world.1 If you’re considering adopting a child from another country, here’s a guide to foreign adoption costs.

Where do you start?

A recommended first step once you’ve decided to pursue an international adoption is to find a qualified adoption service provider. Paperwork requirements can be significantly different between countries, so it’s wise to work with experts who understand the policies and procedures you’ll need to follow.Top Nations For International Adoptions

Plus, your adoption agency can help you better understand the expenses you might undertake with an international adoption.

Be sure to request a written list of the total fees and estimated expenses. Also ask if there are additional fees which would not be covered by the adoption agency.

How much will an international adoption cost?

While you’re interviewing prospective agencies, you’ll want to set up a budget to pay for your international adoption. Here are a few of the more common fees and an estimate of how much you might expect to pay:3

  • International adoption agency fees & program application costs (averaging $14,181)
  • Dossier preparation & clearance (averaging $1,818)
  • In-country adoption expenses (averaging $6,412)
  • Major travel expenses (averaging $8,210)
  • In-country travel expenses (averaging $2,234)
  • Child’s passport, visa & medical exam (averaging $816)

Of course, the average cost of adoption can vary greatly from country to country. In 2013, adoptions from China were estimated at an average of $36,338.3 During the same timeframe, adoptions of Ethiopian children averaged about $45,960.3

To make matters more complicated, costs can also be impacted by the individual circumstances of the child you’re interested in adopting. Many countries, for instance, may reduce adoption fees if you adopt an older child or one with special needs.

Where will you get the money?

There’s no doubt that adopting a child from a foreign country can come with significant costs. But you may have help on that front.

Because adoption benefits are offered by many companies, your Human Resources department may be able to show you employee benefits that could help you take care of some of the fees.

Your accountant could also check if you’d qualify for a tax credit when the adoption becomes final.

If you’re still looking for additional funds to cover the costs of an international adoption, you could consider taking a look at a personal loan. A personal loan from Discover of up to $35,000 can help you bridge the gap between your savings and projected adoption costs. Plus, fixed rates and repayment timelines can help you confidently budget your payments, so you can focus on a new member of your family.

  1. “Intercountry Adoption From A to Z”, U.S. Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues
  2. “The number of foreign children adopted by U.S. parents dropped,” U.S. News & World Report, 3/29/16
  3. “Comparing the Costs of Domestic, International and Foster Care Adoption,” American Adoptions, 2016
Was This Helpful?