Is adoption expensive? YES. When we first decided to adopt and we looked at the costs, the real costs (not just what google said, but what actual agencies said) we had a little bit of that sick feeling. The three different agencies we contacted to adopt from Russia were telling us around 40-50K. China this time for our two kids probably around the 45-50K range. Most all international adoptions are going to cost anywhere from 25-50K. Do some tell you less, sure. These costs vary greatly depending on the country and the agency, however the low end of the range (25K) is still pretty pricey!
But for the purpose of this series, the exact amount is not important. Just the fact that (outside of the domestic world of adoption, which I can tell you I know not much about at all) adopting is expensive is what matters.
There is a bit of a myth in the international circle that says everyone is trying to make money from your adoptions. Honestly though, even if it is true, I just don't see it.
Following is a bit of a breakdown of the costs. The information is gathered from our personal experience, as well as multiple adoption agencies. I know there are probably others who have spent much much more, or much much less, but again, this is just a generalization to give people an idea.
1. Homestudy Fee - $1,500-$4,000 The homestudy is the huge report an agency and or social worker completes. This study is what determines your suitability to adopt and parent a child. In this study, fingerprinting through child abuse registries have to be done, at both the state and federal levels usually, someone has to physically meet with you and your family 1-4 times. An actual agency has to be run - a building to maintain, employees to pay, Internet or yellow page information, pay gas and electric etc etc....
2. Your Agency Contract Costs - $5,000 - $15,000 Your agency is who does EVERYTHING, they prepare the paperwork, they have the relationships internationally, they have to translate every single piece of paper, they again have buildings to operate, employees to pay, and usually have offices both in the states, and abroad. They (ours does) have escorts while you are traveling, interpreters, arranged transportation to pay for etc etc
3. United States Dept of Homeland Security - $670 + $80 for each additional adult member in your house. This is the united states saying we can bring home a child, and make them a US citizen. Again, people to go over your paperwork, make sure you are suitable parents, make sure you are bringing kids home for the right reasons (hey, there are a lot of terrible things that go on involving child trafficking, sex slaves, etc)
4. The Adoption Donation - $5,000 - $25,000 - for Russia ours was $21,000 and for China it will be $5100 for each child. This is the money that goes directly to the orphanage your child came from. In America we have Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid etc. Most of these countries do not. The money to take care of these children and operate an orphanage comes directly (mostly) through independent funding. Every time someone adopts that money goes for food, clothes, medicine, doctors, staff etc etc etc
5. Legal Fees - $1600 - $3000 Obviously to adopt a child, things need to happen on a legal level. Lawyers, court, all the legal documents involved.
6. International Airfare $1000- $2000 per adult per flight- Need I say more? Russia was four trips for two adults (nearly $16,000 total) China will be one trip probably around $4000 total. Don't forget the flight for the kids home too.
7. International Travel $2000 - $5000 per person depending on length of stay. This would be your food, your hotel, your in country travel, etc. Anyone ever taken 2-3 weeks of an International Vacation???
And there you have it!!! No one is really getting rich here. Are there things that could make adoption cheaper? Sure, like less travel, less time possibly, but the reality is, it is what it is!