I just took the Adoptive Families magazine Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey. I already had all of our expenses in a spreadsheet, sorted by year, for our taxes. I just had to break them down into categories for the survey. I am sharing them here.
Let me tell you why.
I am not sharing our expenses to brag about how much money we spent. I am not sharing our expenses to complain about how much adoption costs. I am not sharing our expenses as part of some contest.
I am sharing our expenses because adoption expenses are shrouded in more mystery than Edward Cullen’s hair gel recipe.
On forums, I see PAPs asking how much adoption costs. They’ll write something like, “Our agency charges $20,000, so that’s how much it’s going to cost right?” Hahahahahaha! So naive! You see a lot of people asking for cost breakdowns, how to save money, where all the money goes… so, here it is. My answer for one adoption.
Agency fees are but one cost in a sea of costs. Here are ours for Cassie’s adoption, spread out from 2010 through 2013.
- Home study, including fingerprinting (twice), criminal background check (twice), CPR certification, home study fee, and home study update fee: $2,856
- Agency, referral service, and facilitator fees: $12,800
- Attorney fees, including Laine’s attorney, court filing fees, terminating birth father’s rights, etc.: $8,435
- Advertising/networking, which for us just includes printing and mailing our profile book: $169.85
- Travel, including air fare, car rental, hotel stays, gas in LA, and food in LA: $6,166.53
- Other expenses, including mailing the home study and the Pact class we never took: $357.92
- Birthmother counseling: $575
- Birthmother expenses: $523.74
- Failed adoptions (the match that never happened and the scam): $1,232
- TOTAL COST = $33,116.04
When we set out to adopt each of our children, we wanted to keep the adoption costs at about $20,000.
In Jackson’s case, we thought we asked all of the right questions, and thought that everything but travel and birthmother expenses were covered by the large fee we paid ANLC. We didn’t, and it wasn’t. ANLC screwed us.
In Cassie’s case, we couldn’t find any situations that started at less than $25,000, unless serious special needs were involved. We had the failed match and the scam, and we had to update our home study. Again, we thought we asked the right questions, and that we didn’t have to travel back to LA for finalization. But we did have to go back. All of that cost about $4,000 more than we had planned. We had wanted to try and stay in-state, but the situations we saw were much more expensive to start with, already in the high $20K’s or low $30K’s.
This post is a pre-cursor to a Robyn’s Adoption Land post about fees.