The Cheapest Way to Adopt a Child: This Makes Sense

With the costs of adoption, it is no wonder that so many people are wanting to know, what is the cheapest way to adopt a child?

The cheapest way to adopt a child is through the foster care system. When you foster a child, you not only have the opportunity in many cases to adopt the child, but you’re also able to get your feet wet to see if the relationship between you and the child is a good fit before committing to an adoption.

The cost of adoption averages between $25,000 to $50,000. This range varies considerably depending on an enormous amount of factors. For many people, adoption can seem out of reach.

Let’s be honest. Your average person or couple does not have that dollar amount burning a hole in their pocket.

There is, however, a solution to this dilemma. Becoming a foster parent costs little to no money whatsoever, and there are hundreds of children who need to be placed in foster homes.

Many of these children are reunited with their biological families, and many sadly are not.

Mother and young daughter laying on the floor looking lovingly at each other.

Children who end up in the foster care system have many times been either abandoned, neglected, or abused. These children initially end up in the state’s care and are placed into group homes until a foster home can be found for them.

Once placed into the foster care system, the child’s parents are asked to fulfill certain requirements that will allow them to regain custody of their children. Some biological parents complete those requirements and some do not.

Just over half of these children will go back to their biological families, while others go live with relatives. Those that have nowhere to go are available for adoption.

Many of these children age out of the foster care system into a big, scary world with no support system or safety net to fall into.

There is nothing that says you have to adopt a foster child that is living in your home. Providing a safe and loving home for children during a transitional time is a wonderful blessing all by itself.

Yet, it is nice to know that the adoption opportunity can oftentimes present itself. You may just fall in love with a child and wish to adopt when you had no intentions of adopting before.

Adopting a foster child is so much more affordable when compared to going through a traditional adoption service.

When you take into consideration the legal fees involved with adoption, the expenses associated with the birth mother, the costs of advertising and paying the services that help adoptive parents, along with possible travel expenses if adopting internationally; these can all add up to an outrageous dollar amount.

How much does adoption cost through foster care?

The big question is, how much does adoption through foster care cost?

Adopting through foster care costs little to nothing, providing you are fostering the child. Adoption agencies representing children who are in foster care may charge you thousands to adopt a foster child they represent. Adopting as a foster parent is the key to a no-cost or low-cost child adoption.

You will need to check your expectations at the door if you decide to explore the foster care route, as only a very few foster children are infants.

This is not to say, though, that babies and toddlers are not placed in foster care. Just know that if you are holding out for a baby, you may want to adopt it traditionally.

Would you consider adopting a child with special needs? Learn more here.

Do You Still Get Paid After You Adopt a Foster Child?

Foster parents receive monthly payments meant to help with the costs of fostering and caring for a child. But do you still get paid after you adopt a foster child?

You may still get paid after you adopt a foster child, depending on the state you adopt in. State subsidies for adopting a foster child may also be available depending on income, such as continued help with medical, food, etc. Adoptive parents also qualify for the Adoption Tax Credit.

Getting paid to foster a child should never be a motivating factor in becoming a foster parent. The monthly compensation while fostering a child is very minimal and is meant to cover the necessities.

Is It Hard to Adopt Through Foster Care?

There are many children in the foster care system that are wards of the state and are available for adoption.

To be able to adopt from the foster care system for little to no money, you will first need to go through the process of qualifying to foster a child.

Regardless of what type of adoption you choose, you will be required to go through an application process as well as a home study.

The requirements generally include passing a background check, taking fingerprints, and attending classes in preparation for caring for the child or children.

This process is not so hard as it is time-consuming. Your home will be evaluated to ensure it is childproof, as well as your outdoor access.

Providing you do not have something ugly on your background checks like domestic abuse, abuse of a child, or any other questionable activity, you are off to a good start.

You will also be expected to be financially stable. This does not mean that you are required to make a lot of money. This simply means that you are financially able to provide a stable home environment for a child.

What if you take depression medication? Can you still adopt? Will a mental health issue prevent you from adopting?

Can You Just Foster Babies?

A large portion of children in foster care are four years of age and younger, so the need for fostering young children is very real.

You certainly may request to foster only babies, yet being more open to fostering a variety of ages will help you become familiar with foster parents in the state in which you are fostering.

The more help you have provided, the more trust you build with the system. With more trust comes more opportunity.

The majority of prospective adoptive parents wish to adopt a baby, and adopting a baby can be done through a traditional adoption agency.

And although adopting an infant is not unheard of when adopting through foster care, it is a bit rarer. The decision is up to you.

If finances are tight and you know you will never have thousands of dollars to adopt a baby, then perhaps you may wish to re-evaluate your wish list a bit and know that an older infant or toddler is also a good option.

Adopting through the foster care system is an amazing opportunity to help a child while providing you with a chance to adopt that fits your budget.

Will a medical condition make you ineligible to adopt a child? We find out.

What Is the Average Cost of a Traditional Adoption?

Traditional adoption can cost between $25,000 to $45,000 depending on which adoption agency you adopt through and other circumstances related to your own unique adoption experience.

For those set on a traditional adoption, the costs can be steep. International adoption can include the added travel expenses, most times requiring more than one trip to the country you are adopting from.

Then add the costs of a hotel and accommodations during your international stay, as well as the costs for required visas.

For a domestic adoption which is adoption within the country you reside, you may be covering not only the adoption agency fees but also the costs of the birth mother’s medical expenses.

Many adoption agencies work alongside an adoption lawyer who will require their own fees to be paid.

Ever wonder what would disqualify you from being allowed to adopt a child? Visit here for more information.

How to Afford a Traditional Adoption

There are creative ways to help cover the costs of traditional adoption.

  • Try to find an adoption agency with sliding scale fees.
  • Even financially secure adoptive parents enjoy the convenience of an adoption loan, as the initial costs required upfront can be a bit of a stretch.
  • Become familiar with the adoption tax credit.
  • Start a fundraiser using a popular platform such as GoFundMe.
  • Research government subsidies to help fund your adoption.
  • Some employers provide adoption assistance programs. You never know until you ask.

Regardless of how you decide to adopt, you are helping a child in need. Adopting through the foster care system isn’t for everyone, as there are those who strongly desire to adopt a baby.

With a little perseverance and determination, those who wish to grow their family will find a way that works best for them.

Trina Greenfield - Adoption Author

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield is passionate about providing information to those considering growing their family. Trina does not run an adoption agency. Her website is strictly information-based, so she is able to provide unbiased, credible information that she hopes will help guide those along their journey.