Some people have this idea that a significant portion of our adoption cost goes to paying people off in-country. Pay off the judge, pay off adoption officials. Dear Americans, this is almost entirely an urban legend, and in the case of our adoption, we are not paying anyone off. Someone made a comment to me that we will literally hand over thousands of dollars to some Eastern European to buy our children. Um, no.
There is also a misconception that international adoption is more expensive than domestic adoption. It can be… theoretically, a domestic adoption could have no or very little cost. But, I imagine that they only time this happens is if you are adopting a child with several special needs. I know very little about domestic adoption, except that the cost is comparable to an international adoption, but the cost breakdown is different. With a domestic adoption, you have attorney fees, frequently birth parent expenses (often medical, and possibly living expenses), possibly travel expenses and of course all of those base expenses which come with adoption– home study, application fee, etc.
Each country you can adopt from internationally has different costs. Some are very inexpensive, some are very expensive. It depends on whether it’s a Hague country, how long you need to be in country, whether you need to work with an agency, etc.
It is easy to say that adoption is expensive. It is expensive. Having a baby is also expensive. A vaginal birth in a hospital can cost up to $20,000 (although it typically costs more like $8000-$10000) and a c-section can cost up to $25000. This is not including prenatal care or factoring in things like time in the NICU or an extended hospital stay. But of course, most of us reading this have medical insurance.
Here is the cost breakdown for the country we’re adopting from & the organization we’re working with: