How Much Money Do You Have to Make to Adopt?


And Other Ways You Can Afford an Adoption

How much income you have to make to be able to adopt a child is one of the most frequent questions that couples planning to grow their family ask. While most professionals will not require families to make a certain dollar amount to be eligible for adoption, you will need to prove that you are financially prepared for the costs of adoption and parenting.

The cost of an adoption can vary depending on several factors. You’ll need to think about:

  • The type of adoption you plan to pursue.
  • Which services are included in agency fees, and what you will be expected to pay for “a la carte.”
  • Adoption- and pregnancy related-expenses (medical, legal, and living) for the birth mother and the baby.

So, when it comes to asking how much an adoption costs, there’s really no definite answer. The best person to ask if you have any questions is the adoption agency you’re working with. They’ll be able to give you an outline of the fees you can expect to pay.

Some adoption agencies also have different adoption programs and requirements. Depending on which program you choose, this will also affect your adoption costs.

How Will an Adoption Agency See How Much I Make?

Before you can successfully adopt a child, your adoption professional will want to make sure you can afford the adoption process and the costs necessary to care for your child. During your home study, your social worker will ask for several documents. In addition to your background checks, medical statements, and child abuse clearances, you can expect to provide your most recent financial statements as well. Your social worker will be looking at your most recent pay stubs and tax returns during the screening process.

While the income requirements for adoption don’t include being extremely wealthy or a homeowner, you will need to provide sufficient proof of income in order to adopt a child.

Financial Requirements for Each Type of Adoption

How much you will have to budget for an adoption will, of course, depend on which type of adoption you choose to pursue. In general, there are three different ways to grow your family through adoption:


This can be one of the pricier options. Typically, a domestic adoption can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 from start to finish. If you work with a national adoption agency, many of the fees, such as legal representation and agency fees, are included in that price.

If you want to adopt an infant to grow your family, a domestic adoption is still the best route.


Some adoptive families assume that an international adoption will cost less than a domestic adoption, but this is a common, and costly, mistake. In addition to your agency fees, you’ll also need to budget for your hotel stay in your chosen country, passport and visa fees, visa fees for your child, and transportation. If you’re planning to adopt a child internationally, expect to spend about the same as, if not more than, a domestic adoption.

You’ll also want to keep in mind the country that you’re adopting from. Some countries tend to have higher adoption fees than others. You’ll want to talk with the international adoption agency that you’re working with to get an estimate on pricing.

Foster Care

The most affordable income requirements for adoption will be through foster care.  Adopting through foster care is usually funded by the state. Most of the time, you can expect to pay little to no fees. If you do have any out-of-pocket expenses, you can typically expect to be reimbursed from federal or state programs.

Additionally, you can also apply for a foster care adoption subsidy. These subsidies help cover the costs of raising a foster child until they legally become an adult. The amount of adoption subsidy that you can receive will depend on the needs of the child; if the child has needs that would normally prevent them from being adopted; it’s more likely that you’ll be able to receive an adoption subsidy. For example, a child with developmental needs, or a child that is part of a sibling group, will often qualify for an adoption subsidy. You’ll want to check with your local DCS office to inquire about what kind of assistance you’ll be eligible for.

Other Options to Afford the Cost of Adoption

Adopting a child requires plenty of financial planning. But no matter how much planning you do, saving enough money to adopt a child can feel like one long obstacle course. While you’re researching, “How much money do you have to make to adopt a child?” you may have come across some of your other options for making adoption more affordable.

A common way for adoptive families to raise the money they need is by starting a fundraiser. There are many ways you can get creative with a campaign for your adoption. There are also adoption grants, loans and other financing options available. The amount you’ll be awarded with can vary, but they are also a great way to fund your journey.

To find more financial resources available for your adoption, a great place to start would be the adoption agency you plan to work with. They can help connect you with other useful resources that might be able to assist you during the adoption.

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