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State Laws and Fees

Since adoption is governed by state statute, each state makes its own laws, and each agency or other entity assisting in the adoption process sets its own fees for adoption services. When adopting a child of Native American heritage, the specific tribe likely will have their own adoption laws and procedures. If you're considering adopting a child from another country, you will find that each country's laws and requirements vary.

Unfortunately, at this time, there is no central rating service that checks on adoption agencies. You can call your local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against a particular agency or adoption intermediary. In addition, your state or county social services department should be able to provide you with the name of the government entity that oversees adoption to verify the reputation of an adoption agency or intermediary. Also, talk to families who have adopted and to members of adoptive parent support groups to get recommendations or warnings about the agencies in your area.

Richard and Tina and Henry and Linda have been advised to:

  • Compare adoption fees among adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, or other adoption intermediaries.
  • Clarify up front, in writing, exactly what the stated adoption fee will and will not cover. Some agencies or intermediaries may quote a fee, but later add other charges, such as post-placement fees and court costs.
  • Ask about the payment plan. Do NOT pay 100 percent of the adoption costs in advance. Payments should be made as each step of the agency's or attorney's services are provided.
  • Be wary of agencies or intermediaries that charge high fees, want a retainer paid in full upon application without any provisions for a refund, guarantee a child, or want you to sign disclaimers before meetings or searching for a child for you.
  • Some expenses are common to nearly all adoptions. Whether the Johnsons and Riveras choose to adopt an infant through a private agency or an independent intermediary, adopt a waiting child through a public or private agency, or do an international adoption, they can expect pre-adoption, placement, and post-placement expenses. Common fees are described in the following sections.


    More about Adoption Expenses


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