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Seattle, WA 98103

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How Much Does an Adoption Cost?

A top concern of many parents seeking to adopt a child is the expense. They may have heard that adoption is an expensive process. There are many costs associated with an adoption. However, the expenses vary widely depending on the type of adoption parents choose to pursue and on the specific circumstances of the case. There is no standard total cost for all adopting parents.

Discussing Costs with a Washington Adoption Lawyer

Your best option for determining the likely cost of an adoption is to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney who handles adoptions in the state of Washington. A lawyer can go over your options and give you the best possible estimate for the cost of an adoption.

Joyce Schwensen is a Seattle-based adoption lawyer and the former executive director of an adoption agency. She has helped countless parents adopt children, and has an in-depth understanding of the process. She will review the potential costs and give you the best possible estimate, so you can have a good idea of the cost before you begin an adoption.

Joyce Schwensen helps those seeking to adopt throughout Washington, including in Seattle, Spokane, Vancouver, and Tacoma.


King County Adoption Cost Information Center


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Costs for All Adoptions

All adoptions carry certain costs, which the adopting parents are typically expected to pay. Some of those can include:

  • The Home Study: In Washington, all adoptions of children require a home study. The home study determines the adopting parents' readiness to adopt. It may be conducted by the adoption agency, a Department of Social and Health Services employee, a social worker, a court employee or a person appointed by the court. The compensation for the home study service is usually paid by the adopting parents, except in adoptions of children in foster care.
  • Legal Fees: Adoption is a complicated legal process. And for most adopting parents it is the most important legal event they will ever experience. When not just your money, but your hopes, dreams and the love in your heart are all involved, it is vitally important to work with a highly qualified adoption attorney.
  • Travel costs: Many adoptions are done across country or even across the world. For inter-state adoptions the adopting family must remain in the state of the child’s birth while legal prerequisites for taking the child across state lines are satisfied. The cost of traveling to the place of the child’s birth and staying there for the required time period must be paid by the adopting family.
  • Medical costs: If a birth family has medical bills that are not covered by insurance, it is generally expected that the adopting family will bear those expenses.
  • Other financial support for birth mother: Although there are strict limits on what types of financial support an adopting family may provide to a birth mother, these limits vary from state to state. Often birth mothers are in very difficult financial circumstances, especially if she is placed on bed rest, is unable to work due to the pregnancy, or suffers medical complications. Many times the adopting parents are asked to provide financial help to the birth mother in these circumstances, with court approval.

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Expenses for Different Types of Adoptions

There are different ways a person or family might seek to adopt a child. Each one has different types of expenses involved.

  • Foster-to-Adopt — Generally, the option with the fewest associated expenses is adopting a child currently in foster care. The state of Washington is required to make every reasonable attempt to return the child to his or her birth family, so adopting a foster child can be very different from a private adoption. Nonetheless, adopting a foster child can be a wonderful way to build a family and a wonderful gift to a child that needs a new family. If you are considering adopting a foster child, an experienced adoption attorney can explain how the process works and guide you along the way.
  • Private Adoption — A private adoption carries more expenses than adoption of a foster child, but is preferred by many parents because it allows for the adoption of newborns and very young babies. It can also allow for adoptive parents to select a child that meets most of the personal criteria they seek. Expenses for a private adoption may include fees from an adoption agency, legal fees, medical bills, and financial support to the birth mother. The greatest expense is usually involved in using professional services to find a good adoptive match for your family. This service may be an adoption agency, adoption attorney, or a facilitator. Choosing who to work with for this vital part of the process is a critically important step.
  • International Adoption — International adoptions generally cost about the same as private domestic adoptions. In addition to adoption agency fees and legal expenses, international adoption involves costly travel, government fees for immigration and other matters, and in some cases donations to child welfare agencies in the child’s home country. Because of a variety of legal changes as well as sentiment against international adoptions in some countries, the number of children from outside the United States being adopted by American families has dropped dramatically in the past few years. International adoption is now fairly restrictive, and is not available for all families. Also, no newborns or young babies are available for adoption internationally. If you are interested in pursuing an international adoption, a good beginning would be to consult with an experienced adoption attorney who can help assess your likelihood of success, explain the complicated process and requirements to you, and help you get started on the best path for your family.

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Finding the Best Adoption Attorney in Seattle to Assist in Reviewing Costs

If you have any questions pertaining to cost when considering whether to adopt a child, your best decision is to contact a knowledgeable attorney who can assist you. Joyce Schwensen has helped many families adopt children, and is familiar with the process and the costs involved. She will discuss your plans and ideas with you, and can give you an estimate of what you can expect. Call Law Offices of Joyce S. Schwensen today at (206) 367-1065 to set up a consultation.

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