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Some numbers in the nutshell

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Approximately 50,000 children are domestically adopted every year by non-biological relations (stepparents), or people outside of the family of their birth. Many of these are older children placed through fostering, but some are infants. About one million children in America live with adoptive parents, and somewhere between 2% and 4% of families in the US have an adopted child.

As you might assume, the states with the most people have the most adoptions, so California is number one, New York is number two, and Texas is third in the number of adoptions conducted over the course of a year.

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute conducted a survey in 1997 that found that six in ten Americans have been touched by adoption in some way, either through family or friends.

Waiting times for infant adoption between beginning the process and bringing a baby home vary from case to case, and although there is the occasional fast placement, most are not. It is not unusual to wait two years or more.

Costs for infant adoption can range from around $5,000 to more than $40,000, with $10,000 and $15,000 being about average.

Private agencies can charge between $4,000 and $30,000, for which they may provide everything from the homestudy to counseling, birth costs to post-placement care.

Private adoptions, allowed in many states, can be estimated to run between $8,000 and $30,000, and although this route may save whatever overhead an agency tacks on, expensive surprises may be the trade-off, with the hopeful adoptive family paying for everything from advertising to expectant parent expenses to legal fees for both sets of parents and medical costs,

Some of the costs of adoption may be defrayed by the Federal Adoption Tax Credit:

You may be able to take a tax credit for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child (including a child with special needs). The adoption credit is an amount subtracted from your tax liability. Although the credit generally is allowed for the year following the year in which the expenses are paid, a taxpayer who paid qualifying expenses in the current year for an adoption which became final in the current year, may be eligible to claim the credit on the current year return.

Some state also have tax credits available for adoptive families, and many employers include adoption-related benefits as part of their package.


For a closer look at these and more numbers, see Numbers & Trends, Cost of Adopting.

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Credits: Sandra Hanks Benoiton

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