The Child Adoption Marketplace: Parental Preferences and Adoption Outcomes
In the United States child adoption costs vary considerably, ranging from no out-of-pocket expense to $50,000 or more. What are the causes for the variability in adoption expenses? We administered a survey to a sample of Michigan adoptive families to link adoptive parent characteristics, child characteristics, and adoption-related expenses and subsidies. We then estimate “hedonic” regressions in which adoption cost is a function of child characteristics. The analysis shows that most of the variation in adoption costs is explained by child characteristics. In particular, costs lower for older children, children of African descent, and special needs children. Findings inform policies regarding the transition of children from foster care to adoptive families.
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