Parenting a child is an expensive endeavor. One estimate is that the cost of raising a child to the age of 17 ranges between about $140,000 and $290,000 [source: The Motley Fool]. This includes everything from education to health insurance. While there are ways to cut costs, before you even think about adoption, you'll want to take a hard look at your budget.
Parenting also requires a huge time commitment. Your entire lifestyle will change as a result, and your time will no longer be your own. There are no sick days or vacations from being a parent. If you aren't sure if you can handle this kind of change, it's better to come to that realization now. Most parents say that there was no way for them to be truly prepared for how their lives would change, but realizing that things will never be the same is a start. Consider taking parenting classes to help.
Adoptive parents have to be able to handle these commitments, plus more. The average cost of adopting is between $25,000 and $35,000 [source: Adoption Guide]. This includes the preparation phase of the process as well as travel and the adoption itself. If you choose to adopt through the foster care system, it can be much less. If you choose to adopt internationally, it can be much more. There is an adoption tax credit and some employers offer assistance, but many people finance adoptions with credit cards or loans. The time commitment for an adoption is even greater -- not only can the process take years, you may also go through extensive interviews, home visits from a social worker and spend time traveling.