I have heard that the government will give you a tax credit or something for a lot of the adoption fees. I'm not sure if that's just here in CA or nation-wide. It's not so much assistance, because you still have to pay everything up front, but it will help you out come tax time.
Partner (35) and I (32) have been together since 2004, TTC #1 since 9/09 - 7 failed IUIs with KD
12/17/10: First round IVF w/ WTBK donor results in ; 2/13/11 M/C after emergency surgery
Try #9 FET 4/11 - Negative. Try #10: IVF 6/11 - Negative. Next up: Try #11 FET 8/11
Man, the money part of this whole journey really sucks. Wish it didn't have to be part of it at all.
The tax credit helps, but it's refundable, which means that 1. you don't get it until after you've spent it, and 2. you have to owe enough taxes to get that amount back. After five years, we didn't use all of ours up because we didn't make enough money.
The above paragraph should give you hope that people of modest means can afford adoption, though! How did we do it? Savings. A home equity loan. Gifts from family members. It can seem like a big amount of money, but people regularly drop $25-30,000 on a car, for goodness sakes. (not us, but still...) Helps put it in perspective. Also, if you look at it as a percentage of the total amount you will end up spending over your kids' childhood, it's not so much either! Having a child is not a smart financial decision. That's not why we do it, right??
A high-quality agency should give you a list of all of the expenses, what they are for, and when they are due in the process. This will make it seem more manageable and give you a starting place for budgeting and planning.
Best wishes -