Everything PP's have said, and granted, the cost is outrageous (and I'm never quite content with the breakdown of where the money goes).
So, call an agency, many of them have sliding scale fees, and many have way lower upfront charges.
Our agency so far has been a reg. fee, a "homestudy fee" (really, a fee to send you paperwork since the SW doesn't meet with you until after all the paper work is done) and a "program fee" (it was 1800.00 for us). Our next $$$$ isn't due until there is a match. And then another chunk at placement. Another chunk for post-placements and a chunk for our attorneys.
Also, what everyone else said about "passing the homestudy" we're going to show them our office and say "this will be the baby's room when there is a baby", and just buy a medicine lockbox, some window guards (we live on a 3rd floor with windows that start on the floor and are awfully scarily toddler sized (I learned when a 3 year old visited me yesterday), and some childproofing cabinet things. I'm estimating that's all under $200.00