March 19th, 2009
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When we started the adoption process a comment I often heard was, “I have thought about adopting, but it is so expensive.” While I agree that most adoptions are far from free, there are many options on funding. If you are feeling called to adopt but worried about the cost I would encourage you to look into the many options out there.

While I am writing from an International point of view many of these resources can be used to domestic or possible foster adoptions.

If you are a U.S. citizen the first thing to look into is the Tax credit that you will get once the adoption is finalized. As of 2008 you could claim up to $11,650.00 over five years in taxes. This is tax credit, not a deduction! That amount is for each child. The benefit is reduced if your income is very high, but if you have a middle class income you should be able to get the entire refund. Look here for more details.


Check to see if your company has adoption benefits. Many companies offer such benefits, it is just not as well known. If your company doesn’t offer adoption benefits, you can get a helpful guide on how to approach you human resources department from the Dave Thomas Foundation. My company started offering these benefits after I gave them the information. It was to late for us to get the benefits for our adoption, but I am proud that I was able to help other families in the future.

State or County funding may be available to you as well. I had know idea that we could get a one time reimbursement for our adoption. I was told it was a county by county basis whether or not international adoption qualifies. We were very fortunate to get this from out county. Here is link for your state resources.

There are many adoption grants to apply for. I applied for several without success, but I have talked to people who have gotten a few. It is worth looking into and if you get a grant that is wonderful. I would not count on getting one though. If you got a grant for your adoption, please share with us where you got it from! Here is a link to adoption grants. Some are income based, religious based or for special needs adoptions.

If you are considering a special needs adoptions your agency may offer a reduced agency fee or have a fund to help with such adoptions. I would like to stress that adoption of a special needs child warrants much thought and consideration and should not be chosen because of the possibility of reduced fees.

Agencies may also have sliding-scale fees. This means that if your income is lower, your fees will be as well. This could save you thousands.

There are low-interest loans available. Some families use these loans or other means of credit and pay off the bills when their income tax return comes in.

I have seen many fundraisers that families may have to raise money, including selling products, yard sales, bake sale, spaghetti dinners, etc. There is even a Yahoo group for adoption fund raising. I have seen fundraisers on ebay and etsy as well. Not everyone is comfortable raising money for adoptions, but for some it works well.

Your church may offer matching funding towards adoption. You can read more about this here.

Of course an obvious resource is your income and your savings. If you do not have children at this time and currently have two incomes, but plan on one parent staying home with the child you may try to live off one income for a few months. Take a good look at your budget and see what you can trim off your budget. It is amazing how much money we can save when we have a great goal in mind! I will be writing on ways to cut costs in a future post.

Much has been written on how to afford adoption. Here are a few links that you may find helpful.

I would love input on how your family has afforded adoption.

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2 Responses to “Affording International Adoption”

  1. martyd says:

    I have anticipated the cost of an international adoption but this is good information. What I have noticed though and I don’t know if it is the economy but it seems like international adoptions have really slowed down. I was initially told I would receive a child in 10-12 months, now my caseworker is telling me to settle in for 20-24 months of waiting for a referral.

  2. Mandy W says:

    I think it depends on the country. I know that Ethiopian adoptions have slowed down a bit because the government is wanting more documentation to make sure things are transparent and ethical. The wait is hard, I know. I think it is good that your agency seems to be realistic and not making impossible promises. If an agency says a few weeks for an infant I would run away from them! With waiting children a quick referral is possible. Good luck!

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