You don’t have to know much about adoption to know that adopting a baby domestically can be expensive, costing anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. Thankfully, there are many resources, organizations and methods to help you finance your adoption and raise money to put toward growing your family.
Federal Adoption Tax Credit
You may be able to benefit from the Federal Adoption Tax Credit to cut down on your expenses; however, the credit is not refundable. As of 2015, the maximum amount available is $13,400.
The Federal Adoption Tax Credit was written into law in 1997 to help ease the financial burden of adoptive families. The tax credit provided incentive for families to adopt domestically, internationally and through the state foster care system to help provide children with permanent homes in a safe and loving environment.
In 1997, the Adoption Tax Credit provided a $6,000 non-refundable credit for special needs adoptions and a $5,000 non-refundable credit for other domestic adoptions. In 2001, among the “Bush Tax Cuts,” the tax credit increased to $10,000 for special needs and all other types of adoptions, and in 2010-2011, the credit became refundable.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 made the tax credit permanent. As of 2013, the Adoption Tax Credit was set at $12,970, and while it is non-refundable, it can be applied for up to a total of six years if a family doesn’t use all of the credit in subsequent years.
Current Status of the Adoption Tax Credit
Currently, there is a bill in the Senate (S. 950) that would make the tax credit refundable once again. To stay up to date on the progress of the tax credit and legislation, visit adoptiontaxcredit.org.
Loans and Grants
Other than regular methods of credit like credit cards, 401k’s and home equity loans, there are also many organizations that offer adoption loans and grants.
A prospective adoption parent must complete the following to receive an adoption loan or grant:
Finalize an Adoption Home Study – Organizations that offer adoption loans first want to make sure your family is eligible to adopt a child. Completing a home study provides proof that your family is ready for adoption.
Meet Certain Requirements – Some adoption loans and grants are provided only to specific types of adoptive families. For example, some adoption loans require certain religious affiliations, while others require the adoptive family to meet a certain credit score. Before you apply for an adoption loan or grant, be sure you know the organization’s criteria.
Complete an Adoption Grant Application – Once you find an adoption loan or grant that you are eligible for, you must then apply for it by completing an application. Disclose as much information as possible in the application about your adoption plan and financial circumstances, as this can only help you.
The following is a list of some organizations that offer adoption loans and/or grants:
- National Adoption Foundation
- provides up to $25,000 in 6.59% APR adoption loans to adoptive parents with a credit score of 640 or higher.
- awards grants to adoptive families regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, family characteristics or income
- Lifesong for Orphans
- offers interest free loans of $5,000 to $10,000 to two-parent Christian families
- offers matching grants from $1,000 to $4,000 to two-parent Christian families
- A Child Waits Foundation
- awards adoption loans and grants to families adopting through international adoption agencies to help international orphans find permanent homes.
- ABBA Fund
- offers adoption loans in any amount to prospective Christian adoptive families
- Oxford Adoption Foundation
- works with families adopting internationally by providing them zero-to-low-interest adoption loans of $5,000
- America’s Christian Credit Union
- awards adoption loans up to $50,000 with 8.65% APR to prospective Christian adoptive families
- grants awarded twice every year to any U.S. citizen adopting domestically or internationally
- MICAH Fund
- provides matching grants to prospective Christian adoptive parents who are seeking to adopt minority children
- HandinHand Christian Adoption
- partners with Christian adoptive families’ supporters to offer matching grants for adoption
- Katelyn’s Fund
- grants available for two-parent Christian families, who must conduct an interview upon application review
Please keep in mind that adoption grants require donations to remain active. If you have been positively affected by adoption, consider donating to an adoption fund to help a prospective adoptive family bring home a child.
According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, an increasing number of companies are providing employer-provided adoption benefits to their employees.
In 1990, a survey found 12 percent of surveyed employers offered adoption benefits. However, in 2004, that figure grew to 39 percent of the surveyed organizations.
Every year, The Dave Thomas Foundation provides an updated list of the Top Adoption-Friendly Companies, all which offer differing amounts of adoption benefits.
Employers who offer adoption benefits typically provide some or all of the following:
- Financial Benefits – Following a completed adoption, companies may reimburse an adoptive family for a designated amount of money, or they may pay for specific adoption expenses. Employers may reimburse more for the adoption of multiple children or for children with special needs.
- Parental Leave – Companies with 50 or more employees are federally required to grant parental leave to adoptive parents, similar to maternity or paternity leave. However, many companies with less than 50 employees still offer similar parental leave benefits.
- Information Resources – Employers may contract with an HR consulting firm to provide adoption information services to employees. They may refer prospective adoptive parents to certain adoption specialists, support groups, organizations and other individuals who can help a family with their specific adoption needs during the adoption process.
Consult your employee handbook or speak to your HR department to learn if your company provides adoption benefits. And if you are seeking employment, don’t be shy about asking a company’s adoption benefits during an interview.
Fundraising and Saving Money
The first place to start is to consider an online adoption fundraiser with YouCaring.com, the leader in free online fundraising for prospective adoptive couples. With its lack of fees, deadlines and goal requirements, YouCaring.com is a perfect solution to easily raise money toward your adoption plan. You can learn more about online adoption fundraising and read one family’s inspiring adoption crowdfunding story here.
Other fundraising ideas include:
- Yard sale
- Baby walk-a-thon
- Bake sale
- Car wash
- Online auction
- Baby blog or GoFundMe
Along with raising money, you can also find ways to save. As you’re preparing for adoption, here are a few tips to help you save a little extra:
- Baby shower on a budget – bringing your little one home doesn’t have to mean a huge blowout. When planning your adoption shower or other parties, stick to a modest budget – without sacrificing the fun and festivities, of course.
- Get crafty – Making your own crafts can be useful in a number of ways. Whether you’re decorating your home, looking for activities for other children in your home, or pondering gift ideas, you can make cost-effective crafts by hand.
- Clip coupons – Coupons can save you money on all kinds of daily household needs, from food to cleaning supplies and much more.
- Choose a professional wisely – When you’re planning your adoption, pay attention to the professionals you choose and how much they are charging you. Compare the prices and the services they provide with other professionals carefully.
- Consider foster care adoption – If adoption still seems to be out of range for you, you may want to look into the foster care system, where you can adopt for much less.
For more information on financing your adoption, visit resources4adoption.com. There are many paths to financing your adoption, so take the time to do careful research, and pick the best methods for you. Through federal regulations, employer benefits, loans or grants, and fundraising options, your adoption dream is within reach.