RESOLVE has researched various programs that might help defray all or part of your adoption costs depending upon the type of adoption you choose. Please note: The listing of any resources should not be construed as a recommendation or endorsement of these resources, expressed or implied by RESOLVE. We encourage you to explore the resources listed in the references below and to do an Internet search for additional options.
Adoption costs vary greatly depending upon the type of adoption. Listed below are ranges for the costs of adoption as of 2004. (Source: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, a service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
- Foster care adoption, adoption of a child from the state foster care systems: $0 to $2,500
- Domestic, licensed, private agency adoption, adoption arranged and facilitated through a licensed adoption agency: $5,000 to $40,000
- Domestic independent adoption, adoption arranged between a birth mother and a prospective adoptive parent often with the assistance of an attorney: $8,000 to $40,000 (average is $10,000 to $15,000)
- Domestic facilitated/unlicensed agency adoption: a facilitator links a birth mother and a prospective adoptive parent for a fee: $5,000 to $40,000
- International (or inter-country) adoption, adoption of a child in another country: $7,000 to $30,000
- Additional Costs: Home Study (required for all types of adoption), legal fees, foreign travel, foreign attorney fees, and passport and visa fees.
A Child Waits Foundation provides low-interest loans up to $10,000 to help defray the cost of an international adoption. Loan eligibility is determined by financial need; to apply, a home study must be completed. Marital status and age are not factors in determining eligibility.
Families can apply for grants for adoptions from the National Adoption Foundation. The grant program is open to all legal adoptions including public or private agency, international and special needs adoptions, along with adoptions facilitated by an attorney. Prospective adoptive parents must complete a one-page application and a home study to apply but there is no income requirement. The Foundation’s board meets four times a year during the last week of each quarter to award grants in amounts ranging from $500 to $2,500.
The Gift of Adoption Fund also provides grants to qualified applicants. A home study must be completed and preference is given to applicants experiencing financial hardship. Average awards range from $2,000 to $5,000.
Many employers offer adoption benefits to qualified employees including financial support, parental leave time and/or access to adoption resources. To learn more about these benefits, check with your human resources department. If your employer does not offer adoption benefits, check out Adoption Friendly Workplace, a program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. Employers can order a free guide, which includes information on how a company can roll out adoption benefits, as well as other valuable tools and information for employers.
Federal Tax Credit
You may qualify for a Federal tax credit of up to $12,150 (subject to income limit) for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child, including a child with special needs. “Qualifying adoption expenses are reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging), and other expenses directly related to, and whose principal purpose is for, the legal adoption of an eligible child” (http://www.irs.gov/). The adoption tax credit is an amount subtracted from your tax liability, meaning it is subtracted from the taxes you owe. In addition to the credit, certain amounts reimbursed by your employer for qualifying adoption expenses may be excludable from your gross income. Check with the IRS or an accountant for eligibility details. If you are in the process of adopting, keep every receipt in case you have to prove any expenses to the IRS.
- A Child Waits Foundation, a financial resource for those seeking loans for adoption.
- Adoption.com, resources for adoptive parents and birth parents.
- Adoption Friendly Workplace, resources for employers.
- Dave Thomas Foundation, click on “Considering Adoption,” then “Financial Assistance” for resources and grants from other organizations.
- Gift of Adoption Fund, provides grants to adoptive parents.
- Internal Revenue Service, under “Publications,” search for “Pub 968” on the Adoption Tax Credit.
- National Adoption Center, information on waiting children in the U.S. and information on financing.
- National Adoption Foundation, provides grants to adoptive parents.
- National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, adoption publications and resources, and links to other organizations.
- National Endowment for Financial Education, publishes “How to Make Adoption an Affordable Option.”