Funding Your Adoption
Creative Resources to Make Your Adoption Affordable
by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P. (Certified Open Adoption Practitioner), Founder of Lifetime Adoption, and adoptive mother
The #1 reason hopeful adoptive families give for not moving forward in their adoption is a lack of funds. They are ready to love a child through adoption but are unable to adopt due to financial concerns. My husband and I faced the same thing 30 years ago and found if there is a will there is a way.
Adoption expenses include fees for home studies, agency fees, legal representation costs, facilitation fees, and travel, among other items. You may be wondering, “So, how can I fund an adoption?” What many people don’t realize is that there are alternatives for adoption funding.
Most people don’t think twice about signing loan papers for a car but don’t want to do the same for adoption. An adoption will last longer than the car and give more joy over a lifetime. The following information is here to help you find a way to get started sooner rather than later. I hope to help you find a way to adopt, no matter what your financial situation is.
Getting creative with funding is the key to financing the adoption you’ve been dreaming about. Working toward adding a child to your family may not be easy, but it will be well worth the effort you’ve taken to find these resources. Some families are finding that through these suggestions they can adopt for less than they had ever expected. Remember you get out what you put in, so the more research you do, the better you will be at finding money for your adoption.
Employee Adoption Benefits
The first thing you want to check into is your employee adoption benefit. This is becoming more commonplace as many more small to medium-sized companies are offering some type of adoption credit for their employees. For example, both Verizon and Pepsi offer their employees a generous adoption benefit. Small companies have found tax benefits to offering these adoption incentives to their benefits package – ask your Human Resource Dept for details. Or visit the Adoption-Friendly Workplace Program website. They offer free materials to help people advocate for adoption benefits in their workplace. Call 877-777-4222 for details.
The Federal Tax Credit
The Adoption Tax Credit is currently over $13,500, and phases out for taxpayers with high modified adjusted gross incomes. Qualifying expenses include necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses, and other expenses directly related to the adoption. You can learn more about this tax credit in Lifetime’s free webinar, “Understanding the Adoption Tax Credit.”
Adoptive parents who plan to claim the credit should file Form 8839, titled Qualified Adoption Expenses, and attach it to Form 1040. For more information and other downloads to required forms, please visit the IRS website.
Saving sounds simple, but you have to start somewhere and it will help motivate you to add to it. If you have made the decision to adopt, start saving money right away; the sooner the better. Just cutting back on Starbucks lattes can help: at $5 a day you can stash enough to get you started.
Raise Money for Adoption Online
Go through your garage, attic, and basement for unused items that you have stowed away and forgotten about. Ask friends for donations of items they don’t want. Run an ad to ask for donations for funding your adoption. Selling these online can help you raise a good amount of money. Try selling your items on eBay, Craigslist, or buy and sell groups on Facebook Marketplace.
Have a Yard Sale
Whatever you can’t sell online, you may be able to sell at a yard sale or garage sale. Ask your relatives and friends if they have any unneeded but still usable items that they can donate toward your adoption yard sale. One hopeful adoptive mother I know created a banner to hang over their garage. The banner stated that they were funding their adoption. Their neighbors and families from the community donated boxes of goods and bought items at top dollar to help them. Create signage and flyers for your yard sale, making sure to give them a consistent look and mentioning that the proceeds go towards your adoption. You might pass out the flyers at church, local schools, and work.
Grants for Adoption
Though you may not be aware of them, there are grants for adoption that may help with some of the expense of adopting a child. Many of these grants will help cover international adoptions or adoptions of special needs adoptions. Most adoption grants range from $2,000 to $5,000, but can go much higher if you fit the requirements. Often, these grants are need-based. Some are faith-based. Visit Lifetime’s Financing Your Adoption page to find a list of available adoption grants. African American Adoptions Online offers grants for African American infant and older child adoptions to qualifying adoptive parents.
Adoption Loans and Lines of Credit
Loan programs geared toward adoption are another funding alternative that many prospective adoptive parents are unaware of. An adoption loan makes it possible to have the money needed to adopt a child now. It also allows you to repay the loan in payments. A line of credit can be even better, as you only borrow when you need it. This is a great idea if you simply do not have a large amount of money on hand to fund an adoption, and payments would make adoption affordable and allow you to get started faster. You might also ask your parents for a loan to help you adopt. Depending on the relationship, this might be the best way to get started and then pay it back. Visit Adoption Financing Information’s website for other ideas.
Plan a Fundraiser
Some hopeful adoptive families have successfully planned a fundraising event such as a Spaghetti Feed or Walkathon. You might ask local businesses to donate items for a silent auction at your fundraiser, explaining that they’ll benefit from the extra exposure to the community. So that your fundraiser is successful, be sure to contact the local press, including radio stations and newspapers for interviews. Publicize your adoption fundraiser through social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram. Also, you can post flyers about your event at local schools, churches, businesses. Remember to let your friends and family members know so they can spread the word too!
Be Wary of Hidden Adoption Fees
Many adoption professionals charge a fee just to apply for a spot in their program. Others charge match fees, which cannot be recouped if the match falls through. If the adoption doesn’t work out, they keep the fee and the next time there’s a match, they’ll charge you again. Before signing a contract, make sure you understand all of the costs.
Lifetime does not charge you a fee to apply for our program, which is rare. Our online application has always been free; we believe that it’s ethical to find out if we can help you build your family through adoption before we start working for you. Determining if you’re a good fit for our program includes assessing whether the adoption situations we have are what you’re seeking. Until we mutually decide to work together towards your adoption, we won’t charge you anything. You can find Lifetime’s online application here: LifetimeAdoption.com/apply.
You CAN Afford Adoption
Raising money for adoption may seem overwhelming, but there are several ways to raise the funds needed for adoption if you get creative and think outside the box. Having a yard sale or raising money through online auctions may not seem like it would bring you a lot of help, but it will. One mother I helped raised over $1,200 on one garage sale and over $2,500 on her online auctions. It only takes a couple hours a day to sell online. If your friends and family donate items to your cause, it’s possible to raise an exceptional amount of money. You might be surprised at how the extra items can make a difference! Any amount helps, and if you still find yourself short of what you need, look into adoption grants and loans.
Remember the tax credit and employer benefits – these are the first to investigate.
With a little planning and research of the many adoption funding options available today, the average family has a chance to bring the light of love into their home with the adoption of a child. Families can adopt for much less than they might have thought. There are so many children out there that need the warm and secure home you have to offer; why not take advantage of every funding alternative available to you? Completing your family circle with adoption will soon be more than just a dream!
Here are my recommended adoption funding sites:
About the Author
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is a nationally recognized authority on adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner, Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. Caldwell has facilitated over 1,800 successful adoptions. She was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work has been dedicated to educating and helping birth parents and adoptive parents through teaching, speaking, providing resources, and as a radio talk show host.
Author of many award-winning books, including Called to Adoption: A Christian’s Guide to Answering the Call, she has more than 225 media credits to her name, including Larry King Live, ABC News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN Headline News, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, CBS News, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, Dr. Laura, and is widely sought for print articles and speaking engagements.
Lifetime Adoption, Inc.
is a Licensed Florida Child
Lifetime Adoption is registered with the State of California under the provisions of the Registry of California Adoption Facilitators. (CA Family Code Section 8632.5)