Lifetime adoptive couple with their babyAdopting a baby can be an expensive goal for many couples, but it doesn’t have to be. Depending on the resources and methods hopeful adoptive parents use, it can be reasonably affordable. 

How much adoption costs varies based on several factors. And while these costs are well worth it, the fact is that the cost of adoption is a genuine concern for most couples. 

The good news is that there is financial help with the cost of adoption for almost all families!

Keep reading to learn more about the cost of various types of adoption, and expenses to keep in mind. We’ll also share strategies for how you can afford to adopt!

How Much Does Adoption Cost?

Before you figure out how you are going to pay for adoption, you need some idea of the total cost. After all, you need to know where you’re going before you can get there! The cost to adopt depends on the process you use and the country from which you adopt. Here’s a quick summary of different methods of adoption and their relative costs:

International Adoption
The cost to adopt internationally varies depending on the country. You can anticipate paying between $20,000 and $50,000 for international adoption, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Couples pursuing an international adoption should also be prepared to travel to and stay in the country they are adopting from for anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Multiple visits may also be required. If you’re contemplating international adoption, make sure to carefully research travel requirements for countries you’re considering adopting from.

Adopting from Foster Care
The fost-adopt process can be virtually free. Many states will reimburse adoptive parents for necessary adoption costs, such as attorney’s fees and the home study. However, the goal with foster care isn’t adoption but reuniting the child with his or her birth family. Hopeful adoptive couples must prepare themselves for this fact. 

Dawn Davenport, executive director of Creating a Family, shares, “You need to know when you go in: Your goal is to help work with the birth family to reunify the family with the child.”  There are thousands of children in the foster care system whose parent’s rights have been terminated, and so they need adoptive parents. The greatest need in the system is for children over the age of 12.

Domestic Adoption 
Mom gazes lovingly at baby brought home through infant adoptionTypically, couples who adopt through an agency pay between $20,000 and $40,000 (source: Child Welfare Information Gateway from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.) An agency typically offers a full-service option, with diverse costs rolled into their fee. Expenses may include medical and living expenses for the expectant mother, the cost of a home study, legal fees, and costs associated with travel.

In an independent adoption, the adoptive parents and birth mother find each other. Because the hopeful adoptive parents are doing the screening and matching themselves, this type of adoption tends to be slightly cheaper. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, costs range from $15,000 to $40,000. In an independent adoption, the hopeful parents must advertise and market themselves, and then evaluate and screen the women who contact them. 

How to Pay for Adoption 

Even though adoption can get pricey, there are resources and strategies which you can use to help mitigate the costs. Here are four effective ways to help pay for your adoption:

Adoption Tax Credit 
For adoptions finalized in 2019, the adoption tax credit is $14,080 per child. (source: North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC). Adoptive couples use the tax credit to reduce qualified adoption expenses, like court costs, attorney fees, and travel expenses.

The adoption tax credit is not refundable, so you can benefit from it only if you have taxes owed. The tax credit has been a helpful resource for many adoptive parents. If you’re unsure about how and when to take advantage of the adoption tax credit, we recommend that you speak with a tax professional.

Cute baby girl poses on blanketEmployer Benefits 
As you search for assistance in paying for adoption, make sure to check whether the company you work for has an employer-sponsored adoption assistance program. You may have tens of thousands of dollars available to help grow your family depending on your company.

Remember to check in on how your company’s parental leave policies will work for adoptive parents. No matter their age, you’ll need time off to bond with your newly-adopted child

Adoption Grants and Loans
There are many ways to find funding for your adoption, but the most popular may be adoption grants and loans. Adoptions grants are popular because they have no personal cost and no interest. If you’re awarded a grant for adoption, you do not need to pay them back. Visit AdoptionFinancingInformation.com for more information on various grants available, and how to apply for an adoption grant.

An adoption loan through LightStream can make it possible for you to realize your dream of adopting a baby or child. Any hopeful adoptive family looking for an affordable adoption can take advantage of LightStream’s loan; you don’t need to be a Lifetime client.

LightStream loans can be used to pay for any aspect of your adoption process. That means the loan can be used not only to pay adoption professionals but also for things like adoption travel, preparing your baby’s nursery, and profile printing costs.

Adoption Fundraising
If your parents have the means, consider asking them to help fund your adoption. Many parents and grandparents are happy to make a gift to help grow the family. 

Some hopeful adoptive parents also try crowd fundraising through sites like GoFundMe and AdoptTogether. Learn more about crowdfunding options for adoption here. Others have hosted old fashioned, in-person adoption fundraisers, such as a spaghetti feed or a walkathon. Fundraisers can be very successful if you spread the word effectively. Contact your local newspaper, radio stations, and other press outlets. Post your event on Facebook, Instagram, and Craigslist for some online publicity, too.

With the adoption tax credit, potential employer benefits, loans, and creative fundraising, there are many strategies to help you afford adoption. We believe that loving families who are called to adoption should be able to open their heart to a child. We are happy to provide this information to help you cross financial hurdles that may stand in the way of your adoption dream!

Learn how Lifetime Adoption can help you adopt a baby! Call us at 1-800-923-6784 or request free information.

Get started today by filling out Lifetime Adoption’s free online application!

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

Read More About Mardie Caldwell

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