Every year, thousands of individuals and couples pursue adoption in hopes of becoming parents. Adoption can be a trying and expensive process, and unfortunately, there is no guarantee of success.
The adoption process can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years, throughout which there are various fees and expenses that must be paid. This can cause financial strain for many people, especially those with limited financial means.
Luckily, adoption loans and other types of funding may help you fill in the gaps.
On this page:
- Adoption Financing Methods
- How Adoption Type Affects Costs
Adoption Financing Methods
Adoption requires a large personal and financial commitment. Some people have savings or financial help from family to tide them over, but many don’t. And since the adoption process itself can take several years, it doesn’t make sense to wait until you’ve saved up enough money.
Fortunately, there are installment loans and financing sources available for prospective parents. Each of these can provide the means for parents to adopt.
Some parents can cover a portion of their adoption fees through savings but may need additional financing options, especially when pursuing a private adoption. For couples with good credit, a low interest adoption loan is likely a better option than using credit cards to expand your family.
Personal loans are unsecured, so they do not require any collateral, and they can be used for almost anything. To qualify you for the loan, lenders typically consider your credit history, employment/income, and other factors. Loan terms range from two to seven years, so loan payments can often be customized to meet any budget.
You will need a good or excellent credit score and meet other eligibility criteria to qualify for the best personal loan rates. The approval process is quick and the funds are usually deposited directly into your checking account within a few business days.
A personal loan comes with a fixed interest rate and payments for easier budgeting. If you need to make your payment plan more manageable, you can just extend the loan term.
This does mean that you will pay more in interest over time. But if it helps you finalize your adoption, it could be worth the cost.
Adoption Tax Credit
Some of your adoption expenses can be covered with the adoption tax credit, which reimburses adoptive parents for related expenses. If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $207,140 or less, you are eligible for the credit.
If your income is higher than $207,140, the credit starts phasing out; when your AGI hits $247,140 or higher, you’re no longer eligible.
This credit can be applied to any necessary adoption costs such as legal fees, agency fees, court costs, and travel expenses. You can still take the credit even if your adoption isn’t ultimately successful. The tax credit is also available whether your adoption is domestic or international, although this does affect when you can claim it.
The only downside is the credit can only be claimed once the adoption is finalized, so you could end up waiting a year or more. But once you’ve received it, you can immediately apply the funds to any adoption loans you took out.
Grants & Interest-Free Adoption Loans
Many organizations award adoption grants and interest-free adoption loans to eligible individuals and couples who are trying to adopt. Some grants are awarded based on financial need; some others are given based on religious affiliation and/or other factors.
Both grants and interest-free loans can help minimize some of the costs associated with adoption, although it’s unlikely to cover all of your out-of-pocket expenses. Grants are usually available in amounts between $1,000 and $5,000, while interest-free loan amounts can vary by lender. For example, the Hebrew Free Loan Society loan program offers interest-free loans of up to $25,000 with no fees.
Every little bit helps, so you certainly shouldn’t rule these options out. Your adoption agency can help you find organizations that offer grants and interest-free loans for which you may qualify.
How Adoption Type Affects Cost
There are several ways you can pursue adoption, and the specific route you take will impact your financing. Here are three different types of adoption:
Foster adoption typically comes with fewer out-of-pocket costs. When you adopt through foster care, the cost of a home study and other expenses are often covered by the foster agency.
You do have the option of using a private agency to help speed up the foster adoption process. This will cause you to incur extra fees, but you may be able to receive reimbursement from the state once the adoption is finalized.
The child will come to live with you as a foster child while you begin the adoption process. Foster adoption benefits include monthly payments to help cover the cost of the child’s care; the child will also have access to medical care. Once the adoption is final, you’ll continue to receive financial and medical assistance.
Many parents want to adopt an infant through private domestic adoption and will use an agency or adoption lawyer to assist them during this process. This is a more expensive route to take.
For a private adoption, the cost can range upwards of $40,000. The majority of these expenses are adoption agency application and program fees; however, the costs could be higher depending on the birth parents’ medical expenses.
Agency fees usually start somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000. Some agencies will offer a sliding scale where the costs are based on your income.
The price of an international adoption largely depends on the country you’re adopting from. This adoption chart is a helpful resource that outlines the average costs of each country. For example, you can generally expect to pay between $20,000 and $40,000 to adopt from China and Ethiopia.
Unless you choose to adopt through the foster care system, it’s likely your adoption costs will be quite expensive. Working with a private agency to adopt domestically or abroad can cost couples as much as $40,000 or more.
If you need to pursue additional financing options, applying for an adoption loan could be a good choice. Just make sure you review the repayment terms and are compare loan offers before signing your loan agreement.