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The costs of adoption: Adoption expenses and financial help

Michelle Maffei is a freelance copywriter covering a variety of topics both online and in print, from parenting to beauty and more. Combining her two favorite loves, writing and motherhood, she has found joy in even the most challenging ...

How much to adopt a child?

Families who are willing to open their hearts, and their homes, to children in need of a family deserve all the credit in the world. However, adoption isn't free. Discover the expenses involved with adoption and the financial assistance that may be available below.

Couple and adoptive daughter

If you've ever struggled with infertility, or just feel the ache in your heart for the children who are left without a family, then adoption is a topic that may be hot on your mind. "According to research, some 40% of Americans consider adoption, but only 1% completes the process," explains Pam Devereux, CEO of Gift of Adoption Fund. "One of the significant barriers of moving forward is the cost."

Costs involved with adoption

Although some may argue that the benefits of children being adopted should outweigh all other factors, the reality is that there is a financial overhead involved with the process, of which not all Americans can afford:

  • Stepparent and kinship adoptions - Overall, little cost is involved, and usually can be completed without a lawyer.
  • Foster care - The costs involved with adoption vary from type to type, but adopting through the foster care system is the least costly.
  • Agency and private adoptions - Expenses, which may include travel expenses, medical expenses, services provided, or state requirements, may range from $5,000 to $40,000 or more.
  • International adoptions – Expenditures involved vary from country to country, but can generally range from $7,000 to $30,000 for international adoptions.

Keep in mind that a small fee up front may be common, but any adoption process that requires full payment prior to the completion of the adoption process should be seen as suspect.

Financial help for adoption

If your head is spinning with the dollar signs involved, take heart; there are programs, assistance, and options for adopting families that qualify:

  • Tax Credit – The Adoption Expense Tax Credit, a credit that reduces your income tax liability for qualified adoption expenses, can be claimed up to $12,150.00. Expenses may include attorney and court fees, travel expenses, and adoption fees as related to this tax credit.
  • Payment Plan – Inquire about a payment schedule, which breaks up the costs involved with welcoming the newest member of your family.
  • Reduction of fees - Ask about sliding scale fees, which may dramatically reduce the costs involved based on your financial situation.
  • State support – State agencies offer programs that can cover all the costs of an adoption, health benefits, and offer stipends. School tuition waivers and counseling assistance is also available in some states.
  • Loans – Credit cards, mortgage refinancing, and home equity loans may seem like an easy source of income for your adoption, but adoption-based loans may hold lower interest rates and fees.
  • Employer benefits – Some employers offer adoption benefits, such as paid and unpaid leave, financial reimbursement for adoption costs, and more. Check with your employer's human resources department.
  • Charity grants – Gifts through organizations such as GiftofAdoption.org can offer Americans up to $7,500 worth of grants to fund the costs of adoption.

Should you need additional assistance, consider doing some old-fashioned fundraising of your own. Ask family and friends for donations, set up a fundraising website, and hold benefit events to subsidize the costs involved. Overcoming these financial hurdles can help you reach your goal of adopting.

For more information on adoptions

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