My recent blog on How Much Does Adoption Really Cost begs the next obvious question—how to pay for your adoption. We did a survey of the Creating a Family community online and came up with the following ways the average (not rich) person pays for their adoption.
Approximately 100 people responded to the survey, representing at least 130 different adoptions since many adopted more than once. It was clear that the majority combined several means in order to pay. It was also clear how resilient and resourceful people were in coming up with the money for their adoption. I offer these adoption funding methods without judgment, but can’t help but caution against incurring excessive debt. They are listed in order of popularity
9 Ways An Average Person Pays for Adopting a Child
- Loans (40 people) Many people used the adoption tax credit to pay off their adoption loans.
- Borrowed from 401K/IRA (8)
- Home Equity Loan(12)
- Credit Card (7)
- Consumer/Personal loan (5)
- Adoption loan (ABBA, Catholic Credit Union, America’s Christian Credit Union) (3)
- Second mortgage on home (1)
- Refinance home (1)
- Budget tightening (39 people) Many people expressed surprise at how much money they could save each month by consciously paying attention to where they were spending their money. I highly recommend this Creating a Family show on Saving Money for Adoption the Dave Ramsey Way.
- Savings (34 people) People often began a few years in advance adding bonus money, tax refunds, etc. into an adoption savings account. Others reported forgoing vacations and retirement saving so they could add money into their adoption fund.
- Adoption Fundraising (18 people) By far the most popular fundraiser was garage sales. (Creating a Family has many resources for those considering fundraising, including 78 Creative Fundraising Ideas, 3 Facts about Adoption Fundraising You Don’t Want to Hear, and the Adoption Fundraising Etiquette Guide)
- Gift/Donations from family or friends (14 people). Some people asked for the gifts and other reported that family and friends contributed money without being asked. Some reported asking family and friends to please contribute to their adoption fund in lieu of Christmas or birthday presents.
- Working more hours or an extra job (10 people)
- Adopting from foster care (10 people) Adoptions from foster care are virtually free and most children qualify for a monthly subsidy to help offset the cost of care.
- Adoption Grants (9 people)
- Borrowing money from family or friends (8 people)
Creating a Family Resources to Help You Afford Adoption
Creating a Family has a number of resources on Affording Adoption, including fundraising, adoption tax credit, grants and loans, and more. We also did a terrific radio show on Adopting Without Going Into Debt. It’s a “must” listen for anyone trying to figure out how to pay for an adoption. Our guests were Becky Fawcett , Executive Director of Help Us Adopt and blogger in chief at An Infertile Blonde; Julie Gumm, author of Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption; and Cherri Walrod, Director of Resources 4 Adoption.
How did you afford to adopt? What would you do different?
Image credit: Travis Seitler, Image credit: GotCredit, Image credit: mike bolognese (first published several years ago; updated 2018)
Add Your Comment
So given over 90% of adoptions occur because women find themselves in economically vulnerable situations and lack support, can I suggest that we have an additional list of those resources where that same amount of financial assistance can go toward family preservation as opposed to the pockets of baby brokers?
Adoption is only a “choice” if the mother is provided with the bare minimum needed to help validate her ability to raise her son. Allocating funds toward fees that just further the coercive circumstances these women often face certainly are not done in “the best interests of the child” at risk for placement. That is the sole standard used by adoption agencies, lawyers, and the courts and it simply cannot be exercised when society is quick to support helping raise money for fees that go towards splitting up a vulnerable family, and barely any resources are promoted in the alternative.
We did foster adoption. Cost us $200 out of pocket, but my husband is military so we got that back. No way did I want to pay 10-30K to adopt and to be in debt for years. I’d rather have that money go to a college fund than adoption fees.
We adopted our son Aiden in October 2012 at 2 days old. The adoption tax credit was a real help for us. I know this has pretty much been phased out but I think helpful to many that can’t go it alone. We are blessed with our son and any way you can think to come up with the funds, it’s worth a million times over.
Patrick, the Adoption Tax Credit has NOT been phased out. It is, however, no longer a refundable credit.
Dawn, can you explain what you mean by “no longer a refundable credit”?
Creating a Family has a lot of resources on the Adoption Tax Credit that can explain that distinction better than I can and more fully. Check them out at our Adoption Tax Credit page.
Very interesting and helpful as we begin our adoption process.
Mia, you’re so welcome. I thank all the folks who generously participated in our survey.
I went the foster to adopt route in my state. I knew I wanted to adopt, and this way allowed me to get to really know my sons first while still receiving assistance from the state.
This is a great resource!!!
thank you for posting this!
Beg, borrow and steal?? Haha! 🙁
Great piece and research Dawn.
My wife and I have not decided yet whether we will pursue adoption but have had some discussions about how to pay for it.