Did You Go Into Debt to Adopt?

Dawn Davenport




How in the world can an average family afford domestic infant or international adoption? The average cost of a domestic infant adoption in the US is $30-35,000 and the average for an international adoption in the US is $42-44,000. These costs are in range with the cost of pregnancy and birth (with vaginal birth about $30,000 and C-section about $50,000), but the difference is that medical insurance usually covers most of the cost for pregnancy and adoptive parents cover most of the cost for adoption. Ouch!

Not many adoptive families have $30-40,000 sitting unmarked in a savings account just waiting to be used. Families wanting to adopt privately from the US or abroad should definitely listen to this week’s Creating a Family show where we talked about adoption loans, interest free adoption loans, adoption grants, and adoption fundraising.




Cobbling Together the Money

I wish I could tell you that the Creating a Family show on Paying for Adoption offers a magic bullet that will solve all your adoption financing problems. Alas, I can’t. Most people use many sources to fund their adoption–savings, budgeting, borrowing from family, loans, grants, and fundraising. We talk about adoption loans, interest free adoption loans, adoption grants, and fundraising for adoption in this show. We have an upcoming show in August with the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University to talk about Saving Money for Adoption and Infertility the Dave Ramsey Way.

People seem to be very divided on the appropriateness of fundraising for adoption. Our guests on the Paying for Adoption Creating a Family show gave specific suggestions and also specific cautions about over-sharing personal information on your child. I also highly recommend this popular blog I wrote: Adoption Fundraising Etiquette- How Not to Be a Pest.

Adoption Tax Credit

Don’t forget that you may be eligible for the Adoption Tax Credit to help pay for adoption. It is no longer a refundable credit, but is still useful in lowering the cost of adoption. We have tons of resources on this topic, including an FAQ page and an annual Creating a Family show.

Be Wary of Debt

It is tempting to become so focused on adoption, that it is tempting to slip into the mindset of adoption at any cost. Yes, children are a great investment; yes, we spend money on lots of less important things such as new cars and houses; BUT you still need to be careful about the amount of debt you are taking on. New parenting is stressful enough without adding the additional stress of debt.

How did you pay for your adoption?

P.S. To get more information on the upcoming show on Saving Money for Adoption and Infertility the Dave Ramsey Way and to send in questions for me to ask on air, sign up for our twice weekly newsletter at the top of this page.

05/06/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 13 Comments

13 Responses to Did You Go Into Debt to Adopt?

  1. Avatar Danya says:

    We had to use our savings, put some on credit cards, ask family for loans, AND we applied for 12 different adoption grants. Of this grants we heard back from 6 but we’re rejected by all except for Gift of Adoption; who awarded us $5,000 towards our adoption expenses. Talk about a huge blessing!

  2. Avatar marilynn says:

    Dawn and Greg
    I am not talking about foster care necessarily. In fact it did not even cross my mind in the way your stating it. The burden of support falls to the state when a child’s parents and relatives don’t take care of them. A private adoption is still the adoption of a child whose care would otherwise be the responsibility of the state. That’s why the state is so hot to find “permanent homes” for minors separated from their families. The alternative to a private adoption is still 18 years of publicly funded foster care so there is no reason to treat a private adoption any differently in terms of cost to the adopting party. They are not buying a baby in the private scenario.

    Explain the difference to me. I mean so kid’s in foster care ready for adoption are just arriving at separation from their parents later than the kid in the private adoption. If nobody were lined up to adopt the kid, like say the kid has special needs, the kid would wind up in foster care right? The kid’s parents would have still relinquished their responsibilities

  3. Avatar Greg says:

    “Why is it that the public’s tax money is not used to underwrite the court costs associated with finding people to raise abandoned kids?”


    I don’t believe public funds should be used to market for Foster Parent(s). Adults are making the decision to adopt. It shouldn’t be something that’s forced on adults who do not wish to do so.

  4. Avatar Anna says:


    I do not know if this is a possible avenue for you, but I know of a couple who had a child through embryo donation. All medical tests, procedures, and medicine totalled $6,000.

    You may want to inquire at local clinics, if pregnancy is an option.

  5. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I am very disappointed in this country’s laws. There will always be children whose parents and bio relatives cannot or will not or should not be raising them. There will always be people willing to raise those kids at their own expense for the sheer joy of raising a child to adulthood. This is a great thing for the government who would otherwise have to pick up the tab for foster homes or orphanages. Why does it cost people money to take on the responsibility of raising a child? Where is the justification in them having to pay a damn dime? I mean as a tax payer I don’t mind footing the bill for investigating the back grounds of people who would like to raise kids who are already separated from their families. I’m down to protect those kids from being trafficked, I’m down to pay the judge to preside over an adoption case same as over some random criminal case. I don’t understand what we are making these good people pay for exactly. If some guy robs me and they arrest him my own taxes pay for the public defender he’ll need if he can’t afford an attorney. I’m not whining about having to pay for that with my tax money. Not whining about paying for new roads or schools or fire trucks either. Why is it that the public’s tax money is not used to underwrite the court costs associated with finding people to raise abandoned kids? It would look a whole lot more ethical if nobody was paying fees associated with obtaining a child to raise, you know? What can be done about changing the law so it’s free to take on the massive financial responsibility of raising someone else’s kid? Isn’t that alone enough? Nobody should be making a living ‘connecting’ people with adoptable children. That’s sick by the way.

  6. Avatar Average Joe says:

    I had a friend make a post on your facebook page.

  7. Avatar Average Joe says:

    Thanks for the links.

    I reviewed them very carefully.

    I don’t see how the adoption tax credit will help us since we don’t have any tax liability and the tax credit isn’t full refundable.

    We don’t own a house, so home equality loans are not an option. Additionally, with the amount of debt from our failed infertility treatments, I don’t think it is a good idea to take on more debt for a slim chance at adopting an infant.

    Also, after talking with the US State Department, infant adoption is not possible after the introduction of the Hague treaty.

    We are also not in a position to handle medically fragile children or other special needs infants.

    Private agencies seem to cap childless couples ages to 42. Some will allow 45, but again we are not willing to take on the risk, especially after talking to our social worker. Her advise is “as an experienced Adoption Social Worker I have noticed that Prospective Adoptive Families are mainly chosen by the birth-parents and the birth-parents tend to choose younger adoptive families closer to their age, leaving “older” families sitting on the waiting list with false hope. It really would be unfair for most adoption agencies to accept your application and fees and then place you on a waiting list knowing the previous information.”

    There are also several couples like us unsuccessful at IF treatments and unsuccessful at adoption after spending a great deal on adoption agencies/consultants/facilitators with no success. They too are looking for viable options for building their families. Again, any suggestions would be welcome.

  8. Avatar Average Joe says:

    I listened to you podcast and reviewed several of the resources on your website. You made a very convincing augment that average middle class couples will not be able to afford adoption.

    Since we have no medical options left to us and adoption is beyond our financial means and foster to adopt is not an option where we live. Are there any options left for childless couples?

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