If you’ve dreamed of starting or adding to your family by adopting a child, you might feel a bit discouraged after learning how much the process can cost. Newborn adoptions in the U.S. cost an average of $40,000, while international adoptions cost an average of $44,000, according to the 2016-2017 survey by Adoptive Families.
That’s a staggering amount, especially if you have other expenses such as student loan payments and daily living costs.
Here’s how to make paying for adoption more affordable and turn your dream into a reality.
1. Research your employer adoption benefits
Some employers provide adoptions services as part of their benefits packages. These services can include providing information on how to adopt, offering parental leave, and giving financial assistance to make paying for adoption easier. That financial help is key if you’re trying to avoid adding money problems to what can be an already stressful situation.
The amount and type of aid vary by company. You could get a lump sum of $1,000 to $15,000 to help with the process, have fees (i.e., agency, court, and legal) covered, or get some costs reimbursed. Reimbursement programs can cover about 80% of particular adoption-related expenses up to a preset limit, according to American Adoptions, and more if you have a special-needs child.
To find out if your employer has a program, contact your human resources and review your benefits policy. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption releases an annual list of the top 100 adoption-friendly workplaces, so you could check if your company made the list.
If you’re a member of the military, you might qualify for a reimbursement program that offers up to $2,000 per child (maximum of $5,000 per year) for qualified expenses. That’s in addition to parental leave and medical care for the new member of your family.
2. Find an agency with flexible policies
Using an adoption agency has benefits. Not only does it do the legwork of finding a child, but it can help with counseling services, social work needs, and post-placement services. This transitional help can be pricey, though, with overall costs ranging from $20,000 to $45,000.
While that sum often includes costs such as legal expenses, court fee, and a home study, it’s a huge chunk of money that you might not be able to afford. But some agencies have an adjustable fee policy based on your income.
Other agencies might charge you in installments, so you don’t have to pay a lump sum upfront. This will give you time to save the funds or budget accordingly while starting the adoption process. Ask your agency what payment plans are available and see if you can pick one that suits your needs.
3. Use a grant program
There are grants available from a variety of organizations to help reduce the costs of adoption. Amounts can range from $500 to $10,000. The grants have different eligibility criteria such as marital status, religion, and income level.
Research to see what’s available through your local organizations as well as national ones. Here are some groups that provide grants to adoptive families in need. Even if it’s a few hundred dollars here and there, it can add up. One family raised over $47,000 through a combination of grants.
4. Take out loans
Even if you’re able to use some savings and get a few grants, the total might not be enough to cover the total cost of adoption. That’s when you could consider taking out a personal loan.
Interest rates typically are based on your financial profile and credit history, so you might secure a low rate if you’re in good financial standing. That could help you borrow a lump sum to cover the various adoption costs and pay back a manageable monthly amount over several years.
Let’s say you took out a $20,000 personal loan at a 5.50% interest rate for a term of three years. You’d have to pay around $600 a month rather than come up with the $20,000 upfront. Use our personal loan calculator to figure out what your monthly cost would be, based on your needs.
Also, some organizations offer adoption-specific low- or no-interest loans that could help in paying for adoption:
- ABBA Fund
- A Child Waits Foundation
- International Association of Jewish Free Loans
- Oxford Adoption Foundation
5. Raise funds
If you don’t mind being open about your adoption plans, then you could consider fundraising publicly to cover your costs. This can be done by hosting local bake sales or using websites such as GoFundMe to request money to help pay for an adoption.
You’ll have to reveal details about your personal life, but this route could help reduce costs significantly.
One couple raised over $5,000 in under two days to make their adoption journey easier, and another family surpassed its $10,000 goal by bringing in over $40,000 in donations to adopt two boys.
Paying for adoption is possible
The cost of the adoption process can be daunting. You might want to help a child in need and make your family feel complete, but going into debt to adopt a child isn’t ideal.
However, there are many ways to help reduce the high costs so that you can focus on the joy of expanding your family. Some research and legwork will prevent a financial headache in what can be a stressful journey.
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