For those considering domestic or international adoption, if you’ve done any amount of research on the subject, you’ve likely begun to understand that the cost can be steep!
Depending on whether you’re seeking a domestic or intercountry adoption journey, you will want to prepare to dig deep…real deep into your pockets because for most adoptions, costs can range from $25,000 - $50,000. In some cases, for intercountry adoption, costs can be even more depending on how many trips or long-term stays are required.
The Biggest Barrier to Adoption is the Cost
It’s no surprise to learn that the #1 barrier to adoption is the high cost! Most folks don’t even consider adoption as a viable path simply because the costs are so daunting, and they can’t see a clear path for how they’ll fund the adoption journey.
Your Adoption Finance Coach was created specifically to solve the money problem as it relates to adoption. There are many options and resources to finance an adoption but certainly the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach will not work.
Every family’s financial situation is different. In this article we will address loans and grants that are available and how a family can determine if they qualify.
Grants for Adoption: What You Need to Know
The first option most families hope for is to receive a grant for their adoption. There are many foundations such as A Gift of Adoption, A Child Waits Foundation, HelpUsAdopt and Show Hope that provide grants to families. This is just a sample of some of the more popular foundations.
Most are faith-based, however there are some organizations that do not require you identify as Christian. While foundations are deeply devoted to helping families with the expenses, most are interested in how they can bridge the funding gap of adoption.
Foundations expect the family to contribute a good portion of the costs and being able to articulate how they will pay for their journey. In other words, a family can’t just say, “We want a grant for $40,000!” That is unrealistic!
Most grants range from $1,000 - $5,000. Some may give more depending on the circumstances of the adoption. For example, some foundations will be interested in the child and the birth mom circumstances – drugs? Homeless? Keeping the child out of foster care.
Others will be more interested in the adoptive parents’ journey. For example, infertility, a failed adoption attempt, etc. But in all cases the story, your compelling reason why you are adopting, is key to receiving a grant award.
Three documents must be completed to successfully apply to any adoption foundation:
- your home study,
- your adoption budget,
- and your story.
Do not send any applications without these documents included.
Getting a Loan for an Adoption: Here’s What You Should Know
Something you CAN do before the home study is complete is to obtain a loan to fund your adoption either partially or in full. This requires a budgeting analysis of exactly how much money you will need. Be sure to consider any travel expenses or personal expenses such as time off work that might impact your budget.
For domestic adoptive families, obtaining a loan before you’re networking for a birth mom is important for you to be able to accept a situation that might be presented to you. This can be a line of credit or a home equity loan.
Always check with your home bank first for the best interest rates, but there are others such as America’s Christian Credit Union that provide an adoption line of credit. Other credit unions are jumping on this train – Vystar and Firefly Credit Union.
A home-equity loan is always an option but be aware that there are typically fees such as closing costs and the appraisal of the property.
We get lots of questions about zero-interest loans and while these can be compelling, they do require a home study and have limited funds available. Some even expect repayment right away tying up your cash flow. Be certain that if you go with a no-interest loan, you understand what you are getting. Some no-interest loans are from Lifesong for Orphans, Pathways to Little Feet and Abba Fund. A Child Waits Foundation can give a low-interest loan along with a grant.
The Process of Adoption Can Be Overwhelming: Here’s Your Roadmap
The process of adoption can be overwhelming! We say paperwork, politics, and finances! It is a highly emotional experience; many find themselves on the path of adoption after the expense and trauma of infertility or loss.
Many families arrive on the adoption path and once again find themselves dealing with so much -- Where to begin? What to do first? Where will we get the money?
Here are suggestions if you’re just getting started or possibly on the path of your adoption journey looking for guidance with your finances:
1) Start with a complete budget – Include all your own personal expenses along with what your agency or professional have given you. Consider everything, leave nothing out. You want a number and the right number to start with.
2) Visit a tax advisor - Learn how the tax credit will benefit you. Many do this last however, we recommend scheduling this important visit first, so you know how it benefits you and at what level.
3) Consider what you already have – Savings, family gifts, and the amount you can put away each month toward your adoption.
4) Craft your story – Make it unique like you. Why are you adopting? Give it your heart.
5) Develop a plan – Month-to-month just like a household budget. What is coming in? What is going out?
6) Determine what you need - Then consider how you will get it. We’ve covered loans and grants but there is also fundraising, special events and family gifts.
7) Implement your plan - Stick with it, update often and change it according to what is happening. This is your ‘business plan for adoption’. It is a living document that helps you achieve your goal of bringing your family together forever.
All the Work Will Be Worth It
So, you’ve decided to build your family through adoption, Congratulations! This article is written with you in mind. It may seem like the biggest task you have ever taken on, but the rewards far out-weigh the costs!
For those that feel like it takes forever, and the path is circuitous, just hold on to that dream. When you are united with your child, holding them in your arms for the first time, it’s that moment when all the work and fortitude it took to get there fades away and you are together forever!