Preparing for a new child is an exciting—and daunting—prospect. This can be doubly true when you are planning on growing your family through adoption. Adoptions costs can be remarkably high, but planning ahead can help minimize the stress during this life-changing process.
The Cost to Adopt
According to the most recent data from Adoptive Families , domestic adoptions typically cost $20,000 to $40,000. And the average international adoption costs $35,000.
For those who choose to adopt through the foster care system , the adoption costs may only add up to a few thousand dollars, but families still must plan for all the regular expenses of adding a child to the family, from buying bottles to preparing a new bedroom.
If you are adopting internationally or through a private adoption , the costs can add up quickly, and frequently include expensive international travel and several different types of fees.
Here are some of the common types of costs that arise during the adoption process:
• Home study
• Document preparation and authentication
• Adoption agency application
• Adoption consultant fees
• Attorney fees
• Birth mother expenses
Each of these expenses can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. These large out-of-pocket expenses can seem intimidating to potential adoptive families, causing them to worry that adoption is not financially feasible. There are, however, many ways to finance adoptions, ranging from taking advantage of grants and governmental programs to taking out a personal loan.
Using Grants to Pay for Adoption Costs
Because adoption can be so expensive, many nonprofit organizations offer grants to adoptive families. These grants can range from a few hundred dollars to the full cost of adoption.
Sometimes grants are offered to particular types of families, but most grants’ eligibility requirements are fairly straightforward and are applicable to most families currently in the adoption process.
A downside of adoption grants is that they are not guaranteed and they usually require extra application paperwork and possibly an interview. In general, however, adoption grants are one good option to consider when planning for adoption.
Using Employee Benefits and Tax Write-Offs to Offset Adoption Costs
One often-overlooked potential source of financial assistance for adoptions is your employer. Employer adoption benefits are a growing trend in large companies where there is a focus on employee retention and work-life balance. Employee benefits can range from things like discounted referrals to adoption agencies to outright cash grants.
Some employers will reimburse a certain percentage of overall adoption costs, while others may choose to directly pay adoption agencies for certain services. Each employer is different, but it may be worth contacting your company’s HR department and asking about any potential adoption benefits your company provides.
Another way to potentially offset adoption costs comes from a generous tax credit. The Adoption Tax Credit allows eligible adopting families to potentially receive a tax credit for qualifying expenses paid in the adoption process.
The credit, which was $13,840 in 2018, can help offset adoption fees like attorney costs, travel expenses, and agency dues. Talk to a certified tax professional to learn more. While adoption tax credits may help ease the financial burden, they do not help much with the upfront costs of adopting.
Using a Personal Loan to Pay for Adoption Costs
If you find that grants or other forms of financial assistance aren’t able to meet your adoption needs, you may consider taking out a adoption loan to help cover the upfront costs. Personal loans, which are often overlooked when it comes to planning for adoption, may offer a better interest rate and more favorable payoff terms than credit cards do.
A personal adoption loan is typically an unsecured installment loan. Unlike with a credit card, you can choose to borrow a set amount with a fixed interest rate and term, allowing you to pay it back in equal monthly installments over a set period of time. This means that you may be able to borrow enough to cover the full cost of the adoption upfront and then pay it off over a few years while avoiding high-interest credit cards.
Another potential benefit of using a personal loan to cover adoption costs is the short application process. The process is generally fairly straightforward and some lenders can disburse loan funds within days. This means that you can focus on what really matters: growing your family.
Starting the adoption process and looking for more money to help grow your family? SoFi’s personal loans offer no fees and low rates to qualified applicants.
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This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.