Welcoming a child through adoption doesn’t have to be excessively expensive. Our national foster care system allows for families to adopt virtually free of cost, and many programs offer grants and no-interest loans to adopting families. Check out Adoption Help (http://www.adoptionhelp.org/financial-aid) for a list of foundations and tax credits that may be available to you.
“There’s a lot of negative hype about adoption that’s just not accurate,” remarked one adoptive mother of five. She and her husband have adopted children without cost through the foster care system as well as adoption through a private agency with expenses totaling just $5,000 thanks to the federal tax credit.
In order to adopt through the foster system, you must first become a foster parent. Start by customizing the profile of the children you wish to care for. The local child welfare agency will then place children with you who meet your profile and are likely to become available for adoption. The child welfare system’s initial goal for each child is reunion with the biological family, however, when there is sufficient evidence that such a reunion is impossible, the state generally acts quickly to minimize the time the child spends waiting for a permanent home.
Foster parents receive a stipend for the children they take care of, and the state provides legal services for the adoption, as well as waives court fees. In essence, a foster family pays nothing to adopt a child in their care.
Adopting through a private agency
In addition to adoption through the foster system, families also have the option to work with a private agency. Look for an agency that posts its fees up front and offers a sliding scale based on your income. Fees at Adoptions Together, Inc., for example, range from $12,000 to $29,000. Those who qualify for the Adoption Tax Credit of $13,400 pay that much less. This federal tax credit (not a deduction) greatly eases the financial burden of adoption for the average family. For example, at Bethany Christian Services, many lower and middle income families end up paying between $2,000-$8,000 after tax credits and other benefits.
Many states also offer adoption tax credits, and some counties even have a small adoption incentive of a few hundred dollars. Check with your employer as well, since some offer adoption assistance benefits. Then, get help with your taxes to ensure that you take advantage of everything available to you.
Private Grant Programs
Private adoption foundations offer a limited number of financial assistance grants to qualified adoptive families. Here are just a few of them:
- Gift of Adoption Fund, giftofadoption.org. Financial assistance grants to adoptive parents. They grant financial assistance to families looking to adopt internationally as well as domestically, for infants and children. They have regional chapter locations in Arizona, the Carolinas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
- Brittany’s Hope, brittanyshope.org. Grants are connected to a specific child awaiting a home. Brittany’s Hope focuses on abandoned, international special needs children who are waiting to find a home of their own.
- Help Us Adopt, helpusadopt.org. Founded by a couple that went through the adoption process themselves, an application is needed to be considered for a grant. Grants are awarded three times a year, in February, June, and October, up to $15,000.
- Reece’s Rainbow, reecesrainbow.org. Grants are connected to a specific child awaiting a home. All of the children listed as waiting to be adopted on Reece’s Rainbow have special needs; many have down syndrome, or other developmental disabilities. They have a helpful search option that allows you to search for a child by the size of a grant, by age group, or by disability.
The Gift of Adoption
Don’t let exaggerated rumors about the cost of adoption keep you from exploring how affordable it can be to welcome a new child into your family via adoption. Do your research and sort out what financial help is available to you. The joy of adoption will prove to be worth every penny.
Article updated by Katie Freddino, with acknowledgement to Suzan Sammons, author of original article featured in the 2009/10 issue of The American Feminist, “Raising Kids on a Shoestring” published by Feminists for Life of America.
Adoption Council, www.adoptioncouncil.org
Information on adoption agencies nationwide.
Adoption Help, http://www.adoptionhelp.org/financial-aid
List of foundations, government programs, and tax credits available for qualifying adoptive families.
Adopt Us Kids, www.adoptuskids.org
A nationally coordinated listing of children in foster care awaiting adoption.
Adoption Tax Credit, www.tax-credit.adoption.com
Find out more about federal and other tax credits and subsidies.
Affording Adoption, www.affordingadoption.com
Information on adoption grant and loan programs
Connects adoptive couples, agencies, attorneys and birthmothers.
“Finding a Place for Adoption” An article about adoption benefits in the workplace for both birthmothers and adoptive parents.