In coming to the decision to adopt and pursuing adoption, consideration of the costs involved often stymies many prospective adoptive parents. Many would like to consider adoption, but are hesitant because they unrealistically believe the process is too expensive. Fortunately there is a tremendous amount of valuable information and resources available not only about the costs, expenses, and fees of adoption but also how to manage them in domestic and international adoption. Many people with modest incomes adopt every year. Decisions about placing children for adoption generally are more concerned about the financial stability of the family and how well they manage the financial resources they do have than about their actual income.
Adoption professionals advise that the idea of using of only one source of funding is unlikely. It is more realistic to take a creative combination of methods to start or expand a family through adoption. There are few organizations focused on helping make it financially possible to adopt, however, many determined singles and couples have found ways to raise most of the money on their own including but not limited to a subsidy, grant, loan(s), tax credits, and employer benefits. Prepared with a well thought-out plan and realistic budget that includes most of the foreseeable expenses, the vast majority of people can indeed afford to adopt and make their dream of family a reality.
There is a range of financial aid resources and ideas to help families afford adoption fees:
• Basing adoption fees on a family's ability to pay, some agencies provide a sliding scale based on the family's income.
• Private grants and adoption loans may be available to families through the National Adoption Foundation in Danbury , Connecticut (203-791-3811)
• An increasing number of banks are also offering loans to families to cover adoption fees.
• Look into cash advances from credit cards, second mortgages, home equity loans, and special adoption loans.
• Consider borrowing from your life insurance policy, 401(k), or pension plan. Many loving family and friends lend or gladly donate when asked.
• More employers are offering adoption benefits for employees, and the dollar amounts of these benefits are growing, with the average expense reimbursement now approaching $4,000. (For the names of companies that provide adoption benefits, call the National Adoption Center at 800-TO-ADOPT.)
• Generous tax credits are available for families who adopt either domestically or internationally. Currently, the Adoption Tax credit is up to $10,630 for each child, or a flat $10,630 for U.S. "special needs adoption. A tax credit is more valuable than a tax deduction because allowable adoption expenses are subtracted dollar for dollar against the tax liability. (The tax credit is progressively phased out for high-income families.)
• Fundraising endeavors; Dedicated and determined singles and couples have enlisted the assistance of their churches and synagogues and sold everything from candy bars to magazine subscriptions.
Fortunately, all of the expenses involved in adoption aren't due at the start of the process. Depending on the income level of the adopting family, a significant portion if not all of the costs of adoption can be recouped after the fact. Early on, there are fees required up front for applications, dossier preparation, and a home study. Later, more substantial expenses are incurred, when domestic adopters may need to pay for medical and legal expenses and travel costs, and international adopters make travel plans and pay fees in their child's country of origin. Any requirement for all fees to be paid in lump sum immediately following application should raise red flags .
When considering adoption, it is clearly important to not allow emotions and desire blind the prospective parents to the very real costs that will be faced. However, at the same time, if adoption is genuinely desired, misconceptions and apprehension should not deter the prospective adoptive family. Where there is a strong will, there will always be a way and no stone should be left unturned.
Resources: The RainbowKids.com Adoption Guide offers many creative ideas for financing an adoption
The webiste Affording Adoption is also an excellent source of information
Martha Osborne, Adoptee and Adoptive mom of five, is the editor of RainbowKids.com Adoption Magazine.
This article may be used without prior permission, as long as author is cited and publisher (RainbowKids.com) is linked from article.