Adoption is a significant financial undertaking for most families. Fees vary depending on the range and type of adoption services provided, the program selected, and the related expenses, including travel. Our fee schedules provide detailed breakdowns on pre-placement, child-placement, and post-placement fees by country, and are listed in our Adoption Services and Programs Guide. If you are comparing fees among different agencies, it is critical to understand exactly which services are included for each stated fee.
There are many opportunities for you to make your child’s adoption more affordable, including tax credits and deductions, WHFC subsidies, general adoption grants, loans, and other funding resources. Here are some places to begin.
Federal Adoption Tax Credit – Tax benefits for adoption include both a tax credit for qualified adoption expenses paid to adopt an eligible child and an exclusion from income for employer-provided adoption assistance. The credit is nonrefundable, which means it is limited to your tax liability for the year. However, any credit in excess of your tax liability may be carried forward for up to five years. The maximum amount (dollar limit) for 2016 is $13,460 per child.
You can claim the credit on your federal tax return for the year in which your child’s adoption becomes final by using Form 8839. This is an important financial benefit because it is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liability. Income limits apply. For more information, consult with your tax preparer or see:
- IRS Tax Topic 607
- Top Ten Adoption Tax Credit Facts to Consider
- Adoption Tax Credit Working Group’s infographic
In addition to the adoption tax credit, you may be able to exclude certain amounts your employer paid for qualifying adoption expenses from your gross income for federal tax purposes.
Individual State Deductions
Check with your tax preparer for deductions you may be eligible for within your state of residence. For example, Massachusetts residents can claim an exemption for the full amount of fees paid to adoption agencies. Contact your state’s Department of Revenue or Taxation or your State Adoption Specialist for more information. State Adoption Specialists can be found at The Child Welfare Information Gateway.
You may be able to claim newly discovered tax benefits retroactively for up to 3 years. File Form 1040X to correct an error in a prior year’s federal return to collect a refund if one is due.
Advocating for Adoption Benefits
Find out if your employer offers adoption benefits by contacting your Human Resources Department. You may also check with the National Adoption Center at 800-TO-ADOPT (800-862-3678), or visit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
If your company does not offer adoption benefits, you might consider proposing them. The Adoption and Workplace Initiative, sponsored by the National Adoption Center and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, has developed materials to help you advocate for adoption benefits in the workplace.
The US Military will reimburse active-duty personnel for most one-time adoption costs up to $2,000 per child or up to $5,000 per year for qualifying expenses for adoptions arranged by a qualified adoption agency.
Adoption Grants and Loans
The following providers of adoption grants and loans are independent of Children of thee World.
Please be advised that the information listed can change without notice.
You may discover additional resources by conducting your own Internet search.
A Child Waits provides grants of up to $5,000 and low-interest loans of up to $10,000 to families adopting internationally who have exhausted all other financial options and cannot proceed with their adoption without help.
Affording Adoption Foundation awards grants at various times throughout the year and based on financial need.
Both Hands awards grants to help reduce the financial barrier to adoption for families.
Gift of Adoption provides $1,000-7,500 grants to qualifying families adopting domestically or internationally, with the average grant totaling $3,500.
Grant Me A Chance offers grants for families adopting older children, sibling groups, and children with special needs.
Help Us Adopt offers families demonstrating significant financial need grants of up to $15,000 towards domestic, international, foster or special needs adoptions.
His Kids Too! offers grants to qualifying families who are adopting internationally based on donations the charity receives on behalf of the family from other family members and friends.
International Adoption Resources offers $500-1,500 grants that can be used toward the cost of an international adoption. There are no income requirements, but financial need or financial hardship for either the adoptive family or child is considered.
The National Adoption Foundation offers $500-2,500 grants to adoptive families based on the availability of funds. There is no income requirement.
The Noah Z. M. Goetz Foundation provides $1,000 grants to qualifying families completing a domestic adoption.
The North American Council on Adoptable Children lists eligibility and benefit information for state adoption subsidy programs.
Oxford Adoption Foundation, Inc. offers low-interest loans of up to $5,000 to adoptive families.
Parenthood for Me offers grants to adoptive families pursuing domestic or international adoptions who can demonstrate significant financial need.
Pathways for Little Feet provides interest-free loans to qualifying families based primarily on (but not limited to) financial need.
Resources 4 Adoption provides the very latest in Adoption Financing Education, Information, and Resources.
The Sparrow Fund provides grants to cover the cost of medical reviews from qualifying US providers for families adopting internationally.
United Healthcare Children's Foundation provides grants to cover prescribed medical services (not fully covered by insurance) for children in need.
The ABBA Fund provides married Christian couples interest-free loans to cover adoption expenses.
America’s Christian Credit Union offers low interest rate adoption loans awarded to Christian families.
God's Grace Adoption Ministry provides matching grants in the $2,500 range, or assistance with fundraising, for Christian families with annual household incomes of $60,000 or less.
Golden Dawn Adoption Assistance provides grants of up to $2,000 to Christian families adopting children with special needs and other hard-to-place children.
Hebrew Free Loan Association provides interest-free loans of up to $10,000 for adoption expenses to Jewish residents of Northern California.
IBSEN Adoption Network is a Christian organization offering grants to Washington State families adopting waiting children, difficult to place and/or children with special needs.
Katelyn’s Fund Orphan Ministry offers married Christian couples a $3,000 grant toward international or domestic adoption costs.
The Kyle Reagan Foundation offers grants for married Christian couples from Indiana or Tennessee who are adopting internationally.
Lifesong for Orphans offers interest-free loans of up to $12,000 to Christian families based on financial need and available funds.
The Lydia Fund offers married Christian couples a grant toward international adoption costs.
The Micah Fund provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to prospective Christian adoptive parents seeking to adopt minority children.
Sea of Faces Foundation provides $1,000-3,000 grants to Christian families adopting from a developing country.
Shaohannah's Hope (also known as “Show Hope”) provides grants to qualifying Christian families for international, domestic and foster child adoptions.
Topeka Community Foundation Building Families Fund offers grants to Christian families from Kansas, or those with ties to Kansas, for up to half of all verified international or domestic adoption costs.
We suggest you contact the airlines to inquire about a reduced rate or waiver of fees for adoption-related travel. You may also want to consider asking family members or friends for a donation of frequent flyer mileage or credit-card points that are redeemable for travel
- Research home-equity loans or refinancing your home.
- Borrow from a 401(k) or retirement account. Consult your tax advisor or financial planner regarding this loan option and how it will affect your future retirement finances.
- Borrow from a life insurance policy. Cash-value life insurance policies often allow you to borrow against the policy. Consult your insurance agent as to whether this option is available to you.
- Consider accepting a loan from family or friends. This can be done as formally or informally as you prefer.
- COTW can accept financial gifts from family or friends on your behalf; however, because the gift is for your child’s adoption, not COTW, it would NOT qualify as a tax-deductible donation.
Adoption Financing Information taken from Wide Horizons For Children