Once you’ve decided which type of adoption to pursue, you can begin to dig deeper into the costs involved.
The total cost of adoption varies depending on the type of adoption, the agency you use, the state in which you live, attorney fees (if applicable), and whether travel is required. It is very important to obtain fee information in writing before beginning the process. You should always request a detailed written explanation of the fees, including what the fees cover and whether extra fees may be added on later.
Covering the costs
If you adopt a child from foster care, he or she may be eligible for adoption assistance. Federal or state adoption subsidies are available to help cover the short- and long-term costs of adopted children in need of special services.
Benefits vary from state to state, but all states typically provide:
- Monthly cash payments
- Medical assistance
- Social services
- One-time-only reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses
Before getting too far into the process, ask your social worker whether these subsidies are available from your state. You will not be able to negotiate subsidies once your adoption is finalized, so it is best to investigate your options early, even if you don’t currently need assistance. For more information about adoption subsidies, contact the Adoption Subsidy Resource Center provided by the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) at 800-470-6665, or email email@example.com.
LOANS AND GRANTS
Many sources offer adoption loans or assistance to individuals. Some sources to contact include:
Gift of Adoption
Brittany’s Hope Foundation
39% of Americans think foster care adoption is expensive.1
The truth is that foster care adoption is not expensive, and there is financial support available for parents who choose this path.
Many employers offer employee adoption benefits, such as financial reimbursement, paid leave, or other time off for their employees who adopt. The average adoption-friendly employer offers an average of $7,000 in financial assistance and four weeks of paid leave per adoption.2
The Adoption Friendly Workplace, one of the Foundation’s signature programs, provides free resources to educate employers on how to add adoption benefits. We offer free tools for employers and compile an annual list of companies already offering adoption benefits to employees. Call 877-777-4222 or visit adoptionfriendlyworkplace.org.
TAX CREDITS AND EXCLUSIONS
The adoption tax credit is a non-refundable, permanent tax benefit for eligible families who adopt through foster care, internationally, and privately. In 2013, the maximum federal tax credit for qualifying adoption expenses was $12,970. It may be carried forward for five additional years, applying to each year’s liability until the full credit amount is used or time expires.
Because of potential changes in this credit, it is important to speak with your tax advisor and/or call 800-829-3676 to request the IRS publication called “Instructions for Form 8839,” or visit irs.gov. To learn more about the adoption tax credit, visit adoptiontaxcredit.org.
For active-duty personnel, the military offers up to $2,000 per child to pay qualifying adoption costs after the adoption is finalized. The maximum is $5,000 per year, and reimbursements aren’t combinable, even if both parents are in the military. Visit nmfa.org for more information.
A child with disabilities may be eligible for benefits through the military’s Extended Care Health Option, and the Exceptional Family Member Program works to ensure that parents of children with special needs are assigned for duty in areas where the child’s needs can be met.
Learn more about military reimbursements:
Child Welfare Information Gateway: A service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 800-394-3366 or childwelfare.gov/pubs/f_milita.cfm
National Military Family Assistance Association: 800-260-0218 or nmfa.org
COMMON RANGE FOR ADOPTION COSTS:3
Foster care adoption through a public agency: $0–$2,500
Private agency adoption: $5,000–$40,000+
Independent adoption with an attorney: $8,000–$40,000+
International adoption: $7,000–$30,000+
2 Source: Adoption Benefits Survey conducted by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
3 Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/s_cost/s_costs.pdf.