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But Can we Afford Adoption?
a blog by Ellen Glazer, March 14, 2014
I recently did a homestudy for a couple who spent years doing cycles of IVF long after they had any real hope of it working. When I asked them about this, they readily acknowledged that they’d known for a long time that it wouldn't work. So why did they keep going? “It was practically free,” they said, “Our insurance paid all but our small co-payment. And we couldn't afford adoption.”
I’m not sure I quite agree with this line of reasoning but it is surely true that adoption is expensive. To cut to the chase, adopting a domestic newborn involves costs ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 with most adoptions coming in at $35,000-$45,000. These are huge sums of money, all the more so for those FertilityAuthority readers who have not had insurance footing the bill for IVF and other treatments. So how does one afford adoption?
First, it’s important to remember that adoption costs do not happen all at once. In most instances, the bulk of your adoption costs come with the placement of a baby in your home. Getting an adoption started usually costs under $5,000.
Next, there is help from the US government. Yes, the IRS is actually willing and able to GIVE you some money. The current tax credit is over $13,000 and available on the completion of an adoption (unless you have a high income in which case adoption will be affordable). And there are adoption benefits. An increasing number of US employers offer some cash benefit to employees who adopt. The benefits vary but these days, almost all are over $5,000 and many as high as $10,000.
So where are we with costs? A couple who qualify for the tax credit and who both work for employers with say an $8,000 tax credit can shave off nearly $30,000 of their adoption costs. It starts to sound more affordable, doesn't it?
Yes, paring your adoption costs down to $5,000 to $15,000 puts adoption in reach for many people but surely not for all. You may be single. You may not have an employer adoption benefit. You may not have $5000 plus to put towards an adoption. How might you move forward with adoption?
I have had clients hold fund raisers for their adoption, do yard sales, and send well thought out, sensitively written letters to families and friends asking them to forego getting them baby gifts and instead contribute some amount—however small—towards their adoption.
And there are grants and loans available for those who apply. Here is a short list of some:
Affording Adoption Foundation awards grants at various times throughout the year and based on financial need.
Founding Family Charitable Foundation awards grants to middle income parents, primarily public servants, who want to adopt but need financial help with the initial fees.
Gift of Adoption provides $1,000-7,500 grants to qualifying families adopting domestically or internationally, with the average grant totaling $3,500.
The Good Morning Adoption Fund offers $2,500 or $5,000 grant to adoptive families living in New England and working with a New England agency. Total gross annual income must be less than $70,000, with total assets under $250,000.
Grant Me A Chance offers grants for families adopting older children, sibling groups, and children with special needs.
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.
Titus Task Grants offers matching grants to Northwest Arkansas families who are within three months of traveling for an international adoption or within three months of placement for a domestic adoption.
United Healthcare Children's Foundation provides grants to cover prescribed medical services (not fully covered by insurance) for children in need.
Many things go into making the decision to adopt and I am not pretending, in any way, that cost is your only –or your chief—consideration. However, I hope this column helps to demystify some of the costs of adoption and offers you assurance that if you want to adopt, financial help is there for you.