One of the only down sides about adoption is how expensive it can be. There are so many couples and singletons who could give a child a loving home and caring upbringing, but are barred from this dream by lack of funds. It is estimated that domestic adoption in the USA can cost anywhere between $25,000 and $45,000 dollars. The average American earns about $31,000 a year, making the possibility of adoption through their earnings alone impossible, without even considering that international adoption can cost even more!
But why does adoption cost this much? Well first of all, there are a lot of safety measures that need to be put in place to prevent the child from being placed with parent(s) who are unsuitable, and all these measures such as screening, counseling, and home studies have a cost. Legal fees and documentation can also take a financial toll, as well as agency fees. Even when an agency working with a nonprofit off-sets the amount you pay, the cost still exists and is paid through funding or donation.
Adoption is Still Possible
However, it is possible to adopt even if you don’t make over $100,000 a year! You don’t have to go into debt to achieve your dream of a family either! In fact, it is actually a rarity for prospective parents to begin the adoption process with anywhere near half of the amount required. But how is this achieved? Here are some ways you can adopt without going into debt.
Similar to college, there are plenty of grants available for couples looking to adopt. Oftentimes multiple grants can be combined, depending upon your eligibility. The paperwork for each grant tends to follow a similar format, so once you’ve completed one, completing the rest tends to be straightforward.
Your employer may have adoption benefits available. The type of benefit offered can range in perks so you’ll need to discuss what's available with the HR department. In a best-case scenario, your employer may reimburse you for up to $10,000 for each adopted child.
Many couples choose to take matters into their own hands and undertake fundraising to help cover the cost of adoption. Adoptive parent(s) can often get quite creative in how they raise funds, and can raise thousands of dollars doing so!
Picking up Extra Hours or A Side Job
Couples with more of a bridge to gap often find increasing their income through working overtime or taking on a side job to be the best way to raise the money needed. Some may choose a ‘side hustle’ such as selling items online or using their existing skills to boost earnings, such as putting repair skills to work in the local community.
Using their 401k
This option won’t be for everyone, but some find that cashing out part of their 401k can allow them to adopt when they otherwise couldn’t have afforded it.
Reducing Un-needed Expenditure
While some may go to more extreme lengths such as downsizing their home or vehicle, you’d be surprised how much of a difference cutting out unnecessary purchases can make to your finances. Simply switching some of your more expensive name brands for own brands in your groceries, or cancelling an under-used subscription can bring much needed extra income.
Sometimes, taking out a loan is the only option available. While the examples above can help reduce the amount you need to borrow, they may not cover the total cost of the adoption. This is where tax credits can be helpful. If you take an adoption loan, then the US government offers an Adoption Tax Credit which can make repaying and clearing those debts far easier.
Don’t Give Up
The most important thing to know is that no matter your income level, adoption is possible. Take the time to do some research into the options above to find the best fit for you and your family.