Can We Afford to Adopt?

10 Days of Adoption at See Jamie Blog

I’ve heard it said that if we had to wait until we could afford to have children, we would never have them. A quick internet search will show you that the cost of raising a child has risen 40% in the last decade, and if you want to give yourself a bit of a scare, you can even use an online calculator to figure these costs. Most of us don’t go by that, though; instead, we jump into parenthood based on love, not money, and we figure out how to pay for it all when we get there.

With adoption, though, that tends not to be the case. Adoption can be quite expensive, and can even range upwards of $40,000. That’s not pocket change we’re talking about. So if we have the heart for adoption, but not the bank account for it, what do we do?

In our case, we opted to adopt from foster care. The costs to adopt from foster are are substantially less than domestic or international adoptions, and when a child is considered “special needs,” (more on that in a minute), the state often pays or reimburses ALL FEES. Because Lindsey was 14, a less-adoptable age statistically, she was considered special needs even though she has no mental or physical special needs. The laws differ from state to state in regards to what is deemed “special needs.” Here in Georgia, the laws have changed since we adopted Lindsey, and this designation is no longer based on age; instead, a special needs child in Georgia is now any child who has been in the system for at least two years (regardless of age) or is part of a sibling group  — or, of course, any child who has actual physical or mental special needs.

Even in non-special needs situations foster adoption fees are relatively low. Average costs range around $5,000 for a U.S. foster adoption. This is a far smaller fee than most other types of adoption. In some cases, families also continue to receive small monthly subsidies until the child turns 18, especially if the child has any ongoing medical needs.

A few good options to look into for funding adoptions of any kind:

sack of moneyState tax credits: At least a dozen states offer a tax credit of $1,000 or more. Check with your accountant or tax expert.

Federal Tax Credit: Currently (last time I checked), there is a $12,500 federal tax credit. If yours is a special needs adoption, then the entire credit applies regardless of the family’s actual expenses; if not special needs, only up to the actual amount of liability and expenses. Again, check with your tax expert — and be sure keep all adoption-related paperwork and receipts!!

You can apply for adoption aid or grants from great organizations like ShowHope (Shaohanna’s Hope), Lifesong for Orphans, and Gift of Adoption Fund. There are many other organizations like this out there, so check with adoptive families you may know to find others they may have used or heard about.

Surprisingly, some employers offer adoption benefits, from paid parental leave to cash reimbursements. It’s worth asking about!

Many churches, especially large ones, have funds set aside to help families with adoption, whether through a short-term loan, or matching grants. Check with them, too! If they don’t have a fund like this, they may know of larger churches in the area that do.


  • Host a car wash, yard sale, or other fund-raising event.
  • Send out support letters, like you might do with a mission trip.
  • Online networking with a PayPal account to donate to. (You don’t even need a blog for this! Use the power of facebook, twitter, etc!)
  • Sell t-shirts, like the ones from Simply Love!

This by no means an exhaustive list of things you could do to finance adoption. Please remember, if cost is the only thing holding you back from adoption, there are ways to fund it!

New to this series? Here’s what you missed:
1) 10 Days of Adoption: Introduction
2) Why is Adoption So Important?
3) If We Want to Adopt, Where Do We Begin?
4) Common Types of Adoption
5) Greatest Misconceptions About Adoption


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