7 Ways To Adopt Without Going Into Debt

“I would adopt if it weren't so expensive.”

Natalie Brenner January 22, 2017

“I would adopt if it weren’t so expensive.”

The amount of times I’ve heard this statement is uncountable. I get it: the high fees surrounding domestic infant and international adoption are overwhelming. There is a lot of talk about ethics in the adoption world.

Adoption is expensive. The average domestic infant adoption in the United States is $25,000-$45,000. International adoptions cost more because you throw in traveling internationally. It’s staggering.

The reality is, adoption is expensive because of many reasons; it is a costly event where valuable and precious lives are being dealt with. Agencies that are able to offer adoption for less than the normal fee-amount are often nonprofits receiving their funding from donors – the cost is actually the same, it is simply paid by someone other than the adoptive parents.

Agency fees include marketing (making themselves known to expectant mamas who are pursuing their options as well as adoptive families), required reports (home studies, pre and post placement visits), administration fees, and paying employees. And of course, expectant parent and birth parent care in the way of counseling both before and after the birth; there are so many aspects to this. Don’t forget medical expenses, legal fees, and more.

Before I lose you, let’s talk about adopting without debt. How can this be a reality for anyone that makes less than $100k a year? It can be! Many middle-class, average families adopt without debt. It is extremely rare for families to begin the adoption process with even half of the necessary funds.

Adoption is worth the cost. Let’s explore various ways to adopt without debt.

1. Grants

There are a plethora of grants available for adoptions. When applying for adoption grants, I think about it like I did in high school and I was applying for college grants: once you have one grant completed, you can usually pull info for the others. Most grants are similar in what they are asking you to write about or answer, so once you’ve applied for one, applying for many more is not too much more work.

Employer Benefits
2. Employer Benefits

Many employers offer benefits for adoptive families. Some offer to reimburse up to $10,000 PER CHILD. All employers offer different benefits, so call your HR and see what options are available. If they do not have anything available, fret not! You can be the catalyst for this:

If you are an employer or employee looking to add benefits to your company, visit this website for more info. You can request the free workplace packet and have it mailed to you; it includes a booklet and CD with information to present to your workplace about how adoption assistance programs benefit the company and how to set up a simple plan.

Creative Fundraising
3. Creative Fundraising

I have seen some CREATIVE fundraising! It is pretty fun to watch and participate. Online adoption auctions have been a hit for many families; I know some families who have raised upward of $4,000 from one adoption auction on Instagram. There are other fundraising ideas like t-shirt sales, making/selling products (we made and sold Christmas wreaths one year), community garage sales, bake sales, bowling night, and more. I highly recommend the book Adopt Without Debt by Julie Gumm for the various fundraising ideas they list.

Picking Up Extra/Side Jobs
4. Picking Up Extra/Side Jobs

I own a photography business and when we were in the thick of fundraising for our adoption, I pushed all of my profit made through photography to our adoption fund. I also used all of my freelance writing for adoption expenses. Many people pick up an extra side job and use all of their income to grow their adoption fund.

Using Your 401K
5. Using Your 401K

I know so many families who cash out their 401K to use for adoption expenses. Some may cringe at this idea, but others realize the investment for their child’s life is entirely worth it.

Downsizing Your Car/House
6. Downsizing Your Car/House

Many people downsize their car and even their house! Some sell a vehicle altogether and become a one car family, using the once-insurance and once-car-payment money to add to their adoption fund.

Tax Credits
7. Tax Credits

I recognize that this is a post about adopting without debt, BUT if you do end up taking out an interest-free or low-interest adoption loan, there is the US Adoption Tax Credit that many people use to pay off their loan the very next year! Be sure to hire a tax consultant so you receive the full amount available to you.

I also highly recommend the book, "Adopt Without Debt" by Julie Gumm

Domestic Infant Adoption
9. Domestic Infant Adoption

Are you ready to pursue a domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with a compassionate, experienced adoption professional who can help get you started on the journey of a lifetime.

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Natalie Brenner

Natalie Brenner is wife to Loren and mom to two under two, living in Portland, Oregon. She is the best-selling author of This Undeserved Life. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. She's addicted to honesty and believes grief is the avenue to wholeness. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a lover of fall. Connect with her at NatalieBrennerWrites.com and join her email community.

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