Affording Adoption

Folks are always going on about how expensive it is to have kids these days. They’re right. Affording adoption is no exception.

No getting away from money

When treading around the fringes of adoption, there may be a strong tendency to think in soft, cuddly terms. However, there’s one barrage of cold calculations you must deal with: The Money.

State to state, laws clearly define what is and what is not to be paid. Whether your adoption is completed through an agency or done privately through an attorney, someone involved must thoroughly and completely understand everything that has anything to do with the process in your area. Any other state involved (if you’re adopting across state lines) will need to be equally up to speed on the process. People with this skill and knowledge charge for their services, and often they charge a great deal.

Does it matter?

As in, “Does it matter how much money you have?”

Well, no.

And yes.

You don’t have to be incredibly well off to adopt a child, but as in most aspects of American life, it sure doesn’t hurt. Being in a position to invest more money in your adoption might speed up the process, bump you to the head of the queue, or make you more attractive to expectant parents.

This is not to say that folks on budgets won’t be matched quickly or chosen before others with more disposable income. So, even though you may be hoping you win the lottery, there’s no reason to wait until your sky rains money to add to your family.

If you can provide for a child adequately—with food, shelter, clothing, education, health-related services, love, and time—then you have enough worldly goods to adopt a child.

Notice the keyword is adequate. No one is requiring “lavish” or “extravagant”. So you shouldn’t worry about space camp, Oxford, or having to upgrade your home computer every six months to keep Junior on the cutting edge. While it may be trendy to dress tykes in $200 togs, it is most certainly not required.

Coming up with the cash

With U.S. Domestic Infant adoption costs running between affordable and less so, many families hoping to grow this way do some deep and creative thinking about how to muster the finances to match their need.

Loans and second mortgages are one way to turn assets into a usable form, and if there’s a high limit on a credit card, that can work, too.

Taking on more work, contract jobs, or part-time positions may add enough to the account to fund an adoption—or perhaps simply cutting back on luxuries or holiday spending can do the trick.

Turning to friends and family is a tactic that works for some families. Aside from bringing in the needed resources, this can also involve a wider loving circle in your process. You can walk your adoption journey with a large audience following each step and shouting encouragement from the sidelines.

You can even set up a special baby fund and have your loved ones contribute. Some organizations will set up an account for you that lets others make tax-deductible donations.

Special projects, artwork, books, and crafts can be sold to raise money for adoptions. One woman made beautiful baby-sized quilts and sold them on eBay, eventually ending up with so much more than her adoption required that she put the extra into an account that will go toward covering costs for a second child.

Benefits: Military and Employer

If you’re in the military and on active duty, you can be reimbursed for the adoption of a child if you use a non-profit agency for the process. If both parents are military, you can get twice that amount. There may be other benefits for children with special needs, and a program for medical coverage even before finalization. Check with your commanding officer for details.

Even if you don’t work for Uncle Sam, your employer may provide reimbursements, paid or unpaid leave, or other benefits. Check with your Human Resources department.

Also, some employers may offer a fringe benefit (Employer-Provided Adoption Benefits). This is when they reimburse certain amounts for qualifying adoption expenses. These can also be excluded from your gross income. But bear in mind, the expenses claimed cannot be the same as those applied for in the tax credit.

The Adoption Tax Credit

Yes, there is such a thing, and it can save you money. But it’s one of the more convoluted tax laws so unless you have CPA blood running through your veins (maybe even if you do) hire a professional.

To start with, you’re going to need Form 8839 and your child’s Social Security or Tax ID number. Check out the IRS website for more information.

Check with your local state tax office and your own tax advisor to see if there are any other local allowances for adoption expenses.

Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.