If you are thinking about adopting a child, you are probably curious or concerned about the costs involved. The cost of adoptions varies dramatically. The biggest determinant of how much an adoption costs will be the type of adoption.
How Much Does a Foster Care Adoption Cost?
Foster care adoptions are by far the least expensive. Many states will subsidize some of the costs, often making the adoptions free. Furthermore, with foster care adoptions, some children are eligible to be covered under the state’s health care plan until they are 18. Foster parents and parents who adopt children from foster care may also be eligible for other benefits, programs, and reimbursement.
How Much Does an Agency Adoption Cost?
The costs of agency adoptions will vary more greatly. Some can be as low as $5,000, and others can be over $40,000. Some agencies will charge fees based on the adoptive parent’s income, but this is rare. The average agency adoption will cost $25,000-$35,000.
How Much Does an International Adoption Cost?
International adoptions tend to be a little more expensive than agency adoptions. The cost of international adoptions will vary based on the country from which you are adopting. Generally, adoptive parents will need to spend at least $40,000 before the adoption is complete.
Although adoptions can be expensive, there is a tax credit that can help adoptive parents offset some of the costs. The Adoption Tax Credit allows adoptive parents to receive a non-refundable tax credit of up to $13,570 (in 2017) for each child adopted. The tax credit can be used to offset qualified adoption expenses. However, the credits will phase out for families whose income is over a certain amount. The specific amount changes slightly with inflation, but you need to have an adjusted gross income of at least $200,000 a year before you will start to be phased out. Some states may have adoption credits as well.
Adoption Benefits Through Your Employer
You may also be able to take advantage of grant and subsidy programs for families who adopt. Some employers offer adoption benefits that will reimburse employees for some or all of their adoption expenses. Your human resources department will be able to let you know if your employer provides this benefit.
One employer that does have adoption benefits is the U.S. Military. It offers a one-time reimbursement of up to $2,000 per child or up to $5,000 per year for qualified adoption expenses of active duty service members.
As noted above, if you are adopting from foster care, there are usually programs available that can help offset the cost of the adoption. The social service agency with which you are working will have information about which programs and reimbursements are available. Some adoptive parents will be eligible for continuing assistance even after the adoption is finalized.
Adoption subsidies may also be available for some children. These subsidies are usually available when adoptive parents adopt children who may be classified as harder to place. Children may be considered to be part of this group due to their race, being part of a sibling group that needs a home, or having special needs. The public or private agency with which you are working should be able to help guide you.
There are also private grants available for some potential adoptive parents. There are various religious and secular organizations that provide (usually small) grants to help offset adoption costs. Some adoptive parents will take out loans or access other kinds of credit or bank programs, although access to these will vary based on the prospective parent’s credit history and other financial details.