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Adoption Financing 101: How to Afford Adoption

Your Adoption Financing Options

Adoption is a life-changing journey. A family thinking about adoption has a lot to consider. Is this the right way to grow your family? Are you prepared for the challenges of the adoption process? What type of adoption will be best for you?

These questions and many more must be answered by anyone considering adoption. But there’s one topic that tends to dominate the questions: adoption financing. How do you finance adoption? Are there adoption financing adoptions to help with the cost? Is this something we can really afford to do?

The cost of adoption can be high, and this can be one of the primary barriers to adoption for many hopeful parents. But, there’s good news. Adoption financing is possible. As a national adoption agency, American Adoptions has helped more than 5,000 families come together through adoption. These aren’t all rich families. The adoptive families we’ve worked with come from many different backgrounds and all types of financial situations. They’ve used different adoption financing options to provide for the cost of adoption, and they’ve seen that affording adoption is possible.

No two adoptions are the same. You have unique needs in your specific situation. Across the board, whatever your situation is, you can put in the work to make the financing for adoption happen. We’ve seen more than 5,000 families successfully complete an adoption.

If they can do it, then you can, too.

Prospective birth mothers reading this, we have information on finances related to adoption for you too! Check out our guide for financial assistance for birth mothers. You can also complete this form to connect with a professional to learn more today.

How to Finance Adoption

There are many different adoption financing options, and the right ones for you will be determined by your family’s unique context. Some hopeful adoptive parents rely on all of these methods to make affording adoption a reality. Other families have been able to complete their adoption financing using only one or two of these adoption financing options.

A note to keep in mind before diving in: Just because these are adoption financing options used by many hopeful parents doesn’t mean they are responsible for financial choices in your situation. It is always recommended to speak to a financial advisor about this before making a decision.

Adoption Grants:

Adoption grants are one of the most financially responsible choices for adoption financing. There are many organizations that award adoption grants to qualified families. Each organization has different standards that families must meet to qualify, as well as varying levels of funding available. It’s a good idea to apply for several different grants rather than bet it all on a single grant option. The most important advantage to adoption grants is that, unlike loans, you do not repay these. We’ve seen many hopeful adoptive parents turn to grants when financing for adoption.


Adoption loans are often seen as a counterpart to adoption grants. Both meet the same need: While many families are financially stable, they don’t have the cash on hand to pay for costs associated with the adoption process. However, unlike adoption grants, loans are a type of adoption financing option you have to pay back over time. This doesn’t necessarily mean loans are bad. On the contrary, the average American takes out long-term payment plans on everything from a house to a car to a couch. It’s the type of loan that matters. How trustworthy and fair is the financial institution? Is it a fixed interest loan? Are there additional fees? If you are considering a loan to make affording adoption possible, it’s worth the time and research to find the best loan available.


Many hopeful adoptive parents turn to fundraising when financing an adoption. There are so many different ways to fundraise. You can get creative with it and get your community involved. Every penny counts in adoption fundraising — whether it’s a GoFundMe page, a lemonade stand or a 5k race.


Can you finance an adoption from savings? This may seem like a lofty goal to many, but for some, it is possible to finance an adoption from savings alone. This takes preparation and rigorous money management. It won’t happen overnight, or over a week, or over a month. But if you create a plan and stick to it, it can be possible to save much more than most people realize. Typically, an adoptive family creates financing for adoption through a combination of savings and the other methods listed here.

A new law, the SECURE Act, allows you the option of penalty-free withdrawals of up to $5,000 from each parent's retirement plan for a new child. This includes children by adoption. There are some eligibility requirements — for example, you can only withdrawal within one year after legal finalization. You would also owe taxes on any money you take out of your retirement fund. This is generally considered a last-resort option, so talk to a financial adviser or your human resources representative before making one of these "Qualified Birth or Adoption Distributions."

The Adoption Tax Credit:

Families adopting both domestically and internationally are potentially eligible for the Adoption Tax Credit. This credit was made permanent in 2013 and has provided much-needed relief to adoptive families all across the country. Your eligibility, and the amount of credit you receive, will depend on your unique situation. The maximum amount families can receive in 2018 is $13,840, and is calculated as a tax refund rather than a deductible expense. While the details of this can be complicated (it is taxes, after all) the key takeaway is that any adoptive family should look into the adoption credit, either on their own or with the help of a tax professional. 

As you can see, there are many adoption financing options. Adoption can be expensive, and affording adoption takes preparation and hard work. But with the right grants, loans or fundraisers, you can afford the adoption process.

If you have more questions about how to finance adoption or the cost of adoption, request more free information.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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