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Growing your family through adoption not only provides a child with a good home, but it also helps you build the family life you’ve always wanted.

One aspect that may be holding you back from pursuing adoption is your finances. You want to ensure you’re prepared for all the associated costs and can afford to follow through with the adoption. You’ve come to the right place to learn about child adoption costs and tips for how you can save.

The Cost of Adopting a Child

There’s a significant range of what it costs to adopt a child and can range anywhere from $0 to $60,000 depending on the process you use and the country you adopt from. On top of adoption costs, additional expenses include working with an adoption agency, flights, hotel and vehicle costs (for international adoptions).

There are essentially three primary methods for adopting a child and the costs vary depending on which you choose.

Domestic adoption: Adopting a baby in the U.S. is usually pricey. It’s going to cost you anywhere from $20,000 to $45,000 if you use an agency. There are associated fees with a full-service option that may include a home visit, legal costs, and medical and living expenses for the expecting mother. Request the agency’s fees in writing to see what is and isn’t covered. Keep in mind that most adoption agencies don’t require the full amount up front and will give you a detailed list of associated fees and timing for each to help you plan.

Adopting from foster care: This adoption process is free for the most part and you’ll likely be reimbursed for any fees or costs that you incur. However, foster care is meant as a temporary placement while steps are taken to try to reunite the child with their birth family. While kids of all ages enter into foster care, the greatest need for foster families is for kids over the age of 12.

International adoption: The costs with international adoption will vary quite drastically depending on the country selected. You may also have to fly to the country a few times and cover travel, flight and hotel costs. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $20,000 and $60,000 for international adoption.

Typical Costs To Budget For

Another matter when it comes to child adoption costs is covering the associated expenses that come with doing so. For example, you may have to pay for attorney fees, home visits, expectant parent expenses and travel costs, to name a few.

You may also want to work with an adoption consultant, although this is an optional expense and not always necessary. If you do want someone to guide you through the process then you should plan for costs in the $3,500 to $4,000 range.

Ways To Save and Cover the Costs

Another question that’s probably on your mind is how to afford adoption and pay the costs. Although it can be costly, there are strategies and options to help you mitigate and better afford adoption expenses.

Start by checking if your employer offers any benefits in this area. They may have dollars reserved to help you grow your family. Keep in mind this isn’t very typical for companies to do. Regardless, check in with your employer about parental leave policies for adoptive parents because you’ll want the time off to start the bonding process.

You should also look into the federal adoption tax credit. If you qualify, you may be able to receive up to $14,300 per child in credits for adoption-related expenses on your federal return. It’s non-refundable and only reduces your taxable income (if you have any), which may help ease the financial burden. The qualifying rules are complicated so it’s best to consult with a tax professional. Also, it’s worth looking into state adoption tax incentives as well.

Other ideas to add to your radar are adoption grants, asking for help from parents or relatives, and savvy borrowing. However, make sure you’re equipped to take on debt in the latter case. Also, look into what your local churches or community groups may be able to do for you if you’re serious about adopting, and you may even consider hosting a fundraiser to help cover the costs of starting or growing your family through adoption. Some ideas include garage sales, dinner and raffles, and Fair Trade companies who sell goods and services (such as coffee) who may be willing to give a portion of their sales to an adopting family. Some families even design T-shirts and apparel to sell online to help raise funds and awareness for their adoption.

Budgeting for Adoption and a New Child

There’s a lot to think about and digest when it comes to budgeting for an adoption. Start by creating an adoption budget and seeing where you can cut current expenses and put away money to save for this important expense.

An adoption budget isn’t a nice-to-have but a necessity if you want to move forward. There are many budgeting resources online that you can take advantage of to help you better manage your money.

And while all your brainpower and budgeting may be going toward the legal adoption of your new child, make sure you’re budgeting and planning for all the expenses that come once the adoption is finalized! We invite you to check out our household budget planner tips to help you get started.