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Adoptive Parent Resources / How to Adopt a Newborn

Cost of Adoption

Cost of Adoption - Average Cost to Adopt a Child

Does it Cost Money to Adopt a Child?

Angel Adoption is proud to offer one of the most affordable ways to adopt a baby. Our programs are statistically found to be more than $20,000 less than the cost of other adoption programs, which puts ours among the most affordable programs in the nation!

How Much is Adoption?

Even though the cost of our adoption programs is relatively reasonable, the total average cost of adoption can be substantial for many families. If you’re hoping to adopt a baby, the fees you can expect include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Adoption Program Fee — Fees cover various adoption-related services included in an adoption program, the specifics of which depend on the adoption professional you choose to work with. The cost also varies greatly.
  • Home Study Fee — A completed home study is required to legally adopt a baby in the United States. The cost of a home study is determined by the state you live in and the home study agency you choose to work with.
  • Legal Fees — Fees include hiring a social worker and/or attorney in the birthmother’s state and in your own state if needed. The cost varies greatly and is determined by each professional.
  • Court Fees — Fees include those associated with legally finalizing the adoption in court. The amount varies by state.
  • Travel Expenses — Travel expenses cover any fees for adoption-related travel. Usually, it includes airfare and/or ground transportation, lodging, meals, and more. You’ll need to travel to meet your baby before or after they are born. Once there, you will need to stay in the birthmother’s state for a few days while the adoption paperwork is processed. Additional travel may be required if the birthmother wishes to meet you before she gives birth.
  • Birthmother Expenses — Per state law, you will be required to pay for some of the birthmother’s expenses, which could include medical, counseling, and legal fees; utilities; maternity clothes; food; transportation; and other reasonable pregnancy-related expenses.

The amount you’ll pay for these different expenses depends on the expectant mother you work with, her situation, and the state she lives in. Because of this, it’s very difficult to pinpoint the average price of adoption. The good news is that you can afford to adopt if you are willing to work at it. Start setting money aside regularly, set short- and long-term goals, and take it one step at a time.

We would never want finances to keep a deserving family from adopting a baby, so we’ve gathered information about different ways to afford adoption. Some are relatively easy to obtain if you qualify, such as the Adoption Tax Credit and employer adoption benefits. Others will take time and effort on your part.

Adoption Tax Credit

The Basics of the Adoption Tax Credit

By: Michelle M. Hughes

How much is the Adoption Tax Credit, and who qualifies?

The Adoption Tax Credit is now $14,440. Parents whose adjusted gross income is under $216,600 will qualify for the entire $14,440. Parents whose incomes are between $216,600 and $256,660 will qualify for a partial credit. If you earn over $256,660, you would not qualify for the credit. While most adoptive parents will find they have to pay substantial sums of money prior to the adoption, once completed, the credit should relieve some of the financial burden for most parents.

What should I do to document that I qualify for this tax credit?

It is important that adoptive parents get and keep receipts for all legitimate adoption expenses. If it is a domestic, non-special needs adoption, the credit is taken in the year the expenses are incurred. Legitimate adoption expenses would include, but are not limited to, Angel Adoption's fee, attorney fees, agency fees, consultation fees, and legitimate birthparent expenses.

What is the difference between a credit and a deduction?

A credit is an amount that can be deducted directly from the taxes that you owe. It means you can get reimbursed dollar for dollar, unlike a deduction, provided you qualify for the credit.

What if the adoption never finalizes?

Adoptive parents can take the credit even if the adoption does not finalize in a domestic adoption.

Is the Adoption Tax Credit the same as the child tax credit?

No. This Adoption Tax Credit is separate and in addition to the child tax credit.

Qualifying Expenses

Qualifying adoption expenses include reasonable and necessary adoption costs, attorney and court fees, traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging) while away from home, and other expenses directly related to, and whose principal purpose is for, the legal adoption of an eligible child.

Non-qualifying Expenses

Qualifying adoption expenses do not include expenses:

  • that violate state or federal law;
  • for carrying out any surrogate parenting arrangement;
  • for the adoption of your spouse's child;
  • paid using funds received from any federal, state, or local program;
  • allowed as a credit or deduction under any other federal income tax rule; or
  • paid or reimbursed by your employer or otherwise (except that amounts paid or reimbursed under an adoption assistance program may be qualifying expenses for the exclusion).

Please contact your tax specialist to see if you qualify for the Adoption Tax Credit.

Click here for more specifics about the Adoption Tax Credit from the IRS.

Adoption Loans & Grants

Adoption Loans

You might be eligible for a loan through one of these providers:


Loans from $6,000 to $8,000

  • For Christian families
  • Interest-free loans and grants
America’s Christian Credit Union

$500 adoption grants and adoption loans up to $50,000

  • For Christian families
  • Low interest rates
  • Terms up to 7 years

Personal loans from $1,000 to $35,000

  • No prepayment fees
  • 2- to 5-year terms
  • Fast approvals
Axos Bank

Personal loans from $5,000 to $50,000

  • 3- to 6-year terms
  • Flexible lending criteria
  • No collateral required

Personal loans from $2,000 to $35,000

  • Low annual percentage rates
  • 3- and 5-year terms

Loans available from $25,000 to $350,000

  • 0% interest rate for the life of your loan
  • $3,999 application fee
  • No early repayment penalty
  • Pay nothing for 1 year
BHG ProLoans

Personal loans available from $20,000 to $200,000

  • Affordable, low monthly payments
  • Terms up to 7 years
  • No personal collateral required
Discover Personal Loans

Personal loans from $2,500 to $35,000

  • Terms from 36 to 84 months
  • Flexible repayment terms
  • 5.99% - 24.99% APR

Personal loans from $5,000 to $50,000

  • 5.75% to 27.84% APR
  • 0.25% autopay discount
First Midwest Bank

Personal loans from $5,000 to $35,000

  • APRs as low as 5.23%
  • Terms up to 7 years
  • No collateral required

Personal loans from $7,500 to $50,000

  • Fixed monthly payments
  • Terms from 24 to 60 months
Lending Club

Personal loans from $1,000 to $40,000

  • 15.95% average APR
  • 3- or 5-year terms
  • No application or prepayment fees

Personal loans from $2,000 to $36,500

  • 9.99% - 35.99% APR
  • 24 - 60 month terms
Lifesong for Orphans

Matching grants from $1,000 to $4,000 and loans from $4,000 to $8,000

  • For Christian families
  • The couple’s church family is encouraged to financially support the adoption, and a grant is matched to the amount raised
  • Interest-free loans are paid through manageable monthly or annual payments

Loans available from $5,000 to $100,000

  • Competitive Interest Rates
  • Flexible Terms
  • No Fees or prepayment penalties
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Personal loans from $3,500 to $40,000

  • 6.99% to 19.99% APR
  • 36 to 72 month terms
  • Fixed rate
  • No fees
National Adoption Foundation

Grants from $500 to $2,000 and loans from $5,000 to $50,000

  • Grants are awarded regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, family characteristics, or income
  • Must have a completed home study or be undergoing the home study process
  • Partnered with Citizens One to provide low-interest adoption loans
OneMain Financial

Personal loans from $1,500 - $20,000

  • 18.00% - 35.99% APR
  • Fixed interest rates
  • 24-, 36-, 48-, or 60-month term lengths
Pathways for Little Feet

Interest-free loans up to $7,500

  • Monthly payments are required, but the amount is set by the family
  • Must have an approved home study
  • Must be within three to six months of completing your adoption

Personal loans from $500 to $35,000

  • Get matched with a lender
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Peer-to-peer loans, personal installment loans, and bank personal loans available
  • Terms up to 6 years

Loans available up to $35,000

  • Competitive Interest Rates
  • 3- or 5-years terms
  • No hidden fees or prepayment penalties
  • Not available to borrowers in Iowa, Maine, West Virginia, and North Dakota

Personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000

  • Fixed annual rates
  • 3-, 5-, or 7-year terms
  • No hidden fees
  • $100 welcome bonus

Personal loans from $1,000 to $50,000

  • 5.94% to 35.97% APR
  • 24 - 84 month terms
  • Fixed rates

Personal loans from $1,000 to $50,000

  • Low interest rates
  • 3- and 5-year terms
  • No prepayment penalties
Adoption Grants
A Child Waits Foundation

Grants up to $10,000

  • Current gross income must be less than $150,000
  • Must have a completed home study
Show Hope

Grants from $6,000 to $10,000

  • Must have a completed, current home study
Gift of Adoption Fund

Grants up to $15,000

  • Financial need, perseverance, and imminence of the adoption must be demonstrated
  • Must have an approved adoption home study
  • $50 application fee

Grants up to $15,000

  • Grants awarded four times a year
  • Must have a completed, approved, and current home study
  • Must demonstrate significant financial need
  • Must be US citizens
WAT! (We Adopt Too)

Adoption grants of at least $5,000 & $1,500 home study grants

  • For Black families
  • Must be home study approved
Other Financial Resources

Crowdfunding platform specifically for adoption

National Council For Adoption

NCFA financial assistance webpage

Other Adoption Financing Options

Home Mortgage Refinance

One of the many ways to generate income to afford the cost of a private adoption is mortgage refinancing. The decision to refinance has just as much to do with your circumstances as it does with the current interest rate available. For example, if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), or your fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) is about to turn into an ARM, and the interest rate is going up, you might want to consider refinancing or renegotiating your mortgage rate. Other factors, such as the amount of equity you have gained and whether or not you pay mortgage insurance, help determine whether you are a good candidate for refinancing.

Refinancing can help by reducing your monthly mortgage payment, and the surplus could then go into savings toward your adoption costs. It can also help if you are able to use your home equity and higher appraisal of your home’s value to refinance for an amount higher than your current mortgage, using the excess amount to help with your adoption costs.

Home Equity Line of Credit

Though perhaps not the first approach to generating funds toward the cost of a domestic adoption, seeking a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) has become a common way to pay adoption costs. This involves using a credit line to borrow against the equity in your home.

Some may balk at the thought of going into debt for adoption costs, but just as many won’t think twice about taking out a loan to buy a car, buy a house, go on vacation, etc. What better investment than a child?

When choosing this method to generate the funds needed, keep in mind that you must pay this money back. You can use your full tax refund(s) from using the Adoption Tax Credit.

Be careful to take out only what you can afford to repay monthly should you be unable to raise extra funds. Compare interest rates with lenders and banks for the lowest rates, and be sure to talk with a tax professional regarding the tax implications of this type of loan.

Funding Your Adoption With a Credit Card

Using a credit card to help pay for the cost of an adoption, or "borrowing" on your credit card, should be one of the last tools you take out of the toolbox. Even so, it is an option that many have used to help pay your adoption fees.

Sometimes the deadline for payment of adoption-related fees arrives before a family can raise the funds. A credit card is a way to pay the immediate fees while generating the extra income needed. As you generate the income, immediately pay the credit card balance. Don't be tempted to pay off the balance later.

Just as with other types of loans, use only what you'll be able to repay; just because it is available doesn't mean you should use it. Shop around for the lowest possible interest rate with no annual fee. If you can pay off the entire balance within the introductory period of a zero interest credit card, you can use this option free of interest.

Military Adoption Benefits

If you are currently serving on continuous active duty in the military, you are eligible for military adoption benefits. Active duty families may receive up to $2,000 reimbursement for adoption-related expenses of a single child and up to $5,000 per year if more than one child is adopted. The adoption must be arranged through a source that is authorized by a state to provide adoption placements, if the adoption is supervised by a court under state or local law. Paid after the adoption is finalized, this benefit is not doubled if both parents are in the military. Expenses that can be reimbursed include agency fees, legal fees, placement fees, and medical expenses. Travel expenses are not eligible for reimbursement.

Military parents can exercise an option to have children that are placed with them covered by their military medical program even before the adoption is finalized. You should apply to the Secretary of your branch of the service for the child to be a "Secretary Designee."

Under the military’s Program for Persons with Disabilities, military parents may be eligible to receive up to $1,000 a month for disabled or special needs adopted children. The military also has a program called the Exceptional Family Member Program that will ensure adoptive parents of special needs children are assigned to bases or duty stations that can meet the needs of the child.

Service members are also permitted to take up to 21 days of non-chargeable leave in addition to their regular leave in conjunction with an adoption.

For more information about Military Adoption Benefits or if you have questions, contact the National Military Family Association.

Employer Adoption Benefits

Many employers provide their employees with adoption benefits. These benefits could include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

  • Informational Resources — This benefit could include referrals to adoption organizations and/or access to an adoption specialist.
  • Financial Assistance — This benefit could include a lump sum payment, payment for certain adoption-related fees, and/or partial reimbursement.
  • Parental Leave — In many states, employers are required by law to offer some length of paid or unpaid parental leave to adoptive parents.

Check with your company’s human resources or personnel department to find out if your employer offers adoption benefits.

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