Adoption Funding

Adoption can be expensive, but there are a variety of ways to make it affordable including tax credits, grants, loans and fundraising. And remember, if God calls you to adopt, He’s going to make a way, so pray about it and then do your research to figure out how to make it affordable for your family.

Tax CreditsGrantsLoan ProgramsFundraising
Additional Resources for AdoptionMaking Donations Toward an Adoption


Tax Credits
The status of tax credits and refunds for adoption related expenses changes periodically. You need to discuss this thoroughly with your CPA, but here is the current status, as we understand it.

Qualified Adoption Expenses
court costs  •  attorney fees
traveling expenses including meals and lodging while away from home

Expenses paid in an unsuccessful attempt prior to a successful adoption of an eligible child can qualify.

However, expenses connected with a foreign adoption will only qualify if the adoption is successfully finalized.

The Federal Adoption Tax Credit for 2013 is up to $12,970 per child for nearly all adoptions (step-parent adoptions and carrying out a surrogate parenting arrangement do not qualify). There is no limit on the number of children. Unfortunately, refunds are no longer available, only credits. The credit was made permanent in 2012, as part of the legislation passed to avoid the "Fiscal Cliff." The credit will, however, begin to phase out for families with modified adjusted gross incomes above $194,580 and the credit will go away completely for those with incomes around $234,580.

What does this mean for an adopting family? You may apply up to $12,970 of your qualifying adoption expenses toward your federal taxes. If you adopt more than one child, you would receive the credit for each child. Families who adopt children with special needs can take the maximum credit of $12,970, regardless of the amount of their qualified expenses (or even if they had any qualified expenses at all). For more information on the definition of a special needs child, view the information in this link.

Qualified adoption expenses are reasonable and necessary adoption fees including court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including costs of meals and lodging while away from home), and other expenses directly related to the legal adoption of an eligible child. Expenses paid in an unsuccessful attempt to adopt an eligible child before finalizing the adoption of another child can qualify for the credit. Expenses connected with a foreign adoption (where the child was not a U.S. citizen or resident at the time the adoption process began) qualify only if you actually adopt the child. An eligible child is a child under the age of 18, or an individual who is physically or mentally incapable of caring for him or herself.

For additional information regarding the Adoption Tax Credit and questions regarding your specific tax situation, please contact your tax professional or the IRS. You can also read more about the credit, including pending legislative issues, at the Christian Alliance for Orphans web site.


Listed here are some of the organizations that offer grants for a variety of adoptions circumstances, whether it’s private domestic, international or other situations your family might be called to. Do your research and you may find even more! Amaris Ministries is working on setting up a grant program as well.

Offers grants and loans. Also, will work with your church in providing grants and loans through donations. 100% of all funds given go directly to the adoption.

This organization, an affiliate of Lifesong for Orphans, cares for orphans on one hand, and widows on the other. They do this by selecting a widow in need of help, such as a home improvement project. Then people work on the project, and get a family and friends to sponsor their labor financially. The money goes to adoption grants.

Steven Curtis Chapman’s organization offers grants. This excellent organization is also devoted to the ministry of orphans around the world through donations and missions opportunities.

Assists families by raising funds for adoption. Accepts new applications only when there are an excess of funds.

Provides funding in the form of gifts and grants to people in need of financial help with their adoptions, as well as supporting organizations in their efforts to advance domestic and international adoption.

Provides grants to families adopting internationally.

This program provides information about adoption benefits to employers and employees in both the public and private sectors. Funded by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the project maintains a database of employers with adoption benefits – financial reimbursement, paid and/or unpaid leave time, and resource and referral services. This list is updated regularly. As a result of this program, more than 250 employers have implemented or improved adoption benefits, impacting 1.5 million employees nationwide.

The Gift of Adoption Fund is a non-profit foundation funding donations and fundraising events. It assists adoptive parents by providing cash grants to subsidize a portion of the adoption costs. Grants are awarded on a monthly basis with sums ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. The grants are available to single parents, families with previous children, and prospective adoptive parents who are adopting internationally, independently or through an agency.

Provides grants for Christian families that meet income guidelines.

This organization provides grants for domestic and international adoptions. Families must demonstrate a financial need and have completed a home study to apply.

This organization provides grants to families adopting children who are HIV positive or have other significant health issues.

An adoption advocacy organization that also provides a limited number of grants.

This grant program is open to all legal adoptions including public or private agency adoptions, international, special needs or adoptions facilitated by an attorney. There is no income requirement. There is a simple one-page application and the only requirement to apply is a home study, or one in progress. The Foundation’s board meets four times a year, during the last week of each quarter, to award grants in amounts ranging from $500 to $4,000.

The Sparrow Fund is a grant for people who adopt children with medical needs. This fund covers some of the initial medical costs.

This organization assists families who are adopting children with Down Syndrome.

Loan Programs
Listed below are some organizations that provide loans to adopting families.

The ABBA Fund provides interest-free covenant loans to Christian couples who are called by God to expand their families through adoption and who need help with the “cash flow crunch” posed by adoption expenses.

America’s Christian Credit Union offers adoption loans. They are higher interest than the other loan programs on this page (which are often interest-free), but if your credit is good, then you have a strong chance of securing the loan.

Life Song for Orphans offers grants and interest free loans for people who are adopting.

Loan programs and credit card loans are open for any expense an adoptive family may have before, during or after their adoption is finalized. The NAF offers the Adoption Assistance Loan through American General Financial Services. This is actually a general credit-based loan that can be used for any purpose once the funds are dispersed to you.

Oxford offers no interest or low interest loans for international adoptions, based upon financial need. Oxford will generally lend up to $5,000 per child, up to a maximum of $10,000. The typical loan terms are 0% interest for the first 3 years, 3% interest for the next 3 years, and 6% interest for the final 3 years, for a maximum loan term of 9 years. Adoptive parents should try to obtain funds from all other sources before contacting Oxford, as they lend only the final amount of money necessary to complete the adoption where all other financial resources have been exhausted.

Listed below are websites that offer lots of ideas and assistance for fundraising to help cover the cost of your adoption.

An adoptive mom who helps people all across the country through fundraising to defray the cost of their adoptions. She will supply fundraising flyers and catalogs at no charge.

You can add a PayPal button from Chip In to any website. Put this button on your Facebook, blog, etc., and allow friends and family to contribute toward your adoption.

Kingdom Kids has developed a program by which prospective adoptive families raise funds for their adoption. Once you decide on an agency and program, the process of fundraising can begin. The first step is to obtain a fundraising packet. Next you will develop a support letter which explains your situation and the details of your adoption and send it to your prospective donors. All donations are sent directly to Kingdom Kids, and are used at Kingdom Kids' discretion.

There are many other online fundraising sites, now referred to as “crowd-funding.” They are similar to and You link them to your Facebook page, blog, etc. and ask family and friends to support you.

These include:

Additional Information Resources for Adoption
This is a website that lists grants and loans for people who are adopting. Stay informed about all the funding that is available to you.

Making Donations Toward an Adoption
Family and friends can make a donation toward an adoption by donating to a non-profit organization, which, in turn, will contribute to your adoption.

For donors to receive a tax deduction, they must make their checks payable to the non-profit organization. Donors MUST NOT WRITE the adoptive family’s name on the check. The donor can place the adoptive family or child’s name on a sticky note and then place it on the check. Adoptive families cannot donate toward their own expenses. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the organization or agency collecting the funds must have complete control over the funds and is in no way obligated to place the donated funds toward the adoptive parents’ adoption expenses. If the family for some reason does not proceed with an adoption, then the donations cannot be returned to the donor.