Sunday, June 18, 2006

Financing an Adoption

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,
and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
(James 1:27)

"Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption."
(J. I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 202)

One of the difficulties in adoption is often securing the finances to do it. Adoptions are usually expensive. An average domestic adoption often costs around $15,000 and international adoptions are often $25,000.

I've tried to pull together some resources for those who are interested in seeking some aid or donating their money.

The Local Church
If your church doesn't currently have any adoption ministries, perhaps you're called to start one. offers some guidance for how to make it happen: Four Basic Steps to Starting a Local Church Based Orphan's Ministry.
  1. Identifying Seed Families
  2. Preparing and Fertilizing the Soil
  3. Bearing First Fruits
  4. Becoming Deeply Rooted in Ministry
Life International has helped a number of churches start Adoption Funds. They can help you answer questions like:
  1. How does an ‘Adoption Fund’ fit into my church’s vision/mission?
  2. How does Life International help the Church establish a Fund?
  3. How does a local Church get started establishing an Adoption Fund?
Examples of adoption ministries operating out of the local church are the MICAH Fund and the LYDIA Fund (both of Bethlehem Baptist Church).

Interest-Free Covenant Loans
The ABBA Fund provides adoption financial assistance to Christian couples who are "called by God to enlarge their family through adoption, who are committed to train and educate their children in accordance with Biblical principles, and who need financial assistance in order to complete the adoption."

Such families may enter into a "covenant agreement" with The ABBA Fund, whereby they covenant to reimburse the ABBA Fund in manageable monthly payments. The wonderful thing is that they provide this financial assistance without any interest! (You can apply or donate at their site.)

Life International also offers a similiar interest-free covenant loans. (You can apply or donate at their site.)

Grants Through Foundations

There are a number of foundations that offer grants for adoption. One is Shaohannah's Hope, founded by Steven Curtis Chapman and named after his daughter. Their average grant is about $4000. On last year's "All Things New Tour" he raised over $2 million for adoption grants. (You can apply or donate at their site.)

Life International also offers matching grants--so if a friend gives you $50 toward the adoption, it becomes $100.

More foundations and programs can be found here. (As with anything on the net, it goes without saying that it's wise to look into these programs before applying or donating.)

Benefits in the Workplace
Some employers offer adoption benefits to their work-life policies. For more information on this, see the Adoption Friendly Workplace Program. As the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption explains: "By offering adoption benefits, employers can provide equity for all their employees who choose to create families – whether through birth or adoption. And with less than one-half of 1% of the employee population using these benefits in a year, the package is extremely cost effective considering the benefits the organization gets in return."

Tax Credit
Eligible parents can receive the adoption tax credit--up to $10,000 subtracted from your tax liability. Speaking from experience, it can be a tad confusing as to what you get back and when, but this overview and this info sheet are pretty helpful. One way to go would be to get a covenanted loan from the ABBA Fund and then use your tax return to repay them.

I hope this helps. If you know of other trusted sources or have other ideas, feel free to include them in the comments section below.