Domestic and international adoption can cost between $20,000 and $40,000, and often even more. Many adopting parents search for ways to afford adoption. Fortunately, there are foundations and other organizations that provide adoption grants and loans, but it’s not always easy navigating the application process and completing the necessary paperwork. Below are some great tips and a list of items you can prepare in advance so this process operates as smooth as possible.
Top Tips for Applying for Adoption Grants & Loans
- Review applicant requirements prior to applying. Most organizations require applicants to have a completed home study, work with a licensed agency, and have U.S. citizenship.
- Most organizations want similar information. You will save yourself tremendous time and effort by typing and saving your answers to application questions. For each application with a question that is similar to one you have already answered, you can then begin with your previous answers instead of always starting from scratch. (See the Information to Prepare section below.)
- Gather all of the documents that need to be copied — tax returns, home study, letters of reference, etc. — and make at least 10-15 copies of each document. When possible, make double-sided copies to cut down on bulk and associated postage costs.
- Purchase envelopes large enough to hold your documents (10″ x 13″).
- Create an “Adoption” folder on your computer. Make several sub-folders (e.g., “Grants,” Loans,” etc.) and then make a folder for each individual grant, loan, etc. Save all application files in the corresponding folder. This may seem excessive, but it will save you from a lot of stress down the road.
- Print applications.
- Organize applications in order of due date.
- Check and double-check all application checklists and due dates. Some applications don’t have a due date, but others need to be postmarked by a certain date.
- Check and double-check all application content, too!
- Remember to sign everything and make sure your spouse or partner, if appropriate, does the same.
Information to Prepare
TESTIMONIES AND STATEMENT OF FAITH: Many foundations are religious-based and require the adoptive parent’s testimonies and statement of faith.
TAX RETURNS: Almost all of the organizations request copies of your tax returns from the previous 2 years (just the first two pages in most cases). It’s a good idea to keep multiple copies easily accessible.
HOME STUDY: All organizations will want a copy of your home study. Make double-sided copies of your home study to cut the bulk and save postage costs.
PICTURES: Some organizations ask for a picture of your family and of the child you are adopting, when possible. It’s a good idea to have good photos on quality photo paper on-hand when you need them, rather than having to scrounge and dig through outdated photos to find a suitable picture.
PERSONAL FAMILY BUDGET/MONTHLY CASH FLOW: You will need to make sure you have a working and current family budget. Use your favorite spreadsheet program so you can easily print one every time an application asks for cash flow. (NOTE: A Child Waits Foundation will only accept applications on its forms. Most other places do not care if the information is on their form, as long as the information requested is provided). Organizations want to see a detailed list of all your debts and assets and then a calculation of net worth.
MOTIVATION TO ADOPT: Most organizations will ask for a statement explaining your desire to adopt, in general. In some instances, they may request your reasons to adopt “this particular child” (for example, when adopting a special needs or waiting child).
LETTERS OF REFERENCE: You will also need letters of reference from trusted sources, such as:
- Your clergy
- Co-worker or employer
- Small group leader
Make a list of people you may want to ask and who know your character well. Who has served an important role in your life? Who would write a quality letter for you? Who has an occupation/role that would weigh heavy in the mind of the application reviewer? Ask the appropriate individuals on your list if they would be willing to write a letter and make sure to give them guidance.
Some foundations ask for specific things that may require a unique letter. There’s no getting around it. However, if you can give your recommendation writers a short list of the things that need to be mentioned in the letter, they can write a generic letter addressing all areas. It could be addressed “To Whom It May Concern:” so you can copy it multiple times and won’t have to keep asking them to crank out a letter every time you fill out a new application.
These tips come from Cherri Walrod, the Founder of Resources4Adoption. Resources4Adoption maintains a list of active adoption grants and loans and provides it for free to families who are looking for ways to afford their adoption.