Adoption is expensive. Any adoptive family will tell you this, but fear not - there are ways to lighten the cost. The number one way families raise money is through fundraising: selling custom products, grants, silent auctions, GoFundMe or Facebook campaigns, and much more. There are also federal tax credits and benefits to assist adoptive parents in the journey of adoption. So while the cost may seem daunting, there are many resources and avenues to help fund the adoption of your newest family member(s). Here is some advice from parents who have adopted with the help of fundraising, as well as some info from a tax professional.
I often get asked about fundraising tips for adoptions.
First of all, if you are asking that, I'm proud of you!
Most people who venture into this crazy Adoption world do not do it because they can "afford" it. They have a passion to bring their child home, and money is one of the obstacles that simply must be overcome along the way.
I've learned a lot since our first Adoption in 2009. For that Adoption we actually did start with savings from selling our house and going into missions. We tried to raise the rest, but fundraisers were not that popular in my circle at that point, and we were mildly successful but still left with Adoption debt. Thankfully we attacked that debt, and paid off the last dollar, a year to the day, after our daughter had been home. Our second Adoption was only 4 years ago, and my social circle had grown quite a bit. That is still my first bit of advice for newly adoptive families.
Become friends with as many adoptive families as you can! Online, and in real life. Get on as many Adoption pages as you can. Fill your feed with this, because you WILL gain a lot, learn a lot, and gather ideas simply through doing this. There are now Facebook pages solely for the purpose of fundraising. The other bit of advice that I have to share is to remain transparent. I understand that this comes more naturally for some personalities, and it does have both pros and cons, but it has served us well.
We are an open book and we utilize this even with the dollars and cents of our adoptions. We share the costs in totality, and along the way as they come. I know there are other platforms but I still prefer GoFundMe to keep track of the total goal. I manually add in any savings we add, extra funds we get from overtime, gifts through checks and fundraiser income so that everyone can see us inching closer to the goal. It builds momentum.
Raising money for an Adoption is NO small feat, and it takes a village, more like a tribe! If people offer to run fundraisers FOR you, say yes!
Search for double gift fundraisers, which are my personal favorite, like the Apparent project! This allows you to raise money for your Adoption and working mothers in Haiti.
Apply for every single grant you find!
This is very time consuming, but for MANY families this is where the gap is filled! I always suggest applying for 5-7 and expect to be approved for 1 or 2.
We try to have an adoption theme for each Adoption and that is usually something that God has put into our hearts, and it gets us through! For our last Adoption it was "One Less Orphan". I still see people wearing our One Less Orphan shirts that we designed through Bonfire.
This time it's "Love Moves Mountains". We've brought in over $3,000 with Love Moves Mountains shirts this time. Our entire family has one and friends got their small groups, or running groups on board, so friends of friends have them.
It's really encouraging!
Note - Try to avoid family-specific shirts, so they will be more widely accepted.
Let me close by saying, when we are in fundraiser mode, I don't actually love it!
I think people think I do, because I'm doing it. No! I do it because it HAS to get done!
It's NOT easy, or natural for everyone. Most people dread it, BUT it can be successful! Don't give up!
Understand that you may have a few friends drop off because they just don't get it. Focus on those who DO get it, and just keep moving forward.
Keep your eyes on the prize!
Not all fundraisers are successful! I've run four in a row that brought in under $100, only to move to the 5th that brought in $2,000. Keep pushing.
Also, remember to support others who are in process, even when you are in process! I especially love doing this because it encourages them in a very special way knowing that you are giving while you are also raising funds yourself.
This too shall pass, and years from now, when your child is home, you will be able to share with them how MANY people worked together because so many people loved them.
When we were first called to adopt, the cost was a huge potential stumbling block. I was shocked when I found out the estimated total.
None the less, as time went on, we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were being led to adopt. So we moved forward in faith that God would provide. One day, early on in the process, I was walking out of Walmart and I was talking with God. I was thinking of the total that we needed and I felt him say, don’t worry about the total, the people will come alongside you and you will have what you need. I felt immediately calmed.
This was in the fall. Soon after that, a dear friend started posing ideas to us for a fundraiser. He thought a BBQ would be a great option. He offered to smoke meat for us. We brought his ideas together with doing a Santa meet and greet and it ended up being a huge success. We found a church that allowed us to use their kitchen space, we found someone willing to be Santa, and we secured almost 100 items to do a silent auction at the event. We sold close to 200 tickets. The ticket included a bbq sandwich, a bag of chips, and a drink. We had a cash bar for desserts that were donated by friends. We also raffled off a TV. It was a lively events with lots going on. I found that friends were more than happy to help in whatever capacity they could. On this one event, we made around $4500.
At about the same time I also did a sugar scrub sale where a few friends and I made jars of sugar scrub (this is HIGHLY profitable) and lotion bars. I sold about 200 of these as well. That fundraiser raised close to $2000. By the end of that season, we had raised almost exactly what was due to our agency. We had a few generous friends give to our GoFundMe.
We also worked weekends as a family doing any odd job that people would hire us for. We did yard work, built a fire pit, hung a ceiling fan, painted a bedroom. and a variety of other things.
Our last big fundraiser was very public: when we were at a specific point of the adoption that I would consider “go time”. It had been very important to create a following of what we were doing and keep people informed of our progress. It kept them engaged and plugged in. At this point it became apparent that we needed another chunk of money, so we used a chart that we found online with numbered boxes 1-100. The simple premise is that people pick a box and they donate the amount of money that matches that box. As numbers were spoken for, we covered them with a heart. It was exciting for people to watch the chart fill up with hearts. This fundraiser nets over $5000 when all of the numbers are taken.
I just want to say that God absolutely kept his promise. We continuously had what we needed when we needed it. It was a huge step of obedience for our family and it led to a huge growth in faith as we depended on God and watched him work!
The expenses associated with adoption can be steep. Thankfully, there are some tax benefits to help ease the cost burden.
There is a federal tax credit available to assist with the cost of adoption. The tax credit is up to $14,300 per child for adoptions finalized in 2020. The adoption tax credit is not refundable, which means taxpayers can only use the credit if they have a federal income tax liability.
There are two primary qualifications.
First, you must have adopted a child other than a stepchild.
Second, the child must be either under 18 or be physically or mentally unable to take care of him or herself.
Next, you must be within the income limits — Income affects how much of the credit parents can claim. In 2020, families with a modified adjusted gross income below $214,520 can claim full credit. Those with incomes from $214,520 to $254,520 can claim partial credit.
There is more. All American families have the potential to enjoy a child tax credit. This year, the amount is $2,000 per child, but only $1,400 of it can become the refundable additional child tax credit (dependent on the family’s earned income), with the remaining $600 a non-refundable Child Tax Credit. This credit will supersede the adoption tax credit when reducing the tax liability. Both credits are possible.
To determine the amount of the Child Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit a family uses, they should seek the advice of a tax professional.
Best of wishes for your journey to adoption!