Adopting a child can cost between $2,000 and $50,000, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Personal loans, which usually run from $1,000 to $50,000, can spread out that cost over two to five years.
But consider less-expensive options first, like adoption grants, subsidies and reimbursements. While they might not cover everything, they can reduce how much you need to borrow.
We reviewed over 120 personal loan providers before selecting these five providers based on factors like the rates, terms and loan amounts available. Many of these providers offer general-use personal loans. We found that while some lenders advertise adoption loans, they don’t always offer the most favorable rates and terms and might not be the best choice.
Best for excellent credit
LightStream personal loans
LightStream might be your best choice if lowering costs is your top priority. It offers financing specifically for adoption costs with loans as high as $100,000. While its adoption loan rates start slightly higher than its general-use personal loans, it will beat offers from competitors — as long as the offer meets certain terms and conditions.
*Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.95% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.99.
Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust, Truist, LightStream, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.
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|Min. credit score||Good to excellent credit|
|APR||7.49% to 25.49%|
|Loan amount||$5,000 to $100,000|
Best for good credit
SoFi also offers highly competitive rates starting at 8.99% and loans up to $100,000. But in addition to financing, it offers borrowers services like free financial advice. This can help you stay on track of your finances while you adjust to the cost of a new family member. But it can take as long as 30 days to get your funds
|Min. credit score||680|
|APR||8.99% to 25.81%|
|Loan amount||$5,000 to $100,000|
Best for fair and bad credit
This connection service can help you prequalify with multiple lenders by filling out one application. It's won several awards and is available to all credit types. But if you want to use its online service, you must consent to being contacted by its partners, which can result in lots of calls and emails.
|Min. credit score||300|
|APR||5.40% to 35.99%|
|Loan amount||$500 to $500,000|
Best for a flexible return policy: Discover personal loans
With Discover, you can return your loan at no cost within 30 days of receiving the funds. This kind of flexibility can be helpful if you're not sure an adoption is going to go through but want to have the funds ready. But it doesn't accept joint applicants, so you can't apply with your spouse.
|Min. credit score||660|
|APR||7.99% to 24.99%|
|Loan amount||$2,500 to $40,000|
Best for applying with a cosigner
Laurel Road personal loans
Laurel Road is one of the only personal loan providers that accepts true cosigners, rather than coapplicants. This can be a good option for couples that want to apply jointly with mixed credit types. But its rates start higher than average for most borrowers. That is, with the exception of doctors and dentists, who qualify for rates starting at 6.5% APR and loans up to $80,000.
|Min. credit score||680|
|APR||7.99% to 23.25%|
|Loan amount||$5,000 to $80,000|
How much does adoption cost?
Adopting a child can top $50,000, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. The cost mainly depends on the service you use.
- Foster care adoption: $2,000 to $4,200
- Private agency adoption: $20,000 to $45,000
- Independent adoption: $15,000 to $40,000
- Intercountry adoption: $20,000 and $50,000
Most of these include costs like legal fees, home study, medical expenses, preadoption and postadoption counseling for the birth parents, adoptive parent training, social work services and supervision of the child during the adoption process. Home study fees alone can cost between $1,500 and $4,000 and may not be included in the base fees.
Foster care adoption
You might pay as little as $0 after subsidies if you adopt a child through the foster care system. But adoptive parents must pay upfront adoption transaction costs and get a reimbursement from the federal government. These include court documentation fees that range from $500 to $2,000 and legal fees that can run from $1,500 to $4,000.
After the adoption goes through, you’ll receive a monthly stipend for child care.
The expense of bringing a new child into your home doesn’t end with adoption fees. It’s estimated that families spend between $12,350 and $13,900 every year per child, according to a 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture study.
If you need help affording some of the initial costs of raising a baby — like nursery furniture, formula and clothing — you may want to consider a baby loan as well. These are personal loans that help new parents cover common first-year expenses.
5 ways to keep adoption costs down
Adopting a child may be expensive, but there are ways to lower the cost or make a large loan a little more manageable:
- Adopt a waiting child currently in foster care. In this case, the public agency would complete the home study section of the process at no extra cost. If you and the child live in the same county or state, the agency may also cover postplacement supervision costs.
- Apply for a tax credit. While it won’t help cover the initial cost, it can lower your tax bill — making the budget during your first year as a family a little more affordable. As of 2019, the tax credit was set at $14,080 per child.
- Build your credit. The better your credit, the lower your interest rate when you apply for a loan. While you’re working on saving for the new addition to your family, take steps to improve your credit to increase your chances of qualifying for a competitive interest rate.
- Look into employer benefits. Some employers offer financial assistance for prospective adoptive parents. Whether this is a reimbursement or lump sum of money, looking into an adoption program sponsored by your employer could easily cut down on adoption costs.
- Find a grant. Many national, state and local organizations offer free money to families looking to adopt. Take your time to research and apply for as many as you can — every little bit can help.
How else can I pay for an adoption?
Before you take out an adoption loan, consider these options. They’re less expensive and in some cases might even be free.
Some organizations offer grants to families preparing to adopt a child. The National Adoption Foundation, A Child Waits Foundation, Help Us Adopt, Gift of Adoption Fund and CMomA are a few places to start your search.
You generally won’t be able to fund your entire adoption with a grant, but they can help you cover some of the initial costs.
Adoption agency payment plans
Many adoption agencies don’t ask for money up front. Instead, they divide your cost into smaller installments. You’ll typically pay a third after submitting your application, another third after finishing home study and the final third at the start of postplacement supervision. While you might still need to get financing to pay off these costs, it’ll be a much more manageable amount and allow you time to save up between payments.
Employer adoption reimbursements
A significant number of government agencies and businesses offer adoption benefits to employees. These can come in the form of adoption information, referral services, postadoption counseling and paid or unpaid leave. Some employers also provide financial reimbursement for agency fees, as well as medical and legal expenses.
You may be able to take advantage of federal and state adoption assistance if you’re adopting a hard-to-place child or from foster care. The federal government offers up to $2,000 upfront and recurring monthly payments. States might offer even more to parents who aren’t eligible for the federal funds.
Tap into your social network by starting a crowdfunding campaign to pay for your adoption. You can either use social media platforms specific to adoption like AdoptTogether or go with a site that has wider name recognition like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Be sure to invest time on a video and regularly post on social media to get the widest reach.
Interest-free adoption loans
Several charitable organizations like Oxford Adoption Foundation and Lifesong for Orphans offer loans with no interest. You typically need to complete your home study before you apply and might not be able to get enough funds to cover the entire cost of adoption — Oxford only gives out loans of $5,000.
It can also be a bit slower than other types of financing, taking between one and three months from start to finish. On top of this, you may have to pay a small monthly fee during repayment.
Low-interest adoption loans
Some personal loan providers like America’s Christian Credit Union and charitable foundations also offer adoption loans at lower interest rates than you might find when applying for a traditional personal loan. You can typically borrow more than you would with an interest-free adoption loan and could even potentially get enough funds to cover the whole cost. You may be required to complete a home study before applying.
When is getting a loan for adoption a good idea?
You might want to apply for an adoption or baby loan if you find yourself in one of the following situations:
- You applied to grants and still came up short. Exhaust all of your free aid first before applying for a loan — even interest-free loans can come with fees.
- You don’t have enough time to save up. Adoption can be a long and drawn-out process. Instead of getting funds to pay for all of your adoption costs at once, you might want to consider getting financing for your immediate needs and opening a high-interest savings account for future costs.
- You have immediate expenses. Grants can take a while to process, and tax credits aren’t available year-round. Taking out a loan that doesn’t come with prepayment penalties can give you the cash you need now and allow you to pay it back as soon as your funds come in.
Compare more personal loans to cover adoption costs
Select your credit score range and state to compare more personal loans that might be available to you.
Bringing home a new member of your family is an exciting but expensive prospect. Comparing your personal loan options and applying for grants can help ease the burden on your budget so you can focus your attention on this brand-new adventure.
Frequently asked questions
What military reimbursements are available for adoption?
If you’re on active duty in the military, you can receive a one-time reimbursement of up to $2,000 per child for adoption expenses — with a maximum of $5,000 per year. And if you adopt a child with disabilities, you may also qualify for up to $1,000 a month in assistance.
Can I use a loan to pay for expenses during unpaid maternity leave?
Yes, a personal loan can be used to cover expenses during unpaid maternity leave. However, you may want to look into other ways to cover these expenses first, such as deferring your student loan payments or government assistance available.