Monday, March 2, 2015

Adoption grants

    For most of us, coming up with the $20,000-$60,000 needed for adoption isn't a small feat. Thankfully, there are grants and loans specifically intended to help pay for an adoption. BUT, there are many things that can limit eligibility for this money. Many of them are from faith-based organizations, so if you do not identify as Christian and are not actively attending a church where your pastor could write you a letter of recommendation advocating that you receive funding, you will automatically need to check some of these off of your list. Others are intended for those who do not already have children in the home. And, most of them are based off of financial need. So, if you are a Christian who is childless and you have exhausted all of your financial resources on fertility treatment (or otherwise would have a hard time financing the adoption fees) you are in a great position to receive funding. Otherwise it may be more difficult to find money that you are eligible to receive.

       This is the position that we are in. The barriers that have prevented us from getting pregnant again cannot be overcome with fertility treatment, so we have not drained our resources in that way. Even though we do not make enough money to by considered financially wealthy by this country's standards, we do have a modest, comfortable income that has allowed us to buy a home and save up some money. While we do not have enough money in our accounts to pay for an adoption, we would have the option of taking out a line of credit on the equity in our home. Basically, we are in that grey area where we do not have the funds to pay for our adoption outright, but we are also not in a position where it would be honest for us to say that we have "significant financial hardship." We have made a commitment to be completely honest in how we present ourselves during this entire process, and after many conversations we both feel that applying for funding that is intended for families in dire financial need (or for families who would have no possible way to afford their adoption without the grant funding assistance) would be somewhat dishonest.      
      Anyway, here is an overview of some of the grants I have come across. I was going to do grants and loans as one post, but the grant portion became quite long, so I will do a follow-up post about loan options.This is not at all a comprehensive list, but it is a start! Since we are doing domestic newborn adoption outside of the foster care system, this list does not include any grants/loans that are specifically for international adoption or foster adoption. This list is also only for sources that are available in any state-- there are several state specific resources out there, so make sure to do a search for that, too! Most agencies will not consider an application for funding without a homestudy approval, so applying for these would happen a bit later in the process. Some require that you have already been matched, also, so that a more concrete cost for your adoption situation has been established.

Matching Grants 

    A matching grant is a situation where the foundation makes a commitment to match a certain amount of donations. So, for example, if you get a $4,000 matching grant but only raise $1,200, they send you $1,200 instead of $4,000. Or, if you were approved for a $2,000 match but received $5,000 in donations, they will send $7,000 (the $5k from your support network, and $2k worth of matching funds). Many grants ask that you have already begun fundraising activities on your own. Here is an idea for a t-shirt fundraiser. 

 Lifesong Matching Grant
  • Amount: $1,000-$4,000 (will match the amount that you raise from fundraising activities)
  • Materials: letter of support from church pastor
  • Must demonstrate financial need
  • Prioritize older children and those with disabilities
God's Grace Ministry Matching Grant
  • Amount: usually $2500, matches donations from friends, family, and church 
  • Income must be less than $60k
  • Must be a heterosexual married couple-- no single parent applicants or same-sex couples 
Hand in Hand Christian Adoption Matching Grant
  • Amount is determined on a case by case basis
  • Materials: application, copy of homestudy report, references from pastor, family member, and friend
  • If you are approved, they will give you a 6-8 week window before your due date. You will send letters requesting support to 50-150 people, and they will send their donations directly to Hand in Hand. Whatever funds are received will be matched, up to the pre-determined amount, and the total will be sent directly to your agency. They will then send you a list of people who donated so that you can send your thank-yous. 
The Micah Fund Matching Grant
  • Amount:  I couldn't find any dollar amounts
  • For Christian couples adopting an African American or biracial child
  • Due to the lengthy application process (which involves interviews) and their stipulation that you have received funds prior to the placement of the child, they recommend filling out the application as soon a you have completed your homestudy
  • Fill out an interest questionnaire/pre-application, then they will email you an application if you are eligible to apply 

Gift of Adoption
  • Amount:  $1,000-$7,500 (focus on providing "the last bit of help," average is right around $3,000)
  • Materials: tax return, paycheck stubs, 2 letters of support
  • $50 application fee
  • Financial need must be demonstrated
  • Priority given to keep children out of the foster system or unite bio-siblings 

Show Hope Fund
  • Amount: $5,000
  • Materials: support letter from your pastor, reference from your adoption agency
  • Financial need is a "significant factor"

Help Us Adopt
  • Amount: $500-$15,000
  • Materials: copy of homestudy, tax return, personal statement
  • Must show financial need and significant hardship
    • From their website: "Must demonstrate that while you can provide a stable environment for a child, you are facing significant financial obstacles and need financial assistance with your adoption expenses" and "Must distinguish the difference between 'not wanting' to write the check(s) for your adoption expenses and 'not being able to'."
  • Prioritize those without children and failed past adoptions*

Katelyn's Fund Orphan Ministry
  •  Amount: $1,500-3,000
  • Materials: application, letters of reference, pictures of your family, tax returns from last 2 years, expense statement from your adoption agency, 5 names and addresses of people who will begin receiving their newsletter (I don't really understand this point), statement of faith
  • Must be a heterosexual, married, Christian couple demonstrating financial hardship and need of assistance (won't be considered at all if household income is over $100,000)
  • Will do an in-person or phone interview as the second step in the application process

National Adoption Foundation
  • Amount: $500-$2000
  • Their website says that there are no exclusions based on the adoption situation or household income, but doesn't give any information about how they choose who gets funded. It just says "All grants are awarded with the sole discretion of the Board of Directors."
  • A committee meets the last week of each quarter to review applications and decide who will be funded, and how much.  
  • Application can be done online

ONEless Ministries

 Families Outreach
  • Amount: $500 (I'm not sure if this is always the award amount since their website didn't give any numbers, but I know someone who received this amount from them)
  • Must be a heterosexual, married, Christian couple demonstrating financial need
    • The application includes a page of questions about your faith and requests a testimony from each spouse, and a letter of support is needed from your pastor
    • There is also a detailed worksheet asking about all of your assets, such as home values, car values, savings, investments, retirement accounts, current life insurance cash values, etc.
  • Need to be adopting through licensed 501c3 agency
  • The decision of who receives funding is based on a combination of the needs of the child being adopted, financial need of prospective adoptive parents, and referral and level of support from your church pastor

JSC Foundation
  • Amount: any amount up to $20,000, determined on a case-by-case basis
  • Materials: an online application, forms that must be completed by your agency, a statement from your pastor after a face-to-face interview, copies of taxes from previous 2 years, personal essays
    • The personal essay needs to include a family description and history, a statement describing your personal faith in Jesus Christ, how God has led you to adopt, how you’ve been inspired to build your family through adoption, and why you need financial assistance.
  • Must be a married Christian couple with a household income less than $120,000
  • Must be adopting through a licensed 501c3 agency
  • Money can only be used for unpaid adoption expenses directly through your agency-- cannot be used to reimburse already paid expenses, to pay off debt from adoption expenses, or to go towards travel expenses
  • Here is one blogger's post about her experience completing the JSC application process:

Salvation International:
  • Amount: $500-$5,000
  • Priority is given to those without children and those with a previous failed/disrupted adoption* attempt
  • Must demonstrate that you have "significant financial obstacles and need financial assistance," and must show that you are in a situation of "not being able to" pay for your adoption, not that you are "not wanting to" exhaust your other resources
  • Must have an active fundraising site with AdoptionFunder
Golden Dawn
  • Amount: up to $2,000
  • Materials: last 2 years' tax returns, support letter from pastor with an emphasis on your church activities and involvement,  copy of homestudy, letter from your employer verifying income
  • Asks that only those with a real need for financial assistance apply, paperwork from your agency, statement of net worth

One Chance Foundation 
  • Amount: case-by-case basis, depending on funds available
    • Must be within $5,000 of completing fundraising for your adoption, and your agency must verify this 
  • Must be a Christian family working with a Christian adoption agency
    • Need to write a statement of faith about your belief in Jesus Christ, and your commitment to raise your child or children with this belief.
Other Sources
  • Tax credits
  • Workplace adoption credit/assistance: If you work for a larger corporation, they may have adoption funds available as part of their benefits package. It never hurts to ask!
  • Banks: I haven't been able to find documented evidence of this on any bank webpages, but I have heard that some banks (I've specifically seen Chase Bank and Nations Bank mentioned) will give you a very low interest loan if you let them know it is for an adoption.   
  • If you or your spouse is active duty in the Military, apparently you can apply for a $2,000 reimbursement for adoption expenses.  
  • I don't agree with charging money to tell people about grants, especially given how expensive this process already is. BUT, there is a tool that provides a searchable format for finding adoption grants that you are eligible for based on your specific situation.  I haven't subscribed, so I can't review it, but here is the link for anyone interested:

Funding sources that have programs but are not currently accepting applications as of February 2015:

*I do not like (and do not agree with) referring to a bioparent's decision to parent their own child after considering adoption as a "failed adoption." But, that is the language that is used on the granting sites that I am referencing, so that is the terminology that I am using in this post


  1. This process is so heart breaking. It's a huge disgusting money making business. Sadly, the majority of the grants is connected to religion which means we do not qualify.
    Thank you for posting these though. This list doesn't help me but I'm sure it can help others.

    1. foster to adopt is a beautiful thing... it is very inexpensive, usually free.

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