Let’s be honest; talking about the financial aspect of adoption can give you a pretty icky feeling. I hate talking and thinking about the money aspect of adoption because it makes it feel so transactional. The truth is, part of it has to be. While some adoptions can cost tens of thousands of dollars, many adoptions cost far less. That being said, the answer to the “Do you have to be rich to adopt?” question is simply no, you don’t have to be rich! Many adoptions are quite affordable! Let’s take a look at the different types of adoptions, how much they cost, and how you can raise money!

1. What Does Adoption Cost? 

International Adoption 

The truth is, international adoption is quite costly. It can sometimes cost $20,000 to $50,000. Many factors go into the cost of adoption. When you are adopting from another country, you must accommodate many fees from dealing with two governments and factor in the cost of paperwork processing, court expenses, filing charges, and a myriad of taxes and fees.

Domestic Infant Adoption

When you are looking to adopt an infant in the United States, you will likely spend between $20,000 to $50,000 as well.  I realize there is quite a vast difference between $20,000 and $50,000. The reason the cost varies so much is there are several factors in play. 

Adoption From Foster Care

When you adopt a child from foster care, the costs are very low. Approximately 69% of foster care adoptions cost less than $1,000. However, if you partner with a private adoption agency that facilitates foster care adoptions, you may spend closer to $5,000.

As you can see, there are many ways to adopt a child, and the cost of each adoption type varies. When you look at the numbers, you can often feel like you are staring at a mountain that you have to sacrifice greatly for just to climb. Let me encourage you; typically, that is not the case. 

2. How Can You Raise Money to Help Fund Your Adoption?

One of the biggest lessons and blessings in my life is how friends and family gathered around our family when we were trying to raise money to adopt our children. We were told, as I am telling you now, that God loves adoption. When we become Christians, He adopts us as His children. Because of this example, many people also feel called to either adopt or help others adopt. This was certainly true for our adoption. 

Fundraising is a great way to raise money. 


When we were raising money to adopt our first daughter, we offered a meal in our church’s fellowship hall after service one Sunday. We prepared many quiches, fresh fruit salad, coffee, and juice. Friends in our Bible study prepared other items to contribute to the meal as well. When the service ended, we had a line of people who generously donated to our adoption cost. We were in awe. In addition, our friends who had donated food to help us offer a beautiful meal went through the line to fill their plates and donated money. So, in essence, they paid to eat the food they brought. That blessed our hearts so deeply, and in turn, they smiled and helped us count the financial gift we were given to bring our first daughter home. It was such a precious time for our family, and it was so beautiful to watch how God was providing. 

Garage Sale

This is a very common way to raise adoption funds. Typically, friends and family will donate items they no longer need or use to a family in the process of adopting. This can be extremely productive as many shoppers will give a little extra at the time of check out to help with adoption costs. When my boys were small, there was a time in my life that I used to be a regular garage sale shopper. Now, I typically drive right by unless the sign indicates that it is a fundraising sale. I love how easy it is to support my community in this way. Whether the sale is raising funds for adoption or other needs, knowing you can help feels good, even if it is a little bit.

Parents’ Night Out

This is a super fun and unique way to raise money to help fund your adoption. Many parents love the idea of adoption, but they cannot imagine adding any more kids when they have small kids. Babysitting is typically something that parents budget for anyway, so when you and some friends offer parents a night off, and the kids get to play with other kids, it is a win-win! 

Online Fundraising

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that many online resources are available for you to set up a fundraising account. We utilized this platform when fundraising as well. I would write a quick post every few days or even weekly as the process unfolded. This is a great way to keep people in the know about your adoption. When you share what is happening behind the scenes and post frequently, it is a way to let people into the process and keep you on their minds. People would often donate early on, and as your posts and updates are released, they will keep you in their prayers.

Support Letter

Every Christmas, you are likely to receive a family update letter from friends or family. This is a fun albeit sometimes braggadocious way people like to share what has happened in their lives during the year. Personally, I love them. I love to hear how the year has gone for people I love, especially if they are not on social media. When you invest in the stamp and take the time to send a letter sharing your heart for adoption and the need for financial support, people often give generously. It is a very viable way to let people know what you are doing and explain how they can help.

Church Funding

Many churches have funds set aside to help with adoption costs. If you are a church member, it would be a great idea to reach out and ask if your church can help.

5k Walk and Run

This one takes a lot of work to plan, but it is such a fun and interactive way to get the word out and raise money for your adoption. This works just like a regular 5k. You will need to write or connect with local businesses and get a team of companies willing to help offset the cost of the event. You plan the route and get t-shirts printed, with the name of the businesses that have joined your team. You can also reach out to local restaurants, donut shops, and other small businesses that will help provide food and water for after the 5k.

Silent Auction

This is a really fun way to get lots of community interest and support! You can ask businesses to donate baskets or gift cards for services or products. I used to own a custom sugar cookie business, and many people approached me for donations, and I almost always said yes. It was a fun way to support people in my community. It is a great way to get the word out for the business and a fun event.  This can easily be facilitated in person or through a group on social media.

Penny Collection and Lemonade Stand

If you already have kids, they may want to get involved in the process too! Have them make flyers to pass out to neighbors and have an old-school lemonade stand. You can also contact the school principal to see if your school would have a penny collection for your family. I have found that elementary schools or homeschool co-ops LOVE to support the lives of their families.


If you are creative, you can create a design to be printed on a t-shirt by an online clothing fundraising site. This is a great opportunity for your family to raise money, and it is so fun to see other people in your community supporting your friends too! 

Tax Credit and Adoption Subsidy

Now, these two financial benefits will be given after the adoption or go into effect during the adoption placement, so they will not help with the fundraising efforts. However, you will be able to reduce any loans you may have secured to help during the process. When a child from foster care is placed in an adoptive home, the family will receive a monthly stipend known as a subsidy. The subsidy will be in place until the child is 18; however, sometimes, it will stay in place until the child is 21. The reason a subsidy is in place is basically to help adoptive families care for the needs of a child who comes from foster care. Most kids adopted from foster care are considered special needs. Many things fall under the umbrella of special needs when it comes to foster care, and the subsidy program is made to accommodate any issues that come up. The subsidy program is designed to ebb and flow with the child’s needs, so you can annually review the situation and petition for an increase or decrease in funds. 

In conclusion, you do not have to be rich to adopt a child. If you really look around you, you will see that many people find value and beauty in adoption, but very few will be willing to or able to adopt. The desire to help others who have adopted has been a steady force in our lives, and just because you don’t adopt doesn’t mean you can’t help by financially contributing to an adoption. You would likely be surprised by the number of people, some you don’t even know, who come alongside you and help lighten the financial burden. It has been our experience, personally and while walking with others who are adopting, that the money never seems to slow down the process. 

Like I said before, God loves adoption. He loves family, community, and relationships. He created adoption. He is in the business of providing for those He created, and He does not desire for us to walk this road alone. Someone told us when we first began our adoption journey, and we were focused on the dollar signs, that if God led you to adoption, He would not leave you. He will guide you each step of the way. Man, was he right. 

Doors opened, doors closed. We were met with confusion and excitement. We were clueless, but we just kept going. One step at a time. Do you know what happened? The money came in before the adoptions took place. The timing was perfect, and we were immensely blessed by the generous outpouring of love and support. The thing about adoption and raising money is that when you allow other people into the journey, you are greatly blessed in the process.

Watching God meet all of our needs and surpass the financial commitment was a refreshing reminder that He will always provide a way when it comes to doing His will. 

So, as you set forth on this journey, pray about what kind of adoption you should pursue. Keep showing up and listening for direction. Never feel like you must walk this road alone and always know that God is present in all of the details. 

Considering adoption? Let us help you on your journey to creating your forever family. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.

Becky Dell is a Staff Storyteller for adoption.com. Now married for over 20 years, her journey to motherhood started with a miscarriage, followed by the birth of her 2 biological sons, and brought to completion with the domestic adoptions of 2 daughters. You used to be able to find Becky baking cookies and playing trains with her two tiny sons, but now, you will find her learning to parent through the rough and rewarding world of adoption, attachment, and trauma. She is a fierce advocate for adoption and processes the many facets of adoption through written word.