Adoption is a long, arduous process no matter which avenue you take, especially when it comes to adoption payments. First, you’ll need to find the best road for your family. Be it international adoption, domestic infant adoption, or adoption from a public entity through foster care.

If you choose international, you’ll be eligible for a reimbursement of all adoption-related costs when you file your taxes after your child is adopted. You’ll need to keep all documentation including travel, lodging, or anything related to the adoption payments. It will come in as a credit, and it could take longer than one to recoup those costs.

If you choose to adopt domestically, you would also be eligible for the tax credit following the legal adoption of a child. As I stated, you can receive a credit, but it can only count toward the amount of taxes of which you’ve paid. You will want to contact a tax professional in your area/state for the current laws regarding the credit. You’ll need to provide an adoption decree and check with your accountant for other documentation that will be necessary.

When adopting from foster care, there is a monthly reimbursement. This reimbursement is intended to cover the basic needs of the child/children in care. Its calculation is according to the documentation filled out by the child’s social worker and the current foster family. The rate is according to the child’s age, needs, and other extenuating circumstances. If the child moves into adoption, in some cases there is a reimbursement that will continue until the child reaches the age of 18, and in some cases with special needs, you can petition for the reimbursement to continue into adulthood. While the amount is a definite bonus, it’s not a reason to adopt. The payments do not cover the cost of raising a child, especially after adoption, which is approximately half of the foster care reimbursement.  

It is especially important to add the adoption payments of therapy, insurance coverage, and other expenses. In some states, the children are also eligible for public health insurance, usually as a back up to private insurance, which can be helpful if the child has special needs that require special services.  

As with the other adoptions, if you do incur any fees directly related to it, these would be eligible for the federal adoption credit as well. Generally, with foster care adoption, fees and adoption-related expenses are covered by the state. If you pay for training, CPR, or other out-of-pocket, you’ll want to check with your tax professional for details.

Adoption can be expensive, financially and emotionally, however, there are options to help you recoup some part of the costs. Research in your area, contact your agency and tax professionals for your state’s most recent requirements.


Karla King is a passionate open adoption advocate, adoptive mom, foster mom, wife, reader, avid creator of food, a stay-at-home mom, and Christian. She loves taking care of her family, supporting others on the adoption journey, and watching the world through her children’s eyes.