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How to Afford Adoption : Adoption Grants, 50 Money Saving Ideas, and more!

Posted on: by Kate
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One of the first concerns for many people who wish to adopt is the cost.  I am here to tell you that there are many ways to afford adoption. I cannot tell you how many people have told me they would love to adopt, but think the cost will make it impossible.  First of all, there are ways to adopt that are completely free.  While adoption can be very expensive, it does not always have to be.  There are adoption grants, adoption loans, and even ways to creatively fund raise. 

Our first blog was honestly started as an adoption fundraiser.  A side hustle and cost cutting is a small price to pay for the joy that family can bring.  Here are some adoption funding ideas that perhaps you have not thought of yet!

adoption resources

How To Afford Adoption

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One of the things we hear all the time is “Oh, we would LOVE to adopt, but it is too expensive.”  I have read in several polls that the cost of adoption is the number one reason people don’t adopt.  So if I can teach you how to afford adoption you will adopt?  Deal!  Well, I actually wrote a post about How to adopt Debt FREE for Money Saving Mom about three years ago – but I decided to extend it a bit!

People wonder all the time how our family was able to adopt.  My husband is a teacher and I blog from home.  Neither are professions that will make you rich, but we were able (with lots of help, prayer, and sacrifice) to make it happen.  Adoption was very important to us, our calling if you will, and we were willing to make some sacrifices to make our journey happen.

One of our favorite Russian proverbs is “Pray to God, but continue to row towards shore.”  We believe prayer was important in our journey, but so was hard work, some sacrifice, and a little research. If you are wondering how to afford adoption, pray first and then do some research!  It is hard but it is doable!

So here are some things that might help your family add a member to your family through adoption.  I hope you find this encouraging!  I will share about the Adoption Tax Credit, FREE adoption options, Adoption Grants, Adoption Loans, how to cut costs to save for an adoption, and also how to raise money for your adoption! (It’s gonna be a long post folks so get comfy!).

MONEY AVAILABLE TO ADOPTIVE FAMILIES : Grants, Tax Credits, and Interest FREE  Loans

  • The Adoption Tax Credit -as of 2014 the Adoption Tax Credit is  $13,190.  That is right – if you adopt – Domestically (private or fost adopt) or Internationally you are eligible for a $13,190 tax credit the year you complete your adoption.  That tax credit is per child you adopt – so if you adopt a sibling set you get this amount times each child!  That is a HUGE chunk out of adoption costs – the only problem is that it cannot be claimed until after your adoption is complete, it won’t help you fund your adoption upfront, but it is very important information that will help you understand how to afford adoption.


  • Fost Adopt is a completely FREE option.  Tens of thousands of children are legally free for adoption right here in the United States.  (If you are reading this in a Country other than America, check with your domestic adoptions options also) When a child is legally free for adoption it means that all parental rights are terminated – plainly – there is no worry about the child being reunified with biological family. 
  • There are tens of thousands more that are still not legally free, but need fostering – they may become available for adoption or they may simply need a family to be there for them in the midst of reunification.  Many want to foster with the possibility of adoption, many only want to adopt, many love the idea of simply being the family that helps keep a child safe during the reunification process and only want to foster while needed – this is a conversation to have with your social worker, but adoption of children waiting in State care is 100% free.  Keep in mind that even though it is FREE to adopt through Foster Care, families will still receive an adoption tax credit!  Adopt a kiddo AND get a huge nest egg for his/her college fund too?! Awesome! (link includes photolistings of children available for adoption here in the US right now).  *Please note, I’m not trying to talk anyone set on intercountry adoption out of it – we totally believe inter country adoption is worth the fundraising that is necessary but an orphan is an orphan no matter where they are from!*
  • Employer Provided Adoption Benefits – My husband’s employer offers an awesome Adoption Benefit of $2,000!  We got a check as soon as our adoption was final.  Again, we didn’t get it upfront, but we got our check within about a month in both cases.   We had to dip into savings on both adoptions but were able to replace almost right away – yea!  You know what is sad though?  Of the thousands of employees at his company the Adoption Benefit had only been taken advantage of twice in 10 years….. both times were us.  Check with your employer. Some employers offer even more than our work, some offer less, but it is worth checking out.  You can also approach your company with the consideration of offering the benefit (it makes them look good, it is a tax benefit to them, it isn’t a benefit that many will use, etc, etc) – the worst they can say is no.  Ask at work!  Also, if you are thinking of taking on a different or extra job to save for an adoption – go with one of these companies, you’ll earn income and a benefit at the same time.


  • Adoption Grants.  Adoption Grants are grants for families that hope to adopt.  That sounds fantastic doesn’t it?  The only problem, most people who want to adopt don’t have the $40,000 (or more, or sometimes less…. point is, it’s a lot of money most of the time) to adopt on hand, so they all want adoption grants.  The second problem – celebrities don’t spend a lot of time on TV (or anywhere) asking for donations for these grant organization…. the advocacy that is out there for many charities simply isn’t for adoption charities and orphan care.  I don’t mean to be discouraging, but don’t plan on a grant, apply, but just know there is sadly a supply and demand issue in most cases.  One excellent grant organization that has helped hundreds of families and orphans is Reece’s Rainbow – children with various special needs in countries all over the world are advocated for through photo listings and bios.  Under their photo listings those who feel led can make a tax deductible donation to this child.  Money is saved in an account for this child until a family comes forward to adopt them!  Pick out a kiddo with a large grant and you could virtually eliminate your in country fees!  Children listed have anywhere from $0 to over $10,000 available to anyone who adopts them!  Show Hope is another grant organization we truly stand behind.  There are many other adoption grant organizations available too!  Grants range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand and all have various specifications of those who can be awarded.  Also, ask your agency if they have grants or scholarships available, sometimes they do.  Sometimes children with challenges will have a scholarship available to them – everyone has different desires when they choose adoption, but ask what is available, you may be surprised!  My advice, don’t pay anyone who has ‘insider’ information about adoption grants and how to get them – those people are big fat scammers taking advantage of well meaning people in a desperate situation.  Join Facebook adoption groups, search google, come back here (I shout out cool organizations from time to time), and basically get involved in the adoption community – adoptive families are eager to help you know how to make it happen for your family too – no ‘service fee’ needed.  When I ran a facebook group after bringing our son home called “Affording International Adoption” (don’t look for it, I shut it down because it got too big and spammy, but there are plenty of other groups) it killed me how many people emailed me with books they were selling (you can also find them on Ebay) that promise to get you the secret on how to get grants – that is just wrong!  That isn’t a promise to be made and those grants are fairly easy to find (but they aren’t guaranteed) – if you are going to spend money, spend it on money saving idea books (or better yet, borrow from the library) – just be careful, people are always trying to take advantage. =(

A couple other adoption grant options –

Give 1 Save 1Gift of Adoption –  LifeSong for OrphansBrittany’s HopeKatelyn’s Fund – Holt Special Needs Adoption Fund (Holt offers grants on a case by case basis for children with some special needs – there is also a listing of several other grant organizations on this last link – worth checking out even if you are not contracted with Holt)

  • Adoption Loans – So our family isn’t huge on loans.  My poor husband started saving for college at 15, worked full time through college, and had a scholarship to the Nazarene Private College his parents insisted he attend (even though they didn’t help him pay for it), and he still graduated at the ripe old age of 21 with $40,000 worth of debt…. and an art degree from a Nazarene College.  We hate debt, other than our mortgage, we are doing our very best to do everything without going into debt for it. Our last adoption was 100% debt free!  That being said, if you are going to go into a wee bit of debt, I do think an adoption is the noblest of reasons, and there are many loans out there with very small simple interest rates, or 0% interest rates!  ABBA fund is one our friends have used and suggest.  Keep in mind, just like grants, adoption loans are sometimes very specific – they may be specific to what country you are adopting from, faith, etc., this is frustrating when you don’t fit in the box  – but there are many out there, so look til you find one that fits you perfectly.


  • Friends and Family – you can’t exactly count on this, but most people I know did receive some financial help from those who wanted to support their adoption process.  We had many friends and family members donate to our adoption.  We considered our adoption journey to be the same as a missions or humanitarian trip.  Many others saw it that way too, many didn’t – and we had to be OK with that.  At Christmas and Birthdays in the year(s) leading up to our adoption we would say we were saving for our adoption – we had some people give us cash for our adoption process, others gave us necessity items as gifts so we could save our day to day budget, we also had folks purchase our ‘fundraiser’ items to give as gifts to others in a way to support us.  You can easily set up a page – email it, post it on a blog, facebook, etc – people who love the idea of adoption but aren’t considering the journey for themselves just might donate a bit and it all adds up!

OK – so that is cool about the Adoption Tax Credit, Adoption Benefits, Grants, Loans, etc – but I am not terrible at math, I know that puts a significant dent in the average adoption cost, but there is still a ways to go.  Don’t worry! I’ve got ideas on how to cut every day costs and also how to make money specifically for your adoption.  Keep in mind that in most cases, an adoption does not happen overnight.  Adoption is an exercise in patience, and for many, the wait is a huge blessing because it gives us time to finance the whole process.  We were fully funded when our youngest daughter came home and it was wonderful to not have to focus on anything other than our kids and adjusting to our new normal.

OK – first question – do you have a budget?  If you don’t, you really need to get one!  This isn’t even one of my list really because you MUST do it before you even start to try to figure out how to afford adoption.  It is so much more effective if you know where the money is coming from and going to.  It’s fun, I promise.

Want a little help? Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover is what helped us from going from a little money in the bank and a little debt we couldn’t make go away to killing that debt, not accruing any more, and even having more in savings! This book is a great investment!  I don’t necessarily agree with everything Dave Ramsey does, but he does have some sound financial advice, especially for those who simply don’t have a budget in place.


So, cutting costs is a really great way to save for an adoption.  I totally respect there are people reading this that are extremely frugal and already have tight budgets, but the average American has corners available to cut.  Please don’t be discouraged if some of these don’t work for you, we did all of these and it was well worth it.  Even though we are not planning to adopt anytime soon, we still do many of these things so we can donate at least a little bit every time a friend (or friend of a friend, or random stranger I happened upon on the internet) is fundraising for an adoption.

Here are 50 ways (yes 50) ways to cut costs while you are working towards a debt free adoption, or pondering adoption for the future, or hoping to find a little extra to help fund a friend’s adoption (side note, this list could be 100, I don’t want to brag but I am super awesome at being cheap…. so I might have a follow up article, stay tuned) ……..

Below are 50 ways to cut costs to put money towards your adoption fees ……


adoption resources

50 Ways to Cut Costs to save money for an adoption

1) Coupons – If you don’t use coupons, please know I have heard every excuse. “I don’t eat that kind of food, I only eat organics, I don’t have time for that, I use store brands and they are cheaper, etc.”  Here’s the deal – there are coupons for organic foods, there are coupons for non food items, there are amazing Money Saving Websites that do ALL the coupon organizing for you (for FREE), there are coupons for store brands and if you learn to use a sale cycle and a coupon cycle together you can get national brand items for cheaper than store brand items.  Skeptical?  I totally get it!  Start by following a Money Saving Website – one of my favorites is Money Saving Mom – totally free, totally safe website that will show you updated coupon match ups for virtually every store you can think of “Oh Kate, I only shop at Trader Joe’s so…” Trader Joe’s accepts coupons.  True story.  Go through the items you have in your cupboard – email those companies and ask them if they have coupons – many will have them printables right on their site, and others will be willing to send you some.  Playing The Drug Store Game is a great way to get lots of toiletries and personal care items for next to nothing!  Target has an awesome Cartwheel App that you can add up savings on your smart phone literally while you stand in line! I couponed for years and I still do a bit.  I NEVER spent more than 30 minutes – 1 hour on weekly prep with coupons – never.  I am not an ‘extreme’ couponer by any means, and we eat VERY little processed food, but I easily saved 30 – 40% on groceries and household supplies I was going to buy anyway!

2) STOP using coupons – wait, what?  If you are one of those people that stock piles a bunch of stuff you will never use because it was a quarter – quit it.  Oddly enough, you might be able to save money by working through your stockpile, donating those things you won’t use (tax write off – oh yeah!), and then really debate what you ‘need’ when clipping a coupon.  We eat pretty simply – example – we don’t drink soda, even if we could get it really cheap it still isn’t going to cost less than free water right?

3) Try different stores.  Discount stores, 99 cents stores, and second run stores can be a treasure trove –  I found that I could buy paraben and sulfate free body wash for us at Grocery Outlet for cheaper than the store brand conventional stuff at regular stores.  I buy fancy schmancy sulfate free expensive shampoo for me cheaper than at the drug store at Marshalls (bonus points for after Christmas clearance stock up!).  I’ve bought organic produce at the 99 cent store (for real, I went in for stuff for birthday party bags and came out with a bunch of organic produce – what?!).

4) Stop using paper napkins, paper towels, and plastic bags – we use inexpensive wash clothes from (you guessed it) the 99 cents store!  Pop it in the washing machine and voila – new free napkins and wash cloths!  We use as many reusable containers for lunches as possible too.  Using reusable bags at grocery stores and Target tends to get me a tiny discount on my shopping trip too! Is it a ton of money? Nope, but it adds up!

5) Wash in cold as often as possible – save money washing your clothes in cold.

6) Hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.

7) Use Energy Efficient bulbs and appliances when you can.

8) Use a fan in the summer.  Live somewhere where it gets crazy hot and you are really considering getting an air conditioner?  Check out this DIY air conditioner instructional video – it isn’t pretty, but maybe it holds you off of a several thousand dollar purchase for a bit?

9)  Use extra blankets and jackets in the winter.  It sounds simple, but so many don’t.  I know I had to train myself to get a jacket instead of switching on the heater.  It sure did save a lot of money though!

10) Got a baby? Make your own baby food in the crock pot.

11) Plant a garden – OK , so this can cost money to set up and it doesn’t work for every house – but think about it!  At our last house we grew tomatoes, onions, and herbs; that was about all we could get to grow.  Grandma was kind enough to let us take home buckets of free peaches every year which were awesome for smoothies.  Nearly four years ago we joined a community garden to grow more veggies and fruits and it was awesome!  We recently moved into a new house with a backyard that is not exactly huge, but we have great light and we are using just about every space we can for fruits and veggies.  We have not bought a single ‘decorative’ plant – it’s all edible.  We refer to it as “Tomorrowland”, I plan on talking more about it later.  It’s edible but it is also beautiful!  We didn’t put it all in on one day – we put it in a little at a time and 6 months in it has more than paid for itself and now we are pretty much eating free food everyday!  If you have the space this is something that you gotta do!  If you don’t have the space think outside the box – grandma’s house?  community garden?  balcony garden?

12) Thrift.  Check out my Thrifting Haul Here! We love thrift stores so much!  The key is to plan ahead, look for things before you immediately need them!  Goodwill, Salvation Army, and area thrift stores are great places to find everything from appliances (make sure they work) to furniture to clothing and books!

13) Garage Sales!  This is even better than thrifting in my opinion!  Check out community garage sales in your area and make a list of things you need.  It is not uncommon for me to get quality clothing items for 50 cents or less.  We buy the kid’s books for no more than 50 cents – we usually spend a quarter! We used to have a higher clothing and decor budget (it wasn’t very big and I never really felt like we had enough in the budget) but now that we do almost all of our clothing and decor shopping at thrift stores and garage sales we have actually cut it in half!

14) Humbly accept ‘hand me downs’ – I wouldn’t say to go and beg for them, but if it is offered – go for it!  Make sure to look for opportunities to pass down too!

15) Library – borrow instead of buy.  The Library offers books, CDs, magazines, and DVDs all for free!  Many also offer free museum passes!

16) Swap with friends – maybe a friend has a skill you could swap with (you are a hair stylist, she offers graphic design and you help each other out?)

17) Ditch private school (even private preschool) and opt for public.  Our big kids went to public preschool and everyone was all *gasp* “They aren’t going to Christian preschool?” Nope.  I can teach them about Jesus at home for free and public preschool was safe and awesome and it was 1/4 of the price. I promise the State can teach your kids about colors and numbers.

18) Pack your own lunch for school and work.  When I worked in an office I was the only one who ‘brown bagged’.  I bought lunch with the girls on Friday, that was it.  Everyone went out to lunch Monday through Friday except me, I sat in the company provided lunch room and ate by myself every Monday through Thursday.  I made the least amount of money and from what I gathered from conversation on Friday, I had the least amount of debt too.  Go figure.

19) Say no to soda and water bottles.  We don’t buy soda for the house and we RARELY drink it out.  We brew our own coffee and tea.  We use reusable water containers.  We don’t have juice in the house and the kids rarely have juice out.

20) Drop a couple meals out.

21) Meatless Mondays!  Honestly, you all should do this anyway – it’s better for you!  Try at least one meat free meal a week, if you already do that, try one more day.  Don’t starve yourself for the cause, but it is not hard to eat bean burritos or quinoa salad if it means you can adopt debt free right?

22) Ditch Cable.  Or ditch TV all together.  We had only basic channels forever, like 12 channels and only about half were in English and guess what?!  We totally survived.  The only reason we have more now is because we moved and there was some kind of free for a year thing.  Guess what, in a year we will stop having all those channels we don’t watch anyway.  Hulu and Netfix and the Internet can give you all you want and more.  I know a lot of people with one jillion channels and a $200 a month cable bill whining about how they can’t afford the adoption they really want to start…. well I mean, you could….. but only if you love the idea of it more than extended cable.

23) Piggy backing on ditching cable – do you need satellite radio? Another iPad, a newer computer?  I didn’t even get an iPhone until our youngest came home, did I want one? YES!  But I didn’t want another bill so we lived without.

24) Convenience foods.  I can buy 2 lbs of organic popcorn kernels for less than what one box of microwave popcorn costs.   For real.  We make our own black beans in the crock pot, we make our own frozen pancakes and waffles.  We make our own smoothies at home; I seriously cannot believe there are companies that sell frozen “Smoothie mix”.  Boxed pasta kits are crazy expensive it is just a tiny bit of pasta and a little bit of seasonings!  You don’t have to go crazy with this, like, I don’t make my own bread or tortillas anymore because they are cheap and they take a lot of work, but a lot of expensive stuff can be made from home.

25) Ditch your Gym Membership.  You can run for free.  I hate running more than anything, but I do it because it is free and I have been told it is good for me.  I also find free workout videos online!  Surveys say most people who sign up for the gym never use it but pay for it for YEARS.  Drop it, that is wasted money!  This was hard for me because I actually used my gym membership a lot but it just was such an easy thing to save money on it had to go.

26) Kid’s activities.  Our kids have a lot of fun, but we have never really spent a lot of money.  Our kids take cheap swim lessons for a couple weeks during the summer (to be fair, they aren’t champion swimmers, but they won’t drown), my daughter takes dance at the least expensive dance school around where they do not even offer competition (I saw my friend’s 7 year old’s competition make up purchase sheet….. I almost died).  Both big kids have played sports on community teams.  Our nearly three year old has never been in a paid class of any kind (other than 2 weeks of swimming last year), which may sound normal to you, but I have been asked several times when we are signing her up for dance.  “Um, I don’t know, like when she is old enough to understand You Tube isn’t her classroom probably.”

27)  Our activities – OK so I know this is not everyone, it certainly isn’t us and please know I am not judging if it is you.  But I have had people with country club memberships and a weekly golf game tell me they can’t afford adoption.  I seriously am not judging, but could you maybe give that up for like a year?

28) Vacation fund – If you go on Vacation once a year maybe put that money towards your adoption.  “Oh, but I get all these points so it is totally free!”  Well, it isn’t totally free and you can apply those miles to your travel (even if it is domestic you will likely have to travel.)  Go on a mini staycation or better yet, don’t even do that.  Stay at home, hang out, do some ‘do it yourself’y stuff – that is pretty much what we do.

29) Stop buying cleaning supplies – WHAT?!  We need to be clean Kate.  Did you know cleaning with vinegar and baking soda is just as effective (if not more so) than conventional household cleaners?  Did you know it is safer for your family, your pets, and the environment?  It is.  Win win!

30) Clean the couch instead of buying a new one.  This goes for more than just couches.  We just didn’t buy new stuff for a very long time.  We still don’t, we aren’t planning on an adoption, but we want to pay for braces without debt and trying to fix up our fixer upper without debt, so we just don’t spend much.  Cleaning something and making due what just part of the process.

31) Hold on to your car a little longer.  So many people buy a car ever 2 or 3 years.  I kinda want to do that sometimes honestly.  We could easily afford an ‘average’ car payment for both of us.  But you know what is awesome?  Not having a car payment.  Our cars are nothing fancy, but they are owned free and clear and we plan on driving them into the ground. 

32) Use Online Daily Deals for Stuff you buy anyway.  Key words “Stuff you buy anyway”.  Oil changes, hair cuts, grocery stores, etc – keep an eye out!  *bonus points for making money or credits by sharing those Daily Deals….. I will share another post about making money in a later post*

33) Car Maintenance – do you typically pay to have your oil changed or car washed?  Maybe you can do it yourself and save some money.

34)  Look into your insurance – sometimes you can save hundreds (or more) a year by taking a good look at what you are paying in insurance.  We found we were HIGHLY over insured on our cars.  If we were driving $50,000 cars that weren’t paid off then we needed the level of coverage we had…. but our cars weren’t worth $20,000 COMBINED and they were paid off!  Silly us.

35) Carpool and combine trips.

36) Hosting a birthday party?  Take it down a notch.  I will never be accused of having fancy birthday parties, but we even got more low key.  We decorate with stuff we have, we use Evite or Facebook invites (no stamps or stationary).  We host right between lunch and dinner so we provide yummy snacks and cake but no full meal.  We don’t have a bunch of games, often times we don’t even have goody bags (don’t you want to come? LOL!).  But you know what?  Everyone has fun.  Oh, we also say ‘no present needed’ because we truly want our friends to come, even if they are on tight budget (and seriously…. I don’t need another toy in this house ;-))

37) Start a blog – free entertainment and it can keep others informed (if you write about your adoption that is).  Do you know you can make money with a blog? This blog is literally my job. You might want to start a blog to fundraise, but also as a way to make money. Read how I started a money making blog here. We not only saved money with blogging but also MADE money that we used towards our adoption process.  Fast forward several years later and now it is my ‘work at home mommy’ job!

38) Tax Refund?  Put it in the bank! Being able to afford your adoption process is so much more rewarding than a fancy pair of jeans or a dinner out.

39)  More than 70% of manufacturers rebates are never claimed – what the heck?  That’s free money you guys!!  When do buy something get that rebate if it is offered!

40) Video games – come on you guys – is that a necessity?  It’s kinda like TV to me.  It is SO expensive!  Stop buying new games and play with what you have, swap with friends, some libraries even have games you can rent!  Bonus points for selling the whole system and playing outside.

41) Swap babysitting.  Swap with a friend instead of paying for a sitter, if this is a typical expense for your family you can easily save!

42) Ditch your phone.  If you have a cell phone, get rid of the home phone.  Save money each month and less telemarketers!

43)  Sign up for online freebies – believe it or not – you can save a decent amount of money getting freebies in the mail!  It adds up but most of the free items come with a very high value coupon! We got everything from free shampoo to baby supplies to books and new to the market foods!  Some of these freebies were full sized products! It was kinda awesome! *note – use a junk email address*

44) Enjoy FREE Community Events and save whatever your Entertainment Budget is.  I mentioned this before, we started San Diego Deals and Steals as a way to organize the free events we were enjoying anyway while we were paying off our adoption debt.  Google “FREE EVENTS” and your cities name, you will very likely come up with a similar website as mine, there are several in San Diego.  If there isn’t one, start one.  It will save you so much money, it is a free hobby, and again, I will explain later how you can use it to generate income!  Find out when there are local street fairs, festivals, concerts, the library entertainment schedules, etc in your area.  We found free bowling and free kid’s movies during the summer and free admission to local museums!  Cutting an entertainment budget can pad an adoption account, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have fun!

45) Theme Park / Zoo / Etc  Memberships – OK so this one is hard because you know I love me a good theme park, aquarium, or zoo.  You also probably know that with what I do our family is often invited to fun places as media.  I should let you know that before that was part of the perks of having a moderately successful blog, we paid for those tickets like everyone else.  Before our adoption we had Zoo, Disneyland, and LEGOLAND memberships (not all at the same time).  When we started our adoption processes (both times) we let them lapse and didn’t have any memberships the entire duration of our adoption process.  Seriously, not a big deal.  You can live without it for a while.

46)  Movie dates and kid’s movies out.  Again, you know I love me a good movie date!  Before movie prescreenings were part of our deal we RARELY went to the movies except during the Summer and our birthdays.  During the Summer we enjoyed FREE and $1 Summer Movies for the kids!  When we did go out there was no popcorn or drinks.  We really enjoy getting out a movie from our garage sale collection or streaming for free on Hulu and making homemade popcorn.  Practically free, eat all the home snacks you want, and we don’t even have to gas up the car.

47)  Unplug appliances not in use.  OK, I thought this was crazy when I heard of it, but seriously, try it!  Apparently when you have appliances plugged in (Lamps, coffee pots, TV in the guest room, etc) that aren’t being used they are still sucking a wee bit of energy out.  Stop this ‘vampire’ energy suck by unplugging appliances you aren’t using.

48)  Buy “loss leaders” – check out what is on sale (the front page of sales ads are typically the lowest) and menu plan around those.  Is that too much work for you?  Follow a website that offers Store Sale Coupon and Meal Planning Match ups – they seriously do all the work for you (oh, and they are free!)

49)  Stretch out hair appointments.  Please know you are hearing this from a girl who started going grey at 16 and was more than 50% grey before I was thirty.  So sad.  I tried dying my hair at home but the consistency was never right.  While letting my hair just grow out grey would be the obvious least expensive option I was not ready to do that.  I did stretch out my hair appointments further than what I would have liked while we were fundraising.  I also found a good salon that was reasonably priced.  Look for daily deals and cross reference with Yelp reviews.  You might be able to get 50% off or more than what you typically pay.

50) Shop only once a week (or less).  Menu plan around the best deals and make sure to buy enough (but not too much!) once a week.  Simply avoiding that “I just need two things” trip to Target that turns into 15 things in the cart can save quite a bit of time and money!

This list was one of the first drafts I put in my queue.  Work kept getting in the way but I do hope this is something that is helpful for the adoptive families and those who are curious about adoption who find their way to our blog.  I do hope it is helpful to you (or your friends) who may be considering adoption.  Do you have other adoption resources you want to list in the comment section? Please do!

*UPDATE* many readers and friends have suggested the book Adopt without Debt – I actually have not read it but it has some great reviews.  I have decided to add it as an option to read on this list.  I have included my affiliate link to Amazon and I will be using any money I make through purchases to donate to adoption grants each month.  I always suggest checking out books at the library too – but this is not an expensive book and likely has even more options available!



At the end of the day – remember you do not need to pay for adoption fees all at once, start saving now, cut back, find a couple fundraisers, and just breathe!  If you were wondering how to afford adoption, I really hope this was helpful.  If you have any other ideas on how to afford adoption please leave it in the comment section.




Until Next Time ~ Kate
Comments: 22 Responses
  1. Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for including fost to adopt as an option. So many people leave that out when speaking on adoption thinking that international or private are the only ways to go. We adopted our now 9 year old through the foster to adopt program. We still had him as a baby and he was and is the most extraordinary child!

    Readers, if you are thinking about adopting please, please check out your state’s foster to adopt program!

    • Tiva Jordan says:

      We also adopted through the foster care system. Our 9 year old was adopted almost 5 years ago and in a week we will adopt her 3 siblings whom we’ve had for the past 2 years. Foster adopt is definitely a great way to go!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing these resources! We are hoping to start our adoption process after this hardship duty is over.

    • Kate Hamernik says:

      yay Heather!! That is awesome – I forgot to mention – I believe there are military benefits too – can’t wait to watch your journey =)

  3. […] How to Afford Adoption was nearly a year in the making so I decided I should probably break it up a bit!  In the first Affording Adoption Article I shared Money Saving Adoption Resources (Grants, Interest Free Loans, tax credits, and 50 ways to cut costs to save money for your adoption), now I want to focus on ways to generate income to use towards your adoption process.  Saving money is great but if you can make some money towards your adoption fees that is going to really help you Adopt Debt Free! […]

  4. […] to adopt but are worried about the cost – check out our 30 adoption fundraiser ideas here, Our Adopt Debt Free resources page , and 50 ways to cut costs when considering […]

  5. […] If you are interested in Adoption but think it is just too costly – please check out our Affording Adoption Resources Post as well as 30+ Adoption Fundraisers that we […]

  6. […] If you are thinking “Oh man, that is so cool, I’d love to adopt but we could never afford to adopt.”  Here is a little diddy I shared earlier – Adoption Grants (yep, free money for people who want to adopt!), a $13,000 tax credit for adoptive families (yep, more free money), Employer adoption benefits, and a boatload of money saving ideas —> How to Afford Adoption […]

  7. […] a couple months ago I finally published “How to Afford Adoption…” as well as “30+ Fundraising Ideas for your Adoption” and I really thought […]

  8. […] Ryker!  If you are interested in Adoption but think it is just too costly – please check out our Affording Adoption Resources Post as well as 30+ Adoption Fundraisers that we used!  Not everyone is called to adopt, but […]

  9. Ashley says:

    I read this article and loved it. Thank you for all the great ideas and info! I am a 24-year-old woman, and although I am not yet engaged or ready to have children, I do think about having children often. I decided I wanted to adopt when I was 16 years old, and people are always trying to discourage me because it is expensive. I don’t think that’s a very good excuse to not do it, but I do listen and am aware I will need to start saving and planning for my future now. I also read your things we don’t buy and things we don’t buy often lists. They were both great, and I wanted to share something that I have never bought in my life. I have never bought makeup. Not once. I have saved literally thousands of dollars on something that most women consider a necessity. My mother never wore makeup, neither of her two sisters wore makeup, and their mother never work makeup. Growing up, I was told I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until I was 16, and by then I didn’t want to anymore because I would rather sleep in an extra 15 minutes every morning. I am not against makeup though. I was in drama club through high school and college, so I of course wore stage makeup and eventually learned how to apply it myself. And on occasion if I go out to the bar or a sporting event with friends, I may borrow a girlfriend’s eyeshadow in the color of the team or holiday just to be festive, but I have never bought it, and I never wear it in my regular life. Not even coverup. Everyone gets acne, so why should I pretend I don’t? (I do use acne medicine though, but if I have an occasional breakout, I don’t stress about it.) And guess what. I’ve never had trouble making friends, getting a boyfriend, or landing a job. Unless you count lip balm and nail polish as makeup, I’ve never bought makeup. But saving time and money is not even the best part of not wearing makeup. I love that I have strong beautiful women role models in my life who taught me I didn’t need to wear makeup to be beautiful, and I can’t wait to teach that to my future children. I’ll tell my kids they can wear makeup when they’re 16 if they want to, but hopefully they’ll outgrow the yearn like I did. I’m not saying makeup is bad and you shouldn’t buy it because I get that it can be fun. I pluck my eyebrows daily and spend a lot of money on my hair because I gotta be a little girly! But my point is wearing less makeup or wearing the same amount of makeup less often can save big. And if you have a big expense coming up like an adoption, not buying makeup weekly or monthly or however often you buy it can really help!

  10. […] However, with the proper planning and knowledge about the different types of adoptions and available resources, it will be easier to develop a budget and set a plan in motion. A great book that has helped a lot […]

  11. KellyB says:

    Wonderful information – thank you for sharing it. Your children are beautiful!

  12. […] below!  If you have thought adoption is out of the question because of the cost please see our How to Afford Adoption blog post – we are not a wealthy family and we used many of these tips when we adopted 8 years ago and […]

  13. How to Adopt says:

    […] shared ways to pay for your adoption fees and also FREE adoption options through foster care in our How to afford adoption article and adoption fundraising ideas article.  Adoption is very close to our family’s […]

  14. Great info! Bookmarking this post.

  15. kate says:

    I followed your video and set up an amazons associates account – how do I know the link will work when people by using it?

    • kate says:

      Hi Kate ~ There is a support team at Amazon that can answer any questions but you also have a ‘earnings’ tab that updates daily – so you can see the previous day’s sales right there – I check mine almost every day during the holiday season bc that is when most people are buying & it is exciting to see – I don’t make a ton of money, but I think having an Amazon link is a great tool to save $$ for an adoption especially if you have supportive readers – it might be helpful to make an Amazon store on your page with Adoption books / saving money books /etc for people to browse =)

  16. Sarah Sobocinski says:

    I had never heard of fost to adopt. This was very informative and I have bookmarked this for the future

  17. Cami says:

    Great tips but one I’d disagree with if adopting through a county agency is you have to have a landline phone. As soon as my adoption is final that phone is going though 🙂

  18. […] Language How to Afford Adoption : Adoption Grants, 50 Money Saving Ideas, and more! How to Get Your House Ready for an Adoption Home […]

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