Adoption Costs and Financing Options for Military Families

Military family

Adopting is a great option if you're interested in starting or growing your family. Unfortunately, the high costs associated with adoption can deter some families from considering it as a viable option. Luckily, there are resources available for military families to help you finance the future of your family. From assistance with adoption expenses to tax credits and non-chargeable leave, you will be well supported with this major life decision.

How much does it cost to adopt?


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Adoption costs vary widely. While some adoptions — such as those arranged through public agencies for children with special needs — may cost very little, most adoptions are between $10,000 and $30,000. Typically, this expense is paid out over several months and can include:

  • Agency fees
  • Home-study costs
  • Medical costs for the birth mother and baby (in some domestic adoptions)
  • Court and legal fees
  • Immigration fees for international adoptions (visit for current information)
  • Program fee for foreign country (in international adoptions)
  • Travel
  • Fees to certify documents and conduct background checks

The biggest variables in how much your adoption will cost depend on the agency and the state or country from which you're adopting the child. Talk to your agency early on in the process to determine which costs are included to avoid any surprise expenses down the line.

What assistance is available to military families?


more about all of your adoption benefits.

Military families who adopt are eligible for a subsidy of $2,000 per child or $5,000 per calendar year for multiple adoptions. While you can check out the Department of Defense Adoption Reimbursement Policy for more information, here are a few things you should know about the subsidy:

  • The subsidy is only available once the adoption is finalized.
  • You must arrange the adoption through a qualified adoption agency to qualify for the subsidy.
  • You can use your subsidy to reimburse specific adoption costs including placement fees, legal fees and medical expenses.
  • You cannot use your subsidy to reimburse travel expenses.

Your family may also qualify for a tax credit to help offset the costs of adoption. Different from a tax deduction, this is actually a credit to your tax liability and can be carried forward into future years if you can't use all the credit in one tax year. For more information, check out Publication 968 "Tax Benefits for Adoption" at the Internal Revenue Service website.

Don't let the cost deter you from having the family you've always wanted. Do your research, check out the resources available to you and make your adoption dreams a reality.


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