While the thought of paying for an adoption out of pocket can seem daunting, don’t let lack of funds discourage you or keep you from moving forward. Many adoptive families have successfully raised funds to partially or completely cover their expenses! Whether you’re looking to raise awareness for your cause throughout your community or you’re seeking financial assistance through adoption grants, there are many ways that you can relieve the financial strain of your adoption.

Below are a some of the methods that our families have used to successfully raise funds for their adoptions:

Fundraising Ideas


·       Evaluate your current finances … and figure out places to trim.

Pray about what can be eliminated or reduced — including that extra cell phone, the cable (do you really need every one of those channels?), the extra vehicle, the online subscriptions, the Netflix, the largest trash can size, the gym membership you never use, the gas station Cokes, etc. Investigate refinancing the house to secure a lower payment or carpooling with friends to reduce gas money.

·       Stretch your current resources.

If you don’t coupon, start. If you don’t price compare when grocery shopping, start. Pack lunches instead of purchasing them, and take coffee from home instead of stopping at Starbucks. Reduce your water usage at home and start turning off every unused light. Pennies make dollars, and every saved dollar counts when bringing home a child.

·       Create a fundraising page.

Pure Charity and You Caring are both sites that charge zero or minimal crowdfunding fees. Setting up a page on either site takes only about 10 minutes, and sites like these can serve as your home base to receive donations (especially those made via debit or credit card) throughout your process.

·       Train for a race.

Register for a run that challenges you to run farther than you have before. (Half marathons and full marathons are great options, and you can usually find one most any time of year within a few hours of your location by checking out websites like and others.) And then set up a fundraising site (or use the one you established above) where your friends and family can sponsor you by the mile ($5/completed mile, etc.). Set up milestones to encourage participation (Supersoldier had to wear a Superman outfit for all 26.2 miles of the race when we hit the $10,000 mark). Side benefit: You and your spouse get quality training time together amid the chaos of adoption paperwork.

·       Or organize one.

One family hosted an informal 5k for their youth minister. Students each scored sponsors and all participants ran a 5K as a group. Their small group raised $2,500 in one pop. This could be as formal and large-scale or as informal (running the marked-out mileage on the local running trail) as desired.

·       Host an auction.

Do it online (I posted my wedding dress to Ebay, and several families hosted auctions on Facebook or other social media) or in person. Some families organized auctions with entire garages full of new, donated items. Others created entire silent auction events in donated spaces (like church fellowship halls or VFW rooms) using homemade crafts and items from those in their community.

·       Host a barbecue or spaghetti dinner.

Ask a local venue, like a church, community center or fellowship hall, to donate the space. Rally friends and family to do the cooking and serving. Possibly even convince a local caterer or restaurant to donate the food! Then charge $25 to $50/ticket … and use the event as both a fundraiser AND an opportunity to share your adoption story.

·       Sponsor contests.

Charge $25/entry for a pie-eating contest you broadcast on Facebook Live. Or hold a chili cook-off where attendees vote for their favorite crock by dropping dollars in their favorite chili bucket.

·       Hold a yard sale.

Ask friends and family to use you as their personal Good Will drop-off location, or volunteer to pick up any items your friends no longer need. Volunteer to haul away leftovers from other people’s garage sales. Then organize a garage sale for one weekend in a high-traffic location. Our three garage sales using donated items from our friends and family earned us nearly $3,000 for our adoption. One adoptive family in the Of Capes and Combat Boots blog community reported that their family made $15,000 on a series of three garage sales! And it only cost them their blood, sweat and late-night pricing tears. (Tip from another adoptive family – ask donators to price their own items. This will save YOU many late-night hours of researching and doing it yourself. A good garage sale price is 1/5 of retail cost, except on high quality or in-demand items.)

·       Host a camp.

Love kids? Consider hosting a spring break camp in your home where parents can drop their kiddos during school recesses. Organize fun games and activities (they could even relate to adoption) for the week, and ask parents to pay by donation. One adoptive family earned more than $1,000 with their spring break camp.

·       Babysit.

·       Petsit.

·       Clean or organize houses, cars and closets for donations.

·       Offer errands by donation.

Volunteer to chauffeur kids, run after-school pick-ups, drop dry cleaning, go grocery shopping or perform other daily or trivial tasks for a flat rate. Many busy families would LOVE to pay their friends to complete tasks that dominate their afternoons … especially when they know those funds are going to a cause like adoption.

·       Give lessons.

Utilize those talents and hobbies! Are you a great photographer? Set up tutoring sessions for those who want to learn. Great with makeup? One esthetician held a Friday night party to give make-up application lessons. Anything you know how to do well, OTHERS may want to LEARN to do well. Offer lessons by flat rate or by donation.

·       Use your skills to make items you can sell.

One family carved and painted homemade nativity scenes. Another sewed superhero capes. Others have knitted blankets, made pallet signs and created beautiful decorations for the home, all of which they sold in person and on sites like Etsy.

·       Sponsor a Decorate-a-Star campaign.

One family raised $5,000 by allowing their friends and family to “purchase” and decorate stars that they then used to decorate their new child’s room. This could be done with any item or any theme for a child’s new room and serves not only to raise money but also to remind the child how much he is loved.

·       Assemble a puzzle.

Design a 250- or 500-piece puzzle using your child’s photo or a meaningful graphic or design. (Online companies like Shutterfly and Zazzle can create picture puzzles for you.) Then sell each puzzle piece for $20. Write the name of each sponsor on the back of each puzzle piece. One adoptive family sold pieces of a 500-piece puzzle for $20 each and raised $10,000!

·       Bake.

DJ’s new mama used her gift of baking to make huge pans of fudge and homemade cinnamon rolls. She sold them at profit around Thanksgiving and Christmas, just in time for big family gatherings and holiday office parties.

·       Host home parties.

Have friends who sell Thirty-One, Party Lite, LuLaRoe, Jamberry, Tupperware, Young Living or almost any other item you can imagine? Many organizations have a give-back program which allows consultants to hold parties for charity. Many consultants are also willing to donate their commission from a single party for a good cause, especially for a great friend.

·       Try Cards for a Cause through Usborne.

You earn 40 percent of each box of cards sold. There is a minimum of 15 boxes to sell, which nets a family about $200.

·       Do Noonday!

If you are homestudy complete, you can use Noonday Collection to receive 10 percent of sales. One family earned $250 from this fundraiser while simultaneously supporting sustainable income for families around the world.

·       Host a Cash4Shooz fundraiser.

Ask friends and family to donate unwanted clothing and shoes and get paid by the pound for their collection! Minimums apply.

·       Bust out some creative ideas from those elementary school fundraisers or those Army FRG fundraising days!

Host a truck pull, where teams of people compete to pull a large vehicle by a rope … and see which team can pull their vehicle farther. Or run a flamingo campaign, where flocks of flamingos travel from yard to yard and the home owner has to donate to have them removed … and sent to a location of his choice. One 4-year-old drew pictures of why helping her favorite cause was important and then went door to door giving a speech about why her project mattered. She sold her drawings to speech listeners and earned $300 in the process.

·       Apply for grants!

Show Hope (Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman’s ministry), Abba Fund, LifeSong and many others offer scholarships to adoptive families. See the list below for additional .

Available Assistance

1. Grants & Loans

I recommend that PAPs do lots of research…not everybody is eligible for grants or loans and
some have special requirements. I have found from my post adoption families that grants
and loans are out there, but they are not often heavily advertised or broadcasted. I recommend that PAPs look at their local grant/loan availability, sometimes there are more benefits available than through national programs.

A Mothers Love Fundraising

An adoptive mother is helping to plan fundraising events for prospective adoptive par
ents. If you wish to learn more, please visit

Community Fundraisers

Community Fundraisers Prospective Adoptive Families can ad
dress their need for help to their churches and other civic community organizations in
their local area.

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
4150 Tuller Road
Suite 204
Dublin, Ohio 43017
Phone: 1-800-275-3832

Feng LiLi (Request Application)

Meet quarterly or on demand, when necessary to review applications.
Feng LiLi
180 Laurel Avenue
Forest, IL 60045
(847) 482-0500

Funds 4 Families

Please visit or call (800) 451-3372 to find out more about
home loans such as home equity plans, debt consolidation plans and refinancing plans. Also
you can consult your bank or other current mortgage lender and a tax person regarding
some tax benefits of the possible loans.

Gift of Adoption Fund

Grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 are available monthly to families adopting children with serious medical issues and for low-income families. You can access Gift of Adoption Fund’s web site at To contact the fund, please call (262)268-1386 or
(877)905-2367, email address

God’s Grace Adoption Ministry

PO Box 4
Modesto, CA 95353
Phone: (209) 572-4539
Families from any state can apply, and they must have an approved home study to be considered for a grant. Qualified individuals and couples can receive $500 to $15,000 towards the cost of adoption.

Home for Good Foundation
697 E. Intervale Rd.
Grants Pass, OR 97527-9022
Phone: (541) 479-5926

Ibsen Adoption Network

(WA State residents only) Meets quarterly to select applications for small grants of $1,000 for waiting children.
Contact Person: Marilyn Bribane
Ibsen Adoption Network
2730 French Road NW
Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 866-7036 Fax: 360-866-7059

International Adoption Assistance Foundation , Inc.

(Formerly known as IAAF)
6420 Tokeneak Trail
Mobile, AL 36695 – 2940
Contact: Donald L. Parker or Linda J. Bushy – Directors
(334) 633-4300

JSW Adoption Foundation

Grants of $2,000. or more awarded quarterly on the basis of need. Preference given to childless couples with an income under $35,000. One grant awarded quarterly. Average grant amount is $3,000, but can go as high as $5,000.
Contact Person: Gene Wyka
Call (414) 268-1386 for application

JVS Foundation 877-905-2367

The LOOC foundation (out of China)

1187 Coast Village Rd, Suite 1-503
Santa Barbara, CA 93108

Ours By Grace

Christian families can be helped by Ours by Grace. You can access their website and apply
for a grant at

Pathways for Little Feet

This organization provides interest-free loans to qualified adoptive families who need financial assistance to finalize their adoptions.

Richard C. Stillman Foundation For Adoption

7709 Massena Rf.
Bethesda, MD 20817 – 4833
Contact: William L. Pierce – President

Sea of Faces
6920-B Bradlick Shopping Center #200
Annandale, VA 22003

Show Hope

Show Hope is dedicated to caring for orphans by engaging the church and helping Christian families reduce the financial burden of adoption. To receive an application packet, send your contact information to us via e-mail to or call us toll free at
1-800-784-5361. Serious inquiries only please!

United Way International can help with travel costs for children who are adopted and who are suffering from serious medical problems that need urgent medical attention. Call for more information (703) 519-0092.

The following numbers are for assistance with grants/loans.

National Adoption Foundation (Grants): 1.203.791.3811
National Adoption Foundation (Loans): 1.800.448.7061

2. Employer Benefits

This is often included as part of a employee benefits package, but not usually heavily promoted. PAPs should check with their HR department. I know specifically AMD, Dell, IBM, Intel, AT&T all have adoption benefits. Up to $10,000 paid or reimbursed by the employer for qualifying adoption expenses may be excludable from an adoptive parent’s gross income. (I believe this only qualifies once the adoption is complete though, they would have to check with HR)

Adoption and the Workplace at the National Adoption Center at (800) 862-3678 to find out how to request this help from an employer.

Federal Employees Adoption Benefits

Contact for information about non-cash
benefits for federal employees.

Military Benefits

Military PAPS can request assistance for adoption, visit this web site
adoption/adopt.pgs/helpf.html and learn more about non-recurring subsidy program for full time military personnel. Active military personnel can be eligible for a one-time subsidy for adoption. For more information, please call (303) 333-0845.

Many universities/colleges have adoption benefits and are not necessarily need or salary

3. Home Equity Loan or Low-Interest Loan

A home equity loan is a better option than a credit card because the interest rate is generally
lower and usually tax deductible. These loans can take 4-6 weeks to process. These loans can be secured through local or national banks, credit unions, and mortgage lenders.

Some banks offer low-interest loans or credit lines for adoptive parents. PAPs should call their bank to check.

4. Churches / Synagogues

Some churches or synagogues have funds set aside specifically for meeting the financial
needs of their congregations. Others may be willing to take a special offering designated for
helping with adoption costs. Some will also help put together fund raisers.

CAFA: Christian Advocates for Adoption (

Members of the Christian faith can raise up to half of their adoption expenses through this
non-profit organization. This new effort started when three adoptive dads saw the need to
help families afford adoption. CAFA helps you craft a carefully-worded letter asking family
or friends if they would like to help with adoption expenses. All donations are sent directly to
CAFA, so givers have the opportunity to remain anonymous, and all contributions are tax deductible!

5. Refinancing a Mortgage

Use this option when mortgage rates are particularly low. It’s a “cash out” option on mortgage loans when the loan-to-value ratio allows. Just keep in mind that you will generally be responsible for mortgage costs on a new mortgage loan. Refinances aren’t recommended unless your loan rate is at least 1% lower than your current rate—and you plan on remaining in your home for 3-5 years.

6. Credit Card Payment

This can be a costly method of paying expenses due to interest rates; so PAPS should know the terms and conditions up front. Some credit cards are offering no payment/interest for 1 year or more. Not a method I would recommend, but still a possibility.

7. Borrowing from a 401(k), Pension, or Insurance Policy

This option requires a lot of thought and weighing of the possibilities. PAPs should be aware of any penalties or tax consequences that might apply. A plan/policy administrator can answer any questions a PAP may have. This can get risky…I do not recommend this unless it is an emergency and the PAP plans on “replacing” the money ASAP.


Contact GWCA if you would like to speak with a matching specialist for more information!