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Adoption Loans and Grants: What You Need to Know

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If you’re considering adoption, chances are that you’re eager to start the process. However, adoption can be an expensive venture. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, private adoptions can cost you up to $45,000 — sometimes more if you adopt from another country. The high cost may lead you to take out an adoption loan.

Here’s what you need to know about adoption loans and where you can find financial support:

The basics on adoption loans

An adoption loan is a personal loan for adoption expenses, which can include the following:

  • Court costs
  • Attorney fees
  • Home study
  • Agency fees
  • Travel
  • Re-adoption expenses (if you did an international adoption)

It’s important to review each personal loan lender to see where you can get the friendliest repayment terms and lowest interest rate. Be sure to check your potential lender’s APR, loan terms, fees, loan amounts and whether there are any credit requirements. Not all loans offer the same benefits, so make sure you consider as many as you can before deciding.

4 adoption loans to consider

Compare personal loan lenders by filling out an online form on LendingTree, which lets you receive offers from up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness. This way, you’re able to see which adoption loans best fit your financial situation without a hard credit inquiry that could hurt your credit score.

That said, we’ve picked four options that are great for four particular situations. All have competitive rates and terms, along with these special features that make them stand out:

LightStream: Great for longer loan terms

  • Loan range: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR: 2.49% to 19.99%
  • Terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Credit requirement: Not specified
  • Origination fee: No
Pros Cons
Offers 0.50% point discount to users who enroll in autopay Your rates will vary depending on the purpose of your loan
Offers loans up to $100,000 Does not offer soft credit inquiries
If you qualify for a loan with a different lender, LightStream will offer 0.10% point lower rate if the terms are the same Difficult to qualify if your credit needs polishing

SoFi: Great for zero fees

  • Loan range: $5,000 to $100,000
  • APR: 4.99% to 19.63%
  • Terms: 24 to 84 months
  • Credit requirement: 680
  • Origination fee: No
Pros Cons
No origination or prepayment fees Loan offerings limited to certain states
Receive a 0.25% APR discount for signing up for autopay Need to have a minimum credit score of 680 to qualify
Pauses loan payments to qualified borrowers if you become unemployed High minimum loan amount of $5,000, but could be higher depending on which state you live in

Best Egg: Great for borrowers with good credit

  • Loan range: $2,000 to $50,000
  • APR: 5.99% to 35.99%
  • Terms: 36 or 60 months
  • Credit requirement: 700
  • Origination fee: 0.99% - 5.99%
Pros Cons
Offers soft credit pull for applicants Borrowers must pay an origination fee
Low minimum credit requirement of 700 Charges $7 fee for any payments not made through autopay
Can receives loan funds in as little as one business day Loan terms limited to 36 or 60

Upstart: Great for borrowers with fair credit

  • Loan range:$1,000 to $50,000
  • APR: 4.37% to 35.99%
  • Terms: 36 or 60 months
  • Credit requirement: 600
  • Origination fee: 0.00% - 8.00%
Pros Cons
Only need a minimum credit score of 600 to apply Loan terms limited to 36 or 60 months
Takes job as well as education into account when considering your application Not available in Iowa or West Virginia
Funds can be transferred to your account in one business day Does not allow applicants to use a co-signer or co-borrower

By clicking “See Personal Loan Offers”, you may or may not be matched with any lender mentioned in this article. Based on your creditworthiness, you may be matched with up to five different lenders in our partner network.

Adoption loans with zero interest

  • ABBA Fund: If you follow the Christian faith, you may be able to receive a personal loan for adoption that comes with no interest, typically for $6,000 to $8,000. ABBA also offers a Christian Family Adoption Grant Fund where applicants can crowdfund for adoption-related expenses.
  • Lifesong for Orphans: In order to qualify for an interest-free loan through Lifesong for Orphans, you’ll need to be a follower of the Christian faith. When you apply to Lifesong, you’ll need to request a matching grant, interest-free loan, fundraising support or crowdfunding support. Lifesong does not specify how much in loans it offers to applicants.
  • Pathways for Little Feet: This organization supports families looking to adopt through its Pathways Family Fund as well as counseling and therapy scholarships should there be a need. Adoptions loans through Pathways for Little Feet are free of interest. The way these loans work is that as they are repaid, that money is then given to a new family looking to adopt. Pathways does not specify how much they offer in loans.

How to qualify for a personal loan for adoption loan

Each lender has different eligibility requirements for personal loans. In general, though, the better your credit score, the lower your interest rate. If you have less-than-stellar credit, explore lenders who can help you with fair credit.

Lenders will look at your credit history to check your creditworthiness. They’ll also look at your income — if you don’t have a stable job or a steady paycheck, this suggests to lenders you may not be reliable enough to pay back your loan. Check your credit score and look through your credit history before applying for a loan. This way, you know what lenders are looking at when they review your application.

Remember that you should only borrow what you need. While many lenders have the option for you to borrow a lot of money, that doesn’t mean you need to take it all out. Review your adoption-related expenses before taking out your loan. If you’ve already paid for the expenses with a credit card, take out a loan to pay off the credit card debt. This is also referred to as a credit card consolidation loan.

Alternatives to adoption loans

While a loan can be a tremendous help to families who can’t otherwise afford an adoption, it’s not the only option you have. Consider some other ways to cover adoption costs:

Grants

Instead of borrowing money, try to get gifted money. Here are several organizations that give out grants to those looking for adoption loans.

  • HelpUsAdopt.org gives out grants four times a year to those trying to adopt a child. Grants are between $500 and $15,000. The amount awarded is based on your demonstrated need and how much you request.
  • The National Adoption Foundation awards grants ranging from $500 to $2,000. The amounts are also awarded according to need and can be applied toward any adoption expense.
  • A Child Waits Foundation offers two different grants, one for international adoptions and one for domestic ones. Both grants cover adoption expenses up to $7,000.
  • Gift of Adoption Fund grants families trying to adopt up to $15,000. This can be used toward both domestic or international adoptions.

Family help

Reaching out to a friend or family member to help cover the costs can take away the strain of borrowing from a lender. Lenders demand monthly payments, including interest rates and fees, but family and friend borrowing may not charge you interest or generally be as stringent.

Borrowing money from friends and family is doable if there’s a clear understanding from both sides. Make sure you have a repayment plan in place and be open if you run into any hiccups that would change that plan.

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing from family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers to help pitch in is a great way to ask for money without putting the onus on only one person. AdoptTogether is a crowdsourcing site that is specifically intended for raising money for adoption. AdoptionBridge also allows you to crowdsource your adoption. Other major crowdfunding sites, like GoFundMe, are available, too.

This allows anyone who can spare a few extra dollars to contribute to your adoption costs. As they say, “it takes a village” to raise a child, and this lets your village help out.

If this method sounds appealing to you, you may also want to consider peer-to-peer lending. This approach directs users to apply for loans on online platforms in which you’re able to borrow from investors on the site.

Employer adoption assistance

Some employers will offer financial assistance to employees going through the adoption process. For example, not only does Bank of America give their employees up to 16 weeks of paid time off to be with their newly adopted child, but the company also offers financial assistance for certain adoption expenses up to $20,000. Check with your employer to see if it offers any benefits similar to this.

To get or not to get a personal loan for adoption

Personal loans for adoption are available and ready if you need them. But if you don’t have stellar credit, you might not qualify for one.

Luckily, you have other options to help lower costs. Explore grants that are available for adoption-related expenses and ask your friends and family to help as well. Adoption is already a long and complicated process — having money to cover the costs shouldn’t slow down your adoption journey.

However you choose to proceed, it is important to research different lenders, examine your finances, and take all factors into consideration before applying for a personal loan to cover adoption expenses.


¹**Your loan terms, including APR, may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term length, and your credit profile. Excellent credit is required to qualify for lowest rates. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

²Fixed rates from 4.99% to 19.63% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of January 19, 2021 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

³The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and ranges from 5.99% to 35.99%, which may include an origination fee from 0.99% - 5.99% that is deducted from loan proceeds. Any origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. The loan term and the APR offered will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit usage history and other factors. Additionally, the APR offered is impacted by your loan term and may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. Requests for the highest loan amount may result in an APR higher than our lowest advertised rate. You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest rate.

*Trustpilot TrustScore as of June 2020. Best Egg loans are unsecured personal loans made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC. “Best Egg” is a trademark of Marlette Funding, LLC. All uses of “Best Egg” refer to “the Best Egg personal loan” and/or “Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan,” as applicable. The term, amount and APR of any loan we offer to you will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit history and other factors. Your loan agreement will contain specific terms and conditions. The timing of available funds upon loan approval may vary depending upon your bank’s policies. Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $50,000. Residents of Massachusetts have a minimum loan amount of $6,500 ; New Mexico and Ohio, $5,000; and Georgia, $3,000. For a second Best Egg loan, your total existing Best Egg loan balances cannot exceed $50,000. Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) range from 5.99% to 35.99%. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0.99% - 5.99% of your loan amount, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive. The origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. Your loan term will impact your APR, which may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest APR.

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