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Adopting a child can be an expensive undertaking. To cover the costs of adoption, some adoptive families turn to adoption loans. These loans can range from a few hundred dollars to up to $100,000. The amount you can borrow often depends on your financial situation and the cost of your adoption. Like any loan, you must meet the lender's eligibility requirements to receive funding. Keep reading to learn more about the best adoption loans, how they work, and whether taking out a loan to fund your adoption makes sense for you.

What Is an Adoption Loan?

An adoption loan is a personal loan that helps cover the costs of adopting a child. Like other loans, adoption loans have set terms and amounts set by the lender based on your credit history and other factors.

Some nonprofit and religious organizations may also provide adoption-specific loans and grants to qualified borrowers. You must meet specific requirements laid out by the organization to qualify for this type of adoption loan or grant. These types of loans often come with lower interest rates than other lending products, but they max out at lower amounts than traditional adoption loans from a lender. 

How Much Does It Cost to Adopt?

couple holding hands meeting with adoption agency


Adoption costs vary greatly depending on the type of adoption you choose and whether you go through an adoption organization, a government agency, a private agency, or have an independent adoption. Intercountry adoption, or the process of adopting a child from another country, costs as much as $20,000 to $50,000, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway

You may also choose to foster-to-adopt, which carries different requirements and costs. Adoption-related expenses, in this instance, may depend on the country you're adopting from, the agency or organization you go through, and other parties involved in the adoption process. 

Depending on the type of adoption you choose, you may incur several adoption expenses, such as:

  • Court costs
  • Legal fees
  • Adoption education
  • Home study
  • Travel expenses
  • Passport and visa costs
  • Immigration processing
  • Translation fees
  • Medical examinations
  • Medical care and treatment 
  • Escort fees (if you aren't traveling with the adoptive child)
  • Counseling and support services

The Best Adoption Loans

If you decide that an adoption loan is right for you, below are some of the best lenders to consider when taking out a personal loan for an adoption.

Loan results will vary based on creditworthiness, loan purpose, loan amount, and other factors.

Best for Smaller Loans: LendingClub

LendingClub personal loans can be a good choice for those looking at smaller loans, as their loans start at $1,000.


  • Loan Amounts$1,000 – $40,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 60 months
  • APR Range9.57% – 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    600 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Borrowers in the fair credit range who need a small loan can appreciate LendingClub's quick funding and option for direct payments to creditors with debt consolidation loans.


LendingClub can be a good fit for those looking to consolidate high-interest debt, as they offer the ability to pay your creditors directly from your loan. You can also use LendingClub loans for almost any purpose, from home improvements to medical bills. Eligible borrowers who need some assistance qualifying can apply for a joint loan, and borrowers can expect to receive funding as soon as 24 hours after approval. However, APRs do start at relatively higher rates than some competitors.

Read the review


  • Low minimum loan amount
  • Fast funding for personal loans (receive funds as little as 24 hours after approval)
  • Joint loans allowed
  • Direct payment to creditors
  • Check rates without a hard credit inquiry


  • Has origination fees
  • No physical branches
  • Lower maximum loan amount than some lenders

Best for Bad Credit: Upgrade

If you have less-than-stellar credit, Upgrade personal loans can be worth considering, as it has a lower minimum credit score than most lenders out there.


  • Loan Amounts$1,000 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 84 months
  • APR Range8.49% - 35.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    560 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

Borrowers with less-than-stellar credit profiles may find Upgrade personal loans accessible, and its quick funding and flexible payment due dates convenient.


Upgrade offers personal loans that are accessible to those with not-so-ideal credit scores. The low loan minimum of $1,000 also makes it an easy choice for those with small financing needs. However, borrowers in certain states will be subject to higher minimum loan amounts. With this lender, you can expect to pay an origination fee. Borrowers can view their rate before applying without impacting their credit score. Overall, Upgrade is worth considering if you’re looking for a lender that is willing to work with lower credit scores and offers loans with competitive rates and flexible terms.

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  • Accessible to borrowers with bad credit
  • Flexible loan terms
  • Joint applications allowed
  • Secured loan options
  • Direct payment to creditors


  • Has origination fees
  • No physical branches
  • Higher APRs than some competitors

Best for Larger Loans: SoFi

If you have significant adoption expenses, SoFi offers personal loans up to $100,000, as well as no origination fees or late fees. Note that not everyone will qualify for the maximum amount.

SoFi Personal Loans

  • Loan Amounts$5,000 – $100,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 84 months
  • APR Range8.99% – 29.49%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    680 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

SoFi's personal loan offering comes with no fees required and a high loan maximum that may be a good fit for those seeking large loans.


SoFi offers a competitive personal loan product that boasts no origination fees, no late fees, and a high maximum loan amount of $100,000. SoFi is one of only a handful of lenders offering loans as large as $100,000. If you need a substantial loan to cover a considerable expense, like a home renovation, SoFi’s high maximum can be a strong option. One standout feature of SoFi is that it offers unemployment protection, which might allow you to pause payments if you lose your job. Same-day funding is also available for qualified borrowers

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  • No origination fees, no prepayment penalties and no late fees
  • Loans up to $100,000
  • Unemployment protection available
  • Autopay rate discounts
  • Co-borrower allowed
  • Same-day funding available


  • No physical branches
  • High minimum loan amount
  • Good credit likely required

Best for Longer Loan Terms: LightStream

LightStream offers personal loans to cover adoption costs with repayment terms that may be as long as 84 months if you qualify.


  • Loan Amounts$5,000 – $100,000
  • Loan Terms24 – 144 months
  • APR Range7.49% – 25.49% (with autopay)
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    660 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

LightStream is a solid online lender offering no fees, high loan maximums and low-rate personal loans for several purposes.


LightStream offers personal loans for several purposes, including debt consolidation, medical expenses, home improvement, weddings, car purchases and more, making this worth considering for those seeking flexibility. The lender offers relatively low rates compared to competitors, including autopay discounts. Its personal loans also have no origination fees or late fees, which can help keep borrowing costs low. However, borrowers will likely need to have good-to-excellent credit in order to be approved for a LightStream personal loan. Overall, it’s a good lender to add to your shortlist if you’re looking for flexible funding, no fees and a low APR. Lightstream may also disburse loans as soon as the same day you’re approved, making this lender a worthy choice if you need fast funding.

Read the review


  • Low minimum APR
  • No origination fees, no late fees
  • High loan maximum of $100,000
  • Autopay discount
  • Joint applications allowed


  • Rates and terms vary by loan purpose
  • No soft pull prequalification
  • Must have good-to-excellent credit
  • No physical branches

Best Credit Union Loan: PenFed Credit Union

PenFed offers extremely competitive rates on its personal loans. The credit union's loans come with no origination fees or prepayment penalties, but you will need to become a member after accepting a loan.

PenFed Credit Union

  • Loan Amounts$600 – $50,000
  • Loan Terms12 – 60 months
  • APR Range7.99% – 17.99%
  • Minimum
    Credit Score
    700 or above More Info

    A credit score is used to indicate the creditworthiness of an applicant, but it is only one of several factors considered for approval. These credit scores alone are not guarantees for approval and should only be used as guidelines.

PenFed offers no fees and small personal loans as low as $600.


While you will need to become a PenFed member if you decide to get a personal loan there, anyone can apply for membership and the process is quick and simple. Many lenders have relatively high minimum loan amounts, but PenFed offers loans as small as $600, with no origination fees and competitive APRs. If you’d like to view personal loan rates with PenFed, you can do so without impacting your credit score.


  • Pre-qualification is available
  • No origination fee, hidden fees or prepayment penalties
  • Borrow as little as $600
  • Allows co-borrower
  • Funding as early as 1-2 business days after approval


  • Must be a member to receive the loan
  • No option for direct payment to creditors for debt consolidation

Adoption Loan Pros and Cons

Taking out a loan to pay for adoption could be the best choice, but it may not be right for everyone. Consider the following pros and cons of adoption loans before making your decision.


  • Fund your adoption
  • Low rates
  • Long repayment terms


  • You may not qualify
  • Interest charges
  • Expensive fees


  • Fund your adoption: Borrowing funds may be the only way for some families to afford an upcoming adoption, and loans offer more money than grants and some crowdfunding methods.
  • Low rates: With good to excellent credit, you may qualify for a lower interest rate and save considerably in interest charges during repayment.  
  • Long repayment terms: Some lenders allow you to repay adoption loans for as long as seven years, which could make monthly loan payments more manageable.


  • You may not qualify: Some lender eligibility requirements are pretty strict, and you may not qualify for an adoption loan with little or no credit. If you do, you may get a higher interest rate than you hoped for.
  • Interest charges: After adding up the monthly interest fees over the repayment period, you’ll pay more in total costs than the amount you initially qualified for. 
  • Expensive fees: Some lenders may charge an origination fee or other fees when you take out a loan.

How to Choose an Adoption Loan

Choosing the right adoption loan depends on your financial needs and how fast you need the money. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a loan to cover adoption costs.

  • Rates: Lenders rely on your credit score and loan terms to set interest rates. The lowest APRs are typically reserved for individuals with excellent credit. If you have poor to fair credit, expect to pay more in interest if approved.
  • Loan amounts: The amount of money you need to borrow may limit your options. Only a few lenders offer higher maximum loan amounts. Determine how much you need to borrow, then shop for a loan that matches your needs. 
  • Loan terms: Loan terms vary by lender. Opting for a shorter loan term can save you money in interest charges but have higher monthly payments. Choosing a longer loan term can lower your monthly payment but incur higher costs over the life of the loan unless you pay it off early.  
  • Fees: Check the fees a lender charges before applying for a loan. Loan fees may include application, origination, and prepayment fees. 
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Adoption Loan Alternatives

family at home with child


You have options for funding an adoption other than a personal loan. Here are a few alternatives.

Interest-Free Adoption Loans

Some adoption organizations offer low or no-interest adoption loans to qualified applicants. A Child Waits, for example, offers up to $10,000 in grants and loans with a low 3% fixed interest rate. You must meet the organization's financial and other requirements to qualify for an adoption loan. Consult your adoption agency or professional for more information and to see if you may qualify for an interest-free adoption loan.

Adoption Grants

Adoption grants can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Unlike loans, grant funds do not have to be paid back. Here are some grants to consider applying for:

  • A Child Waits Foundation’s International Adoption Grant Program: This organization offers grants for international and domestic adoptions with a maximum grant award of $7,500. 
  • Grants: This non-profit awards grants four times throughout the year ranging from $500 to $20,000 for various types of adoption. 
  • Show Hope Adoption Grants: Show Hope awards grants four times a year, with awards ranging from $6,000 to $10,000. 
  • The National Adoption Foundation Grants: The Foundation offers need-based grants for $500 to $2,000 for adoptive families who complete a home study.


Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe have made fundraising for personal needs easier. Most platforms charge a transaction fee for each donation received. Post your story and financial need and share your campaign with family and friends and on social media. 

Is an Adoption Loan Right for Me?

Financial impact aside, adoption is a massive undertaking and is not something to enter into lightly. Along with the upfront costs, you'll also have ongoing expenses to consider as you add a child to your family. Consider your financial situation and how loan debt may affect it. 

If you're working with an agency or organization, ask what financial resources may be available to help cover your adoption before you take out a loan. If you're not in a financial situation to take on added debt, you may want to delay adoption until you can cover some or all of the expenses instead of borrowing money. 

Before taking out a loan for adoption, shop around to find the best rates and terms. Many lenders allow you to check rates before applying, which won't affect your credit score. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Some adoption organizations and non-profits offer interest-free or low-interest adoption loans or loans. These loans tend to be for smaller amounts than you might receive from a private lender. You must meet the organization's requirements to receive an adoption loan.

  • Adoptive parents have several resources available if qualified that can help cover the cost of adoption. Financial assistance may include grants, loans, and tax credits.

  • Fostering or fostering-to-adopt tends to be the cheapest way to adopt a child and may carry fewer expenses than other types of adoption. The state often funds adoption fees if adopting a child from foster care, and in most cases, there are few or no fees.

  • Existing debt doesn't automatically disqualify you from adopting, but it can factor into the decision. Adoption agencies and organizations often look at your financial situation during the application process, including how much debt you carry.

  • Adoption agencies and organizations may check your credit report and credit score during the application process. Agencies will spend more time confirming whether you have a stable income and a history of managing money well.

  • Adoption costs vary greatly depending on the type of adoption and other factors. The amount you should save for adoption depends on the total cost of your adoption and whether you plan to finance all or a portion of the expense. Determine your financial needs to assess how much you need to save to pay for the adoption.


Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne is a personal finance, credit card, and travel writer. He is the family travel and budget expert behind Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids. His work has appeared on several websites, including FinanceBuzz, Credit Karma, Millennial Money, Club Thrifty, Student Loan Planner and Slickdeals.