For many people who dream of adopting a child, the high cost of finalizing an adoption can seem like an insurmountable hurdle. One solution to the high cost of most infant adoptions is to consider adopting a child in foster care, which can generally be done at low to no cost to the adoptive family. However, for those who decide that a non-foster domestic or international adoption is right for them, one potential way that the cost of adoption may be partially offset is through financial adoption assistance benefits provided by some employers.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption reports that according to a survey conducted annually by Aon Hewitt, major U.S. employers offering adoption assistance benefits have increased from 12 percent to 48 percent over the past 25 years. Employers offering adoption assistance benefits commonly provide reimbursement ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 or more. Some employers reimburse a percentage of adoption expenses up to a maximum benefit amount, while others pay a lump sum amount. In Oregon, large regional employer Nike, Inc. offers eligible employees up to $5,000 of reimbursement for adoption-related costs, while another major Oregon employer, Intel, announced in 2015 that their employee adoption benefits have increased from $5,000 to $15,000.
Prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to check with their employers’ benefits departments to determine if they are eligible for adoption assistance. While adoption assistance benefits are becoming more widespread amongst large American employers, they are by no means universal. Employees who are not currently eligible for adoption assistance benefits may wish to ask their employers to consider adding or expanding their adoption assistance benefits to employees. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption offers an Adoption-Friendly Workplace Toolkit that employees may use to prepare adoption benefits proposals for their employers. The toolkit includes the following helpful resources:
- Adoption Benefits fact sheet
- Adoption benefits tax summary
- Frequently asked questions
- Sample adoption benefits financial reimbursement form
- Sample adoption benefits new release
- Sample adoption benefits policy
- Sample adoption benefits proposal