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Adoption Loans: Is It Possible to Get One?

Adoption Loans: Is It Possible to Get One?
Lauren Ward
Lauren WardUpdated June 6, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Adoption loans are a financial product to help borrowers pay for the process of adopting a child. The qualifications for obtaining one are the same as they would be for any other loan. This means that lenders will look at your income, debt, credit history, and assets when determining your eligibility. 

Can I Use a Personal Loan as an Adoption Loan?

The underlying question to this is What can a personal loan be used for? The answer: many different things, including adoptions. Many personal loans come with few restrictions on what the money can and cannot be used for. The only things you can’t use a personal loan for include:
  • Business expenses
  • College tuition
  • Down payment on a home
Once you understand how personal loans work, you see that they are pretty relaxed loans. If you choose to take out a personal loan to cover the costs of adoption, that’s permitted.While there are adoption-specific loans on the market, there's nothing preventing you from using a personal loan to cover the costs of adoption. 

What Is an Adoption Loan Program?

Adoption loan programs help adoptive parents cover the costs of adopting a child. Unlike personal loans, there are personal requirements. Many adoption loan programs in the United States require applicants to be affiliated with either Christianity or Judaism. Some also place income requirements on applicants, or require them to live in a specific location. The benefit of working with an adoption loan program is that some programs offer no to low interest loans. Another is that many are unsecured, so you won’t have to use collateral (such as your house or car) to secure it.Before you decide what route to take, research how much it will cost to adopt. The loan amount and the actual cost may not be in sync. 

International Adoption Loans 

Adopting a child from another country can be especially expensive. Parents looking to adopt internationally can expect to spend anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 (or more if working through a private agency). There are a few programs that cater to parents looking for international loans, but like other adoption programs, they often require the borrower to have a specific religious affiliation, income requirement, or residency.The benefit is that they sometimes don’t charge any interest on their loans, but the loan amount may only be a fraction of what is necessary. 

Can You Get an Adoption Loan With Bad Credit?

There are many loans on the market for people with bad credit, and yes, an adoption loan is one of them. As with any type of loan aimed at people with bad credit, the drawback is that you may pay more in interest and fees, so it will be more expensive for you in the long run. However, compared to a grant, both the application process and time to receive funds is often pretty fast.

Adoption Grants vs Adoption Loans

There are both loans for adoption and grants for adoption. Because they are two different types of financial products, there are some pretty stark differences between them. The biggest difference is that a loan has to be paid back (usually with interest and fees), but a grant does not require repayment.  The application process is also fundamentally different. With an adoption grant, it can take months to find out whether your application was denied or approved. With a lender, the process can be as fast as a single day.
Adoption GrantsAdoption Loans
Provides funds for adoptive families:
Must be paid back:X
Comes with interest:X
Long waiting period:X
Requires monthly payments and collateral:X
Extensive application process:X
Fast access to funds:X
Useful for fast adoption process:X
Will credit history be checked?

Adoption Loan or Personal Loan Better for Adopting a Child?

If you meet the eligibility requirements, an adoption loan may save you money. The reason for this is that adoption loans often come with no to low interest. The drawbacks are that many of the programs don’t offer as much money as you could get with a personal loan and the eligibility requirements are pretty strict. Plus, with a personal loan, if you have any leftover cash, you can use that money for other purposes. While many people don’t consider personal loans for adoption, the reality is that, for many borrowers, they’re a better fit.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Personal Loans for Adoption 

The advantages and disadvantages of personal loans are basically the same as using a personal loan for an adoption. 
Benefits of Personal Loans for AdoptionsDrawbacks of Personal Loans for Adoption
Fast application and disbursement processBorrower will pay interest and fees
Money can be used for other needsMoney must be paid back
High borrowing limitsIncreases debt
May not require collateralHigher monthly payments than other alternatives

Advantages of Using Personal Loans for Adoption

Payment Plan 

Personal loans come with extended repayment terms so the monthly payments will typically be lower. However, the longer the term, the more you’ll pay in interest overall.Read: Personal Loans vs Credit Cards

Multiple Uses 

Unlike other loans that have very specific uses, a personal loan is designed to be used for personal reasons. You’re not using it to purchase a car, a home, or pay for your college tuition. Therefore, if you have any money left over, you can use it how you see fit. 


There are many personal loans on the market, including ones for borrowers with subprime credit. Compared to grants or adoption-specific loans, you are more likely to get approved for a personal loan than you are with any other program. Plus, the process for getting approved is also much faster in many situations.  

Disadvantages of Using Personal Loans for Adoption

Interest Rates

Personal loans come with interest rates. The size of the interest rate depends on your qualifications. Regardless of what rate you receive, one thing to keep in mind is that you’ll pay more than the amount you borrow because you’ll also have to pay interest and fees.


Any personal loan you take out is going to be debt, which means it’s going to affect your monthly cash flow. If you already have debt (whether it's in the form of credit card debt, student loans, a mortgage, or an auto loan), then adding a personal loan payment to the mix is going to further increase your debt-to-income and reduce the amount of cash you can use for other things. 


Some lenders charge a variety of fees that could also increase your total repayment. An origination fee is a percentage of the loan amount that’s taken from the funds before they’re even disbursed to your account. And if you’re ever late making a payment, you may have to pay a fee for that each time. Resource: 10 Personal Loan Tips: Finding the Loan for You

The Takeaway 

Personal loans can be used as adoption loans. While there are adoption-specific loans, the application process can be pretty long and the requirements difficult to meet. Personal loans, on the other hand, are available to borrowers across a wide range of income brackets and credit scores. Therefore, while they come with interest, they are easier to apply and qualify for.Compare personal loan rates at Lantern. If you’re looking to adopt a child in the near future, we’ve partnered with many lenders, making it easier to compare rates and terms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get a loan for an adoption?
Can personal loans be used as adoption loans?
What are adoption loan programs?
Photo credit: iStock/SolStock

About the Author

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward

Lauren Ward is a personal finance expert with nearly a decade of experience writing online content. Her work has appeared on websites such as MSN, Time, and Bankrate. Lauren writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SoFi, including credit and banking.
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