The Frugal Traveler: How To Afford Foreign Adoption

While foreign adoption fees are significantly higher than the domestic equivalent, many people are finding that adoption outside of the United States is the right choice for their family. In addition to the actual fees, international travel expenses add significantly to the overall cost. This is something Andrea Poe, author of the popular Washington Times adoption column The Red Thread, knows about first hand. She and her husband Scott Jensen adopted their daughter Maxine from Vietnam in 2006. Her advice for soon-to-be adoptive parents trying to keep things affordable?

Funding: According to Poe, certain companies offer adoption assistance programs as part of their employee benefits package. For more information on this option, check with the human resources department where you work or the Dave Thomas Foundation's web site ( ) for a list of adoption-friendly employers. She also points to the military adoption subsidy as a benefit many active-duty service members are unaware of. The program offers up to $2,000 per child, with a $5,000 annual calendar cap for multiple adoptions.

Access: Poe advises balance with how much cash you take. Foreign currency conversion fees can be extra hefty in certain countries, and while cash machine withdrawal fees can be tedious as w ell, the cost is often less than you would pay otherwise. Credit card purchases can also get out of control when out-of-country transaction fees get factored in to the equation, so plan accordingly .

Taxes: Tax credits and deductions are another area of cost management many adoptive families fail to take advantage of, according to Poe.'s Dominique Molina agrees and states that for 2011, you can claim up $13,170 in credit for qualified adoption expenses, including reasonable and necessary fees, court costs, attorney fees and similar expenses. If the credit is more than the total of your final tax bill, you get a refund for the difference. For foreign adoption, Molina advises filing for the credit in the year the adoption actually becomes final.

Accommodations: While you may have little control over the cost of your airline tickets, where you rest your head while the process is finalized is totally within your control. For free dig s, check for available house sits in the country you'll be traveling to, or swap out access to your home with a family living in the area on Both options provide a no-cost roof over your head, along with full kitchen access to prepare money-saving meals and skip the restaurant tab.