Adoption Assistance Program

In This Guide

Adoption Assistance Stories

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Begin your journey through Baylor's Adoption Assistance Program by reading stories from our employees who have been blessed by it.

Qualifying for the Adoption Assistance Program

Have you worked 12 continuous months at Baylor in a full-time position?
Are you a full-time faculty member, post-doctoral fellow at .75 or more full-time equivalency per semester, or full-time staff member working 30+ hours per week?
If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, you are eligible for the Adoption Assistance Program.

Quick Facts

  • This program was introduced on April 1, 2017 as an extension of Baylor’s benefit program and commitment to a caring Christian community
  • Eligible faculty and staff may receive up to $10,000 for reimbursement of eligible adoption expenses for each eligible child, maximum two (2) children, within one calendar year. For purposes of the maximum benefit, a child is deemed to have been adopted in the calendar year in which the adoption is finalized.
  • Any attempt that leads to a successful adoption of a child and any unsuccessful prior attempt to adopt a different child are treated as one adoption.
  • After the adoption of an Eligible Child is finalized, reimbursements for Qualified Adoption Expenses may be requested
    • An Eligible Child must be under the age of 18, or physically or mentally incapable of self-care, and must not be a stepchild of the Eligible Employee.
  • In the event that an adoption is unsuccessful, any expenses incurred for the unsuccessful adoption will be reimbursed upon the successful adoption of a different child
  • If both adoptive parents are Eligible Employees, the maximum benefit applies jointly.

Qualified Adoption Expenses

  • Agency and placement fees (including home study fees);
  • Legal fees and court costs;
  • Medical expenses for the adoptive child prior to placement for adoption;
  • Medical expenses of the birth mother (excluding amounts reimbursed by insurance or otherwise);
  • Temporary foster care costs;
  • Immigration, immunization, and translation fees;
  • Travel and transportation costs (including amounts spent for meals and lodging);
  • Counseling fees associated with placement and initial adjustment (beyond what is covered under the University’s medical plan);
  • Qualified adoption expenses that were part of an unsuccessful attempt to adopt a different child; and
  • Other expenses as determined by the University, consistent with Instructions to IRS Form 8839.

Non-Qualified Adoption Expenses

  • Expenses incurred prior to April 1, 2017;
  • Expenses paid or incurred before you became an Eligible Employee under this Program;
  • Expenses reimbursed or reimbursable under a federal, state, or local program;
  • Expenses reimbursed under another employer-sponsored program;
  • Expenses that violate applicable federal, state law, or foreign law;
  • Expenses associated with a surrogate parenting arrangement;
  • Expenses associated with the adoption of the child an Eligible Employee’s spouse (stepchild adoptions);
  • Expenses submitted later than 3 months following the date the adoption becomes final;
  • Expenses incurred after you are no longer an Eligible Employee under this Program;
  • Expenses incurred with respect to an adoption not finalized while you are an employee of the University;
  • Expenses submitted for reimbursement before the adoption is finalized; and
  • Expenses the University determines are not qualified adoption expenses.

Steps to Apply for the Adoption Assistance Program 

  1. Read the Adoption Assistance Program policy.
  2. After the adoption is finalized, submit the completed Adoption Assistance Request Form to Human Resources.

    Attach itemized bills or receipts substantiating the amount and nature of the expenses.

    Attach a notice or record that the adoption is finalized. 
  3. All receipts for reimbursement must be submitted within three (3) months of the date of the finalized adoption. 

    NOTE: The employee must be an employee of the University on the date the adoption becomes final and submitted expenses must have been incurred while you were an Eligible Employee.
  4. The University will approve or deny the expenses within 30 days of receipt and notify in writing.

Tax Implications

The University strongly recommends that individuals who are considering adoption consult with their tax advisors before beginning the adoption process.

It is intended that benefits paid under the Program may be excludable from your income for federal income taxes to the extent permitted under Internal Revenue Code § 137. You are responsible for understanding the tax treatment of reimbursements under this Program and for claiming the applicable income exclusion by filing Form 8839 with your federal income taxes. (Form 8839 and Instructions are available from the IRS and on the IRS website at

If you do not satisfy the conditions of Internal Revenue Code § 137, all or part of the reimbursements under this Program may be considered taxable income when you file your federal income tax return - for example, if your adjusted gross income (as defined in the Instructions to Form 8839) exceeds IRS limits.

It is important for you to understand that although the University is required to withhold applicable federal employment taxes from reimbursements (e.g., for Social Security, Medicare, and federal unemployment tax) and to report the total amount of reimbursements to the IRS on your Form W-2, reimbursements under this Program are not subject to and are made free of federal income tax withholding. If you must include any of the reimbursements in your income, your withholding may not be enough to cover the tax on these payments. Therefore, you may need to adjust your withholding by filing a new Form W-4 with the University. (For general information on Form W-4, see Publication 919, available from the IRS and on the IRS website at

State taxes may also apply to reimbursements under this Program. In addition to the income exclusion discussed above, you may also be entitled to a federal income tax credit for adoption expenses other than those reimbursed under this Program or elsewhere. You are responsible for coordinating the income exclusion and tax credit and for determining which one will produce the greatest financial and tax benefit for you and your family. For additional information about the income exclusion and tax credit, please refer to the Instructions to Form 8839, available from the IRS and on the IRS website at

Resources - Adoption Assistance Program