Saturday, February 18, 2012

adoption tax credit

Dear Family, Friends, and Followers:

On December 31, 2012, the current Adoption Tax Credit will reduce dramatically. Lawmakers have introduced several pieces of legislation in both the House and the Senate to extend this tax credit.

If legislation is not passed to extend the current tax credit, it will revert to the original amount: a $6,000 nonrefundable credit that may only be claimed by those individuals who are adopting special needs children. The current Adoption Tax Credit allows taxpayers to claim up to $13,360 for each child they adopt. While this may seem like a lot of money, it isn't compared to the cost of adoption. According to Adoptive Families magazine, the average cost of newborn domestic adoption in 2010 was around $30,000. Keeping the current tax credit in place will help those couples that adopt ensure a financially stable household for their children.

The good news is that this situation is entirely fixable - by YOU. I am asking all of you to please email, call, or visit your legislators and ask them to support these bills. (To find the names and contact information for your Senators and Representative, visit the websites of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House.) Let them know you want the ATC extended and why. Tell them about how it will benefit the thousands of couples who adopt each year, especially those of us who are middle class and who have worked hard to be able to afford adoption. Tell them our story - about how we spend nearly $15,000 out of our own pocket on medical expenses, and how having this tax credit will benefit our future child. It only takes a few minutes out of your day to do this. After you've contacted your Senators and your Representative, please pass this message on to others. The more people who write and call, the better the odds of getting these bills passed.

Thank you in advance for all of your support, and for advocating for us and other adoptive parents to your legislators.



Whitney Anderson said...

Thanks, Katie! I will share! There's so many things to fight right now. It's hard to fight your own way through becoming a parent and fight the government every step of the way for constantly moving backwards.

Belle said...

Have you ever considered that perhaps this credit is driving the market so to speak? First of all this credit was originally intended for those adopting from foster care. Do you really feel comfortable misusing a tax credit when our country and government is hurting so much. It would be a different story if this credit were actually intended for those adopting newborns but that has never actually been the case. It's a loophole in the law.
Secondly, have you noticed that the rise in adoption fees seems to have coincided with the use of this credit? In other words, agencies are fully aware of the credit and have adjusted their "fees" accordingly. Is that right? No. But it is what is happening. Check the facts. Look at the agencies who prorate their"fees" based on the race of the child. The fees are flexible which is very telling. And how about the "classes" the agency demands you pay more for than a college credit. Classes that are often taught by agency workers who do not even have college degrees.
Is this tax credit really that helpful when agency's are taking advantage of it (and you!)?
Personally, I would think that it would be better for you to lobby our government to investigate and regulate the price of adoption rather begging a broke government for a kickback that seems more than a bit misguided.
Adoptive parents have a lot of power if they would only use it.

missohkay said...

WOW! Belle, there's a lot of misinformation in your paragraph. First, I'm appalled at referring to the adoption of children as a "market." In the country I'm adopting from, there are 5 MILLION ORPHANS. It's not a "market," they're human beings - children who die before the age of 5 at a rate almost 20 times higher than children in the U.S. Are there people in the business of providing services for adoption who benefit from it? Absolutely. That doesn't make it a racket, driven by demand.

Second, the tax credit was never intended only for newborns. There's no such thing as "newborn" international adoption. And the tax credit helps adoption from domestic foster care as well, which is overwhelmingly older children.

Third, my adoption education was required by my STATE - not my agency. I was not charged any extra by my agency to take the courses.

Fourth, the domestic agency I considered did offer adoption services at a reduced rate based on the race of the child - not because there was flexibility in the fees but because a foundation paid for the difference.

Yes, some people have undoubtedly abused the adoption tax credit - as there are people who abuse every sort of government service. It doesn't mean we should do away with it. The adoption tax credit provides a vital public service and allows people who would otherwise be unable to adopt the means to do so. It doesn't come even close to reimbursing the cost, but it makes it possible. In the scheme of government spending, it's a molecule of water in an ocean of spending. Focus on the real problems - don't attack adoption.

Kelly said...

I will add one thing to Miss Ohkay's education to Belle. The majority of the time foster care adoption is free, if it is not free, much of the time the family is compensated at least a portion of their attorney's fees. Most attorney's that do foster adoption in our state only charge the amount that the state reimburses. Before going on a rant on someone else's blog check your facts.

Whitney Anderson said...

BELLE - Not even to mention EVERYTHING MissOhkay just said (bravo!), but also... "Adoptive parents have a lot of power if they would only use it." REALLY? So, it's our fault it's expensive to adopt? It's our fault that it's a complicated process? It's our fault that misinformation runs rampant? It's all our fault? And, we have the power to fix all of that?

I can't believe you'd say that adoptive parents are "taking advantage" of a tax credit, as if we're cheating the government. That's a low blow.

And, oh yea, what is your expertise on this subject?

Glass Case of Emotion said...

Belle- I would also like to respond and add to the above posters.

1) my agency's fees did NOT raise with the tax credit

2) I did NOT need to take classes via my state or agency

3) how are we supposed to get private agencies to change their ways? You know how I didn't support the "market" or negative agencies in adoption that are only about profit?... I didn't use one! They got $0 of my money for adoption. I agree PAPs should be educated... In how they choose an agency.

4) if ONLY this covered all of the expenses! It just helps take the edge off. The government is not paying for anything, it's just lessening my personal tax burden as by adopting I am lessening the tax burden for the US by preventing a child from entering foster care. Think of my adoption fees as a donation to others in need. Does this change your stance?

5) the ones who will be hurt without the tax credit- Children! Birth mothers the world over! As it is expensive and less families will be able to pursue it. Do I like that it's expensive? No! But I understand the costs involved- it's not a 'market' or the ugly "buying a baby" situation you have hinted at... It's me covering the expenses of a birth mother as allowed by her state's law. And helping to potentially prevent an abortion and make the best out of a hard situation. Since the child will be mine, the expenses make sense to me. Her food, medical bills, etc... I understand and have agreed to the expenses. In reading your comments, I think you are not aware of the expenses involved and how we can't " make it cheaper" as a society particularly with the economy in such shape.

c said...

"First, I'm appalled at referring to the adoption of children as a "market.""

In other western countries where adoption is not an industry but a service provided when all else fails, adoptions cost nothing near $30,000. They aren't free but it seems the average price for these agencies is about $4,000. There is no real reason why it should cost any more than that.

Btw there are private agencies in the USA that do charge much lower fees. They tend to be social service type agencies in which adoption is a service rather than a reason for their existence. Unfortunately, when adoption is the sole reason for an agency's existence, prices need to rise to be able to keep afloat.

I believe it would be best to close all "stand alone" adoption agencies down and do adoptions through social service agencies, both private and government - then you would find the prices drop. Of course, the number of newborn babies available would plummet as well as the help women need to parent their own child is far more likely to be supplied through these social service agencies rather than the stand alone ones.

Btw many other western countries in the world do it this way, there is no reason for the US not to be the same.