Adoption - much like infertility treatments - has its fair share of controversy. Perhaps more, when you take into consideration that there are not one, but two families affected by the actions that occur in an adoption. It has its misconceptions, too. I was disappointed by some of those misconceptions that were generated by a commenter on my previous post. Here I was, trying to encourage everyone to do something that is genuinely important, and there is someone coming back at me with negative remarks about the Adoption Tax Credit (ATC).
I don't usually spend my time writing entire posts to address one comment. But extending the current tax credit IS important. It's not me begging for aid from a broke government. It's thousands of adoptive parents who legitimately deserve this credit - if not to recoup some of the cost, then for their children. I have no problem pointing my finger at the government and picking out its problems. But the ATC is not one of them.
Do I think that there are agencies out there who rip people off? Unfortunately, yes. There are always going to be organizations that are into things for the wrong reasons. It happens. This is why it's important for potential adoptive parents to research agencies thoroughly, and to get recommendations from other adoption professionals and people who've used the agency. We are very lucky to not only know a social worker who used to be employed by our agency, but also adoptive parents AND birth parents who've had equally positive experiences with our organization. This played a large factor in our decision, particularly the close attention and care they give to the birth parents.
Do all agencies require classes? No, but some do. Many of these are mandated by the state in which the agency resides. Neither our state nor our agency requires us to take classes. We, however, chose to take classes on our own dime about newborn care and health because that's what I believe responsible parents should do.
Does adopting from foster care cost the same amount of money as adopting from a private agency? NO. Whether you choose to foster or adopt from foster care, the cost is minimal. In fact, the state provides money to families who foster. The only costs that may occur when adopting from foster care are court and attorney fees; however, these are often reimbursed by the state. Reserving the ATC solely for those families who adopt from foster care is unfair to those of us who will spend tens of thousands of dollars taking in children who are equally deserving of homes.
Do I think the tax credit is driving up the market on adoption costs? This has to be the most ridiculous lie re: adoption I've heard to date - and I've heard some pretty fantastic lies. It's called inflation. Every year, things get more expensive. It happens with absolutely every good and service there is in this world. Do you know why adoption gets more expensive each year? There are plenty of reasons. Legal fees and court fees could increase. Marketing materials become more expensive. Likely the biggest factor: birth mother expenses increase. Your rent increases each year, right? So does hers. Gas prices, groceries, water, and electricity: all of these are items paid for by adoptive parents, and all are items that go up in price each year. To blame the overall increase in expenses worldwide on the ATC is absolutely insane.
I don't sit here with rainbows and butterflies coming out of my ass and act like adoption/the adoption process is some sort of perfect and beautiful thing. It isn't. But I also won't tolerate any sort of misguided information in my space. I have no problem if someone wants to pit him or herself against this tax credit. What I do have a problem with is doing so based on false information. These are the types of statements that perpetuate over and over again until the majority believes them to be true – and we can't afford any more of those in the adoption community.