Extending the adoption tax credit

I love the New York Times, and I was excited to recently see an article in the publication about the adoption tax credit. The paper’s “Room for Debate” section asked five people to answer the question, “should the adoption tax credit be renewed?”

Becky Fawcett, the co-founder and executive director of helpusadopt.org, advocated for the tax credit because, “the average adoption costs $30,000, and many families simply can’t afford that without help.” I couldn’t help but feel angry after I read Becky’s post. Why is money such a factor in adoption? Why should babies be bought and sold? And why are some babies worth more than others? Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised at my solution: foster care. There are thousands of children in foster care who truly need families and the cost of adopting these children is negligible. Visit your state’s adoption resource exchange and see if you don’t feel the desire to add to your family.

Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy, a birth mother and blogger at Musings of the Lame, explained why birth mothers should receive a tax credit: “the current credit is a form of parental discrimination based on class and economics.” I tend to agree with Claudia and feel that families should be kept together if at all possible. If you agree, consider visiting the Adoptee Rights Coalition Web site to find out how you can help. (Claudia is an organizer with the Adoptee Rights Coalition).

Joe Kroll of the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), argued that the tax credit should be refundable because it “would ensure that more families of modest means can provide homes to vulnerable children.” Naturally, I agree that support should be given to those who adopt children through foster care, since these children tend to be the most vulnerable. If you’re unable to adopt or become a foster parent, consider making a donation to the NACAC.

Kevin Ost-Vollmers, a Korean adoptee, wrote that including international adoption in the tax credit hurts families because “the international adoption market is still questionable. Help keep foreign families together, and provide aid to troubled adoptees.” Kevin’s solution is to divert money spent on international adoptions to support families in those countries. He references the Korean Unwed Mothers Families’ Association as an example of an organization engaged in this work. I certainly support keeping families together and agree with Kevin on this.

Finally, Jessenia Arias, a blogger at The Not So Secret Life of an Adoptee supports the tax credit because “foster children deserve a place to call home, but the high cost of adoption deters many families. The adoption tax credit is one of the most important resources for them.” I agree with Jessenia that foster children deserve a place to call home, but as I’ve mentioned before, the cost of foster care adoption is very low. It’s usually providing for these kids’ special needs that is expensive. So, while I agree that adoptive parents (through foster care) need financial support, I differ with Jessenia on the reasons.

When I started this new series, the Future of Adoption, I questioned whether or not I wanted to go through with it, simply because it seems impossible to change the system. So, I decided to start with small steps. If you’re interested in this too, please consider following one (or more) of my suggested “action items” above. And if you have your own suggestions, please share them in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “Extending the adoption tax credit

  1. Wonderful post! You’re so right that we all have to “start with small steps” because “it seems impossible to change the system.” I guess we have to remember that every civil rights movement starts that way. Personally, I get a lot of encouragement and energy from posts like this.

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