Adoption can be expensive. Very, very expensive. I know – my wife and I have adopted two beautiful children. While they are the two best things to ever happen to us, the agency fees, travel, and other miscellaneous costs added up to the price of a nice new car – both times.
One of the saving graces has been the adoption tax credit: a once-per-child credit on your federal income tax to help defray some of the costs. In 2012, the amount is $12,650, down slightly from $13,360 in 2011. Despite the hurdles and inconveniences* of the tax credit, it is very accurate to say the credit is something that allows more families to adopt.
*For anybody opposed to this credit, it’s not like the IRS is handing out sacks of money to anybody who says they adopt. If you try to claim this credit, you can almost guarantee yourself a “correspondence audit” from the IRS, complete with requests for all sorts of documentation. And let’s not forget that while the tax credit is great, it still comes months AFTER the check to agency is written, the credit card bill for the two weeks travel to another state/country comes in, and all of the other expenses have been paid.
But now, the adoption tax credit is in serious jeopardy of ending – or being drastically reduced in amount and qualification requirements. The credit amount would be slashed over 50% down to $6,000.
Equally concerning is the credit would only go to families who domestically adopted children with “special needs”. What is “special needs”? Well, that depends on the state and the adoption agency. I have heard of some agencies who have classified perfectly healthy minority children as “special needs”. I don’t know if that is to help parents qualify for the tax credit or if it is for a different reason, but it is concerning to see healthy kids labeled as special needs.
If anything, Congress should be working to make adoption MORE affordable, instead of making it more expensive. Fortunately, Representative Bruce Braley of Iowa has introduced House Resolution 4373 – The Making Adoption Affordable Act of 2012. This act would amend the Internal Revenue code to permanently include tax benefits for adoption, and avoid having to repeat the renewal process every few years.
I’d like to think that a bill that supports adoption, families, and can easily be considered “pro-life” would be able to get enough votes to pass. But, given the zealousness by some congressmen to oppose anything that costs money (even something as (relatively) small as $1.2 billion per year claimed on the adoption tax credit) as well as the overall partisan nature of Congress, this bill will likely need some serious help.
This is where you come in.
I ask you to call, write, and/or email your Congressional representative* and ask him or her to support H.R. 4373 – Making Adoption Affordable Act of 2012. That’s it. Take three minutes out of your day to send a quick email to your Representative, letting them know that you think adoption is important and should be supported.
*If you don’t know who your representative is, you can go to www.house.gov and enter your ZIP Code in the upper right hand corner. Click the link to find their office phone number, address, and/or email address.
To make this as easy a possible, feel free to copy and paste the letter below
I am writing to request your support for H.R. 4373 – Making Adoption Affordable Act of 2012. Adoption is a wonderful way to create and enrich families. It is also very expensive. Adopting a U.S. born infant through an adoption agency can cost upwards of $25,000. International adoptions are even more expensive. Even with adoption through the foster care system, expenses are incurred which can make adoption prohibitive for families, causing needing children to go without a permanent home.
The current adoption tax credit ($12,650 in 2012) helps families to offset adoption-related expenses, and has been a tremendous benefit for the adoption community. Unfortunately, the credit is set to expire at the end of 2012, and the future of this necessary credit is in jeopardy. By amending the Internal Revenue code, we can ensure the high cost of adoption is not a deterrent for future adoptive families.
I urge you to support children and families graced by adoption with your support for H.R. 4373.