Saving the Adoption Tax Credit (by Hannah Niebel))

HannahPhotoThe Honorable Suzanne Bonamici
2338 Rayburn
House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Bonamici:

As a registered Oregon voter, I am writing to ask you to support the adoption tax credit by becoming a cosponsor of H.R. 4373. The adoption tax credit is set to expire on December 31, 2012. Ever since 1997, the adoption tax credit has helped parents offset the high costs of adopting children. Without the adoption tax credit many families would not be able to afford to adopt a child and many thousands of children would lose the opportunity.

The adoption tax credit is especially important to me because I have seen the impact that a loving, permanent home has on kids. I have close family friends who adopted a two year old boy and his baby sister from foster care. The two year old had already been in at least six homes prior to theirs and needed a stable home desperately. I have seen the transformation of these two children from insecure to loved and happy. My friends were able to afford these adoptions without aid, but many families cannot afford to do the same without a little help. I am asking for your help, so that families will not be denied the opportunity to give a child a loving, safe, and stable home.

Unless Congress takes action the tax credit as we know it will expire at the end of this year. The credit will be reduced to $6,000, and will only benefit people that adopt special needs children with qualifying expenses. Most families who want to adopt will no longer benefit. The sad result of the adoption tax credit coming to an end is that many families who wish to adopt would no longer be able to do so and thousands of children would be without a permanent home.

The ideal adoption tax credit would be permanent, refundable, inclusive to all types of adoption (foster care, domestic, and international), and continue to be a flat credit (receive the maximum amount) for children with special needs. Enclosed, for your reference, is a factsheet with more information about the adoption tax credit.

Thank you for taking the time to read about this important issue. With your help in supporting this bill thousands of families will benefit and many children would have permanent, loving homes.

Sincerely,

Hannah Niebel

Enclosure: Save the Adoption Tax Credit factsheet (readers, check out this link for more information)

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My research question is: How do you adopt when you don’t have the financial resources?

Rentz, Paige. “Local Ministry Aids Adoptions.” Anniston Star, The (AL) 11 May 2012: Newspaper Source. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.

Summary: This article talks about how a church’s adoption ministry Micah’s Hope has partnered with an organization called Lifesong for Orphans, which gives financial assistance (grants and loans) to Christian families to help with the expensive process of adoption. The pastor of the church’s adoption ministry states that, “international adoptions cost[s] between $18,000 and $36,000, depending on the country. Domestic adoption through a private agency, he said, generally costs about $24,000.” The article informs us that according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, “an estimated 2 million or more children are in institutional care around the world.” You can donate to the nonprofit organization, and it will go towards providing grants and loans for families wanting to adopt. This article is not just making things up. Lifesong for Orphans and Micah’s Hope are indeed real nonprofit organizations that aid with adoptions.

Commentary: This article gave me hope that there are nonprofit organizations out that that are giving financial assistance to families wanting to adopt. Since adoption is so expensive, I am sure it is difficult for so many families who would like to adopt. This organization is just one example of all the help available to prospective adoptive parents.

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Pertman, Adam. “Adoption Subsidies: A Great Investment for Kids Who Need Families.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 25 Sept. 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.

Summary: This article states that 104,000 children in the United are waiting to be adopted in foster care. The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 require states to provide subsidies to families adopting children. Pertman says, “These subsidies, at a median of just $485 a month, help families meet the basic needs of their children, including such critical services as health care, therapy or tutoring to address their sons’ and daughters’ physical, mental, cognitive and developmental challenges.” The article goes on to discuss how many families would not have been able to afford adopting a child with the subsidy. A lot of times when states that are having financial problems cut the amount of subsidies they offer. The Adoption Institute and the North American Council on Adoptable Children help to reverse this trend to cut back on child welfare

Commentary: I did not know that subsidies were available for adoptive parents. How great for states to help aid families who have adopted children out of the foster system. Families with low incomes need incentives like this to encourage them that it is possible to adopt a child and be able to provide for them. Our tax dollars pay for children to be in foster care, but how much better it is when our money goes into providing them with a permanent home. Adam Pertman is a reliable source, since he is the author of Adoption Institute and the North American Council on Adoptable Children and is also Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.

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Greenfield, Richard. “Tax Credits That Are Not Child’s Play.” CPA Journal 69.9 (1999): 61. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.

Summary: In “Tax Credits That Are Not Child’s Play” Greenfield discusses the start of the adoption tax credit in 2006 and how to claim the credit.

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“Save the Adoption Tax Credit.” Save the Adoption Tax Credit. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.

Summary: This website details how the Adoption Tax credit will mostly disappear. According to http://adoptiontaxcredit.org/faqs/ “it will be a $6,000 nonrefundable credit for authorized expenses for special needs adoptions only. This will help very few adoptive families and vulnerable children.” This year the adoption credit had a maximum of $12,650, but that will stop at the end of this year. This website recommends writing to your senators and representatives to ask them to make the tax credit permanent and refundable. There are two bills in particular that they recommend asking them to support—Representatives H.R. 4373, and for Senators, S. 3616. Write to your senators and representatives today so the adoption tax credit will continue.

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Poe, Andrea. “Adoption Tax Credit to Expire If Congress Doesn’t Act.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2012.

Summary: Andrea Poe also wrote an article for the Huffington Post about how Congress needs to act so the Adoption Tax Credit will not expire on December 31, 2012. She recommends calling and writing your representatives and senators as well.

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2 comments

  1. Before reading through your research and your letter I literally had no knowledge of this issue. I’ve heard that adopting was expensive but never knew the extent to the costs involved. I’m rather surprised as I always assumed most of the cost was calculated from the cost of raising a child in general. I truly couldn’t believe that the cost are this high, that is until now. The information you’re sharing needs to be known by our wider community. I imagine this topic has a following, including dedicated people like yourself. I can’t help but think that more people would stand behind you if they only knew. This is nice step in that direction, something you should be proud of.

    As I’ve read through your work multiple times now I can’t help but be agreeable and moved. I don’t think this is just because I’m a father either. I think it’s completely do to the style you’ve written in. Only one line I found confusing, “Most families who want to adopt will no longer benefit.” I now know what you meant from this line but when I first read it I was slightly put off. It read like the adopting parents actually benefited financially, beyond offsetting costs. Other than this specific example though, that I may have misread, your work here is great. I really hope this information reached the wider public. If so I think your goal of getting H.R. 4373 extended would likely be possible. Raising children is expensive already. For those looking to adopt I agree that we should be helping remove unneeded costs. That is to say cost that are not directly beneficial to the children. Thank you for bringing attention to this issue, one that I so clearly missed.

  2. I’m in the same boat as Justin on this one. I know about adoption and how expensive it is to adopt, but I had no idea that there was any sort of financial backing given to those families who choose to adopt. I think it’s really great that the government gives this option to families. I’m wondering though if you could have expanded more on what happens with the adoption tax credit after a family adopts? Do they continue to receive the credit until the child turns 18? Is it a one year thing? or do they get it only for the first couple of years.
    I don’t have a lot of background information on adoption and the process but with all of the examples that you gave it made it a lot easier for me to understand why a family adopting a child would need the adoption tax credit. I like the example you gave to the representative giving her an idea of a tax credit that could be feasible “The ideal adoption tax credit would be permanent, refundable, inclusive to all types of adoption (foster care, domestic, and international), and continue to be a flat credit (receive the maximum amount) for children with special needs. Enclosed, for your reference, is a factsheet with more information about the adoption tax credit.”

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