Sunday, January 17, 2010

Adoption tax credit

This blog is not meant to be all-adoption-all-the-time, but I do plan to talk about adoption issues that are particularly close to my heart (wait until November, AKA National Adoption Awareness Month!). Today I wanted to talk about one of those issues.

There are a lot of different ways to adopt, from a lot of different places. People can adopt from the foster care system (and there are even different ways to foster-adopt), adopt internationally (eg, China, Russia), and adopt domestically. Foster adoption is a pretty low-cost option, but other types of adoption can get VERY expensive. In the case of international adoption, this is due in part to legal fees between 2 countries, care for the children before they come to the US, and travel costs. In the case of domestic adoption, this is due in part to legal fees associated with adoption in general, and in many cases in order to fund counseling that birthparents receive before and after the adoption. As you can imagine, this can be a difficult time for them, and they need all the support they can get.

While these fees are understandable, they can make adoption financially difficult for the average middle-class family. We were lucky: we sold a property and are using the proceeds to pay for adoption fees, and our employers both have adoption reimbursement programs that help subsidize the cost of adoption. And the government has an adoption tax credit. This tax credit, however, is scheduled to end this year. As a prospective adoptive parent, you can imagine that I'd like to see this continue. And having visited a lot of adoption message boards, and knowing what some adoptive parents have gone through to become parents, you can imagine that I want this available for them as well.

So I wrote to my Senator, Bob Casey. I explained that J and I were in the process of adopting, explained the fees that we were dealing with, and expressed the hope that he would support the extension of the tax credit.

Guess what--I heard back from him! It turns out he is sponsoring Senate bill S.2816, to increase the credit and to extend it to 2019. You can learn a little more about it here (including co-sponsors) and you can see Senator Casey's discussion of it here.

Maybe you'll read this and think, "Hmm, that's interesting, I didn't know about that." Maybe you'll want to learn more. Maybe you'll want to write to your senator and ask him or her to vote to extend the credit. It's up to you. I just wanted to write about it today.

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