Beginning in 2018, a proposed tax cut will potentially affect hundreds of families in the U.S. and possibly prevent thousands of children from finding a place to call home.
Earlier this month, the GOP announced a new tax proposal to end the adoption tax credit. This tax credit was created in 1996 to help families afford adoption fees or take in more children to avoid separating siblings.
The tax credit currently awards $13,460 per adopted child, and according to Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, has been a strong factor in enabling families to adopt who could not afford it otherwise. With that being said, families who earn a gross income of $243,540 or more per year do not qualify for the credit.
Approximately 120,000 children are adopted each year. Some of these children are stepchildren being adopted by a stepparent, but the majorities of these children are orphans or have been floating in the foster care system.
The tax credit removal would be especially difficult for the foster care system when it comes to finding homes for older children.
One of the primary voices behind the bill is Rep. Kevin Brady, who coincidentally is the father of two adopted children. Brady never qualified for the tax credit, and he argues it excludes families who do not “itemize” or “face big tax bills.” Brady claims the reform will actually help increase the deduction families can take.
Mary Boo, executive director of the North American Council of Adoptable Children believes differently. According to Boo, her organization has spoken with thousands of families who would not have been financially able to adopt without the tax credit.
For thousands of children, the adoption tax credit could be the deciding factor in whether or not they will ever be able to have a permanent family. In 2015 alone, 64,000 families used the credit in one way or another.
Although the cost for adoptions vary, the 2015-2016 survey conducted by Adoptive Families said families spend an average of $37,000 on domestic newborn adoptions and $42,000 for international adoptions. Adoptions through the foster care system average only $2,600, excluding possible special needs, especially with children born with addictions.
When the possible removal of the tax credit was first revealed, activists created a movement known as “Save the Tax Credit” to prevent further action.
This issue is not just a political issue. It goes far beyond that.
I have witnessed the impact adoption makes on a child’s life. Adoption, for many children, can be a huge factor in whether or not they graduate high school, attend college or keep a clean record.
Far too many children age out of the foster care system without adoption, and studies revealed several of those children never graduated high school, have been convicted of a crime, are homeless or have substance abuse problems.
To put it in numbers, every child who is adopted saves the government $127,000 in long-term foster care costs. But with the loss of the adoption tax credit, thousands of children who remain in the foster care system and who long to find a family will be prevented from finding a home.
So many of us take for granted that we were born into a loving family and a safe home. We did not choose to be born into financial support or a family that provides for us.
What if you were one of these children?
What if you were born into a situation you had no control over? A situation in which you lacked loving parents? A situation in which you were removed from your home and forced to float in and out of the homes of strangers, never knowing how long you would end up staying?
This credit helps families, plain and simple. For a proposed bill that claims “pro-life,” it seems awfully hypocritical to remove the chance for thousands of children to find new life in a loving home.