In January 2005, I walked down the steps at work. My phone rang and the results of that conversation changed my family forever. That call led to the adoption of my oldest daughter. Over the span of just 9 days, my wife and I went through home studies, physicals, securing lawyers in two states, expenses for travel and then the normal cost of a first child. Our adoption cost a little over $10,000. We emptied our savings account to make it happen. Over time, the adoption tax credit helped replenish those well spent savings. With some adoptions costing upwards of $40,000, we experienced one of the least expensive. I wrote an article in 2009 titled, “Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel” if you want to know more about the spiritual implications of adoption.
Now, I am saddened that the fiscal cliff may mean the demise of the adoption tax credit.
What is the adoption tax credit? Reuters describes the adoption tax credit as,
“the single largest individual tax credit – helps adoptive parents cover the costs of adoption fees, court costs, attorneys’ fees and the like associated with adoption. The credit was expanded in 2011, to a maximum of $13,360, then returned to the lower level of $12,650, in 2012. Without congressional action, only families who adopt special-needs children will qualify for a tax credit, at the much smaller maximum level of $6,000 after this year.”
For even the most fiscally conservative people, coming up with between $10,000 and $40,000 can be extremely difficult. The removal of this tax credit may prevent some couples from being able to afford an adoption, leaving more children in orphanages and harming the future of our society.
Even from a purely economic viewpoint, this move makes no sense. In fact, it demonstrates the lack of common sense that characterizes Washington spending–decisions that increase expense without increasing revenue and ultimately harm those least able to speak for themselves.
Consider the numbers. A Christian Post article claims that, “each child adopted from foster care saves about $235,000 in costs to the government over the life of the child.” So Washington will close a $13,000 tax credit to spend $220,000 more over the life of a child. Perhaps they assume, citizens will continue to adopt, but why not continue the incentive when it helps the government and society?
No matter what happens with the fiscal cliff, we need to make sure that children don’t suffer for the selfish, materialistic decisions of our generation. We have mortgaged our children’s future to finance our own entitlements.
It’s time to follow Philippians 2 and consider others more important than ourselves even if that means doing without some added luxuries to insure a good future for our children.
That means some of us will have to do a better job saving for adoption. Some should donate to help others adopt. Agencies will have to find ways to lower expenses so families can afford to adopt. Christian lawyers can donate their services to defer some legal fees.
We need to get creative to help children. Consider James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (ESV)
Now it’s time to rescue orphans from falling off the fiscal cliff or be there to catch them in loving arms when they do.
If you want to follow the discussion, check out this website dedicated to saving the adoption credit. http://adoptiontaxcredit.org/ For more information, take a look at this article by Michael Foust http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=39294