That's an average of how much an adopting family can expect to pay, out of pocket, for an adoption; domestic or international.
And families do it every day. They sell a car, they take out loans, they stop going out to eat, buying clothes or going to movies for a couple of years, they take on a second job, they start fund-raisers, they humbly ask for help from families, and they make it work. But it's not easy.
The only thing that is easy for adopting families is knowing how desperately they want a child, how much love they have to give, and how hard they'll work to make it happen. But that's where the easy ends.
The bills are staggering, and may pose a road-block to ultimately completing an adoption.
And the thing is--these bills often come on the heels of years of infertility treatments--that were also accompanied by a litany of bills.
I would be lying if I didn't admit that there weren't days that I cried about how unfair it all was; unfair that we couldn't get pregnant..........and for no reason at that, unfair that we had to disclose every tidbit of personal information to complete strangers in order to have a child; our incomes, our health history, our anticipated discipline style, how our marriage was doing, things we didn't love about our own childhoods, and our career goals. It didn't seem fair that we had to drain our savings account and then some, and it didn't seem fair that I was in this position while my friends could have children virtually cost-free because their insurance covered most, if not all of their pregnancy expenses--including a paid maternity leave--a luxury adopting parents don't usually have either.
I don't write this to conjure up sympathy or to play the "woe is me card." When you decide to pursue an adoption you know all of these things. But human nature takes over in the dark corners of the night like it does with anything difficult and you allow yourself those martyr moments, however unhealthy they might be. We all do it with something.
I write it because they are just hard facts--facts that some are unfamiliar with.
I write it because amidst all of the hard work that adoptive parents go through to have a child there is something that the federal government provides as a breath of fresh air so-to-speak in what feels like an uphill race.
An adoption tax credit.
This tax credit doesn't aim to cover the cost of adoptions in full for families. It's goal is to offer a bit of financial relief for those working through an adoption. In the tax year that an adoption is finalized, families can submit all of their out-of-pocket expenses for the adoption. If their total family income is below a certain amount they will most likely qualify for an adoption tax credit. In 2011 for example, the federal adoption tax credit was around $13,000. And thankfully, for the last few years this tax credit has been refundable; meaning it comes back to you in check form that you can deposit into your bank account to offset the drain that your accounts experienced while pursuing adoption.
However, since this credit is not part of the permanent tax code it is tragically set to expire as it stands right now at the end of the 2012 calendar year. The credit would be reduced down to around $6,000 and would no longer be refundable. The $6,000 amount would be applied to owed taxes; this would continue for subsequent tax years until the $6,000 had been absorbed. The near immediate relief that it has offered to adopting families in the past, including mine, will not be felt with the revised version of this credit.
The revocation of the tax credit as it stands, moves our country backwards in the steps that it has taken to build a culture of adoption. It could be a roadblock to someone wanting so badly to build their family through adoption, and more crushing, it could keep a child from finding their forever home.
Adoption needs your help. Even if your children are not adopted, I'm sure you've been touched by adoption in some way. And I'm going to guess, it's been a blessing. A huge one.
The adoption community is begging you to write to your senators and plead with them to pass legislation that would protect and extend the federal adoption tax credit. Here is a link to a list of senators per state (write to them all!) and below is a sample letter that you could e-mail them. The letter was written by a fellow adoptive mama named Callie, who blogs over at "Crazy Beautiful Life."
Dear Mr. Senator:
I am writing you to petition that you would please campaign to save the adoption tax credit. This tax credit is something that helps thousands of children find love and permanency and provides substantial financial aid for the families involved.
The adoption tax credit provides financial benefits to families that open their homes to children through adoption from foster care, inter-country adoption, or private domestic adoption.
The adoption tax credit with a maximum of $12,650 in 2012 has helped to offset the high cost of adoption for hundreds of thousands of families since it was established in 1997. The IRS estimates that the credit benefited 96,949 children and their families in 2010. With more than 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care available for adoption and countless millions of orphans and abandoned children around the world the continuation of the adoption tax credit is vital to providing love, safety, and permanency through adoption to as many children as possible.
The current adoption tax credit is set to expire on December 31, 2012. If that happens, adoption may require a cost insurmountable for many American families, resulting in fewer children finding love and permanency through adoption. Although the credit remains through 2012, many families will not benefit because it is not refundable. In 2013, the credit will decrease to only $6,000 and will be available to very few adoptive families.
Congress must act now to pass legislation that will protect and extend the adoption tax credit and encourage the right of every child to grow up safe and loved in a family of their own.
Would you please make this a matter of importance for your office and pass the word along to your fellow Senators? Your action in this matter will make a difference in the lives of thousands of children and families. Please act today to positively affect the lives of these precious children.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter, it is greatly appreciated.
It's a small, easy thing to do really. It will only take you a few minutes. The adoption tax credit made adoption a more feasible option for Chris and I. It allowed us to relax little about the decision and feel confident that we could do this. It provided a little ease and comfort that might have been absent without it.
There are countless blessings that accompany adoption; the adoption credit is just one of them and of course, in the grand scheme of adoption--a small one.
Yesterday, we experienced another one--one that came with our daughter. Hanging out here............
with Tarah, Georgia's birth-mom.
Georgia, Georgia, Georgia. We love you!
Going to her house feels like being with family. They are family. It's an amazing thing this open adoption we have. One that surrounds my daughter with more people to love her, more people for us to love, and positive role-models to look to. I look at these pictures, I think about our memories, and I know that adoption is the biggest blessing in my life.
I want it to be one for others as well. I want adoption to be easier, not harder. More accessible, more manageable, more do-able. For families............for kids. I want more people to experience this. So much.
One letter could be a step in the right direction.
Thank-you in advance. Thank-you.