In his Presidential Proclamation declaring November National Adoption Month, President Trump stated “We must continue to remove barriers to adoption whenever we can so that the love and care of prospective parents can be directed to children waiting for their permanent homes.” This declaration seems to directly contradict the recent Republican tax plan which eliminates the adoption tax credit.
In 2017, taxpayers may be able to receive an adoption credit of up to $13,570 per child, The credit is reduced for taxpayers with income over $201,921 and is phased out completely for taxpayers with more than $241,920 in income. This credit directly affects middle- and low- income families who depend on the credit to complete their adoption. Adoptions can cost families upwards of $45,000, thus making the credit a critical way for children to realize their forever family.
Americans, adoption advocates, faith leaders, and adoptive families are left scratching their heads. Why would a pro-family political party and administration strip thousands of families (and children) from the critical financial assistance they depend on from this tax credit? Thousands of families have taken to social media and press to speak about regarding how the tax credit “is the only hope they have.” Not only does it seem to contradict a pro-family, pro-life platform, this credit also saves the U.S. government, and thus taxpayers, between $65,000 and $127,000 for each child adopted verses those living in long-term foster care. This number does not take into account the financial and societal costs of children living in long-term foster care. Studies show that up to “80 percent of the prison population once was in foster care, and that girls in foster care are 600 percent more likely than the general population to become pregnant before the age of 21.”
The confusion surrounding the motives for the elimination of the adoption tax credit was shared by the press. The Washington Post asked Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) , the chief architect of the bill and most surprisingly an adoptive father, why he does not support the adoption credit credit. Brady told the Washington Post that “this credit is not working,” which has been disputed by adoption statisticians and adoption professionals. Brady believes the overall combined cuts to individuals and corporate tax rates with the loss of certain tax breaks, will give “families more in their paychecks, especially the middle-class families that are crucial for adoption.” Many adoption advocates and families go unconvinced that the savings will offset the loss of the credit.
What Can you Do?
Contact Your Member of Congress
Many families who are in the process of adopting or plan to adopt in the future and look forward to this tax credit can advocate to save the adoption tax credit. Adoption groups are pushing hard to save the credit. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and the Adoption Tax Working Group have worked diligently to educate Members of Congress on the necessity of the tax credit for the over 74,000 families and children who have benefited from it and the future families that will be affected. You too can take action by utilizing the “Save the Adoption Tax Credit” tool which will send a message from you to your respective Members.
Request a Meeting
As a constituent you have a right to meet with your Member of Congress in your district or in their office on Capitol Hill. They may suggest you meet with the staffer who specializes on adoption and child welfare. As a former program director with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, I have heard from many families who were dismayed they could not meet with their Senator or Congressperson directly. Rest assured that the most important people to contact regarding the tax credit are the adoption or tax staff people working and educating the Member on these issues. Convincing them is most critical. You can find your Members of Congress and their contact information at https://www.callmycongress.com/ .