Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Adoption tax credit

Paragraphein is a good writer. She is a mother and a biological mother of a child she relinquished. She is one of the few anti-adoption writers I can honestly say I like reading...I respect her opinion....it is clear and honest and she lets you see where she is coming from. It doesn't mean I agree with her but it's a blog that I have led others to read because I think it is a good and decent "different" view from my own.
With that said, I did want to disagree with one of her recent posts about the adoption tax credit.

First of all , you don't get a check for $10,000 from the IRS. It is the advantage of NOT paying taxes on $10,000 (to put it simply). This is also done for new businesses that are being "wooed" by a a city - it's an incentive to build there.

Second, I realize that the Tax credit began for different reasons than it's used for today.
"The reason I point this out is simply this: the adoption tax credit and Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 were started to (supposedly) help drug-exposed, abused, neglected, “hard to place” children find homes."
It did begin to help "hard to place" kids (I hate to use that term, but that is what they termed kids with disabilaties and older kids in the foster care system, it also came to mean bi-racial and AA children). When it began you had to go to your state's capital (at least in my state) and stand in line to apply and when the money was out - it was out. Everyone made a trip on the first day - that's about how much $ the govt provided. With as many people that wrote their legislation and said they, too, wanted help to adopt, more money was put in the "pot". The credit was then changed to include kids that were "hard to place" and international adoptions. But people still wrote.... "all kids are special that were up for adoption, there shouldn't be catagories". Rich people should not be the only people that can adopt, no matter what type of adoption you felt led to pursue.

I am thankful for the adoption credit....without it, average income people could not adopt as easily or at all. It's not like the credit makes everything simple, but it does help. When people have a biological child they get a tax break....we just get a little more as a head start. We would have still adopted a child without it, but it has helped with all the expenses that's for sure.

I don't believe this has anything to do with "racism or classism" ....it is about time the government helped the middle class do something....I'm lower middle income and wanted to adopt. I didn't rip a child away from a mother. My daughter's biomom could not/did not want to have to struggle raising another child. There were programs to help her and the biodad but she decided not to go that route. That doesn't make her a bad person.....and it gave us an opportunity to raise a child.....why can't the government help us do that? Nothing would have changed without it.

It's late, I'm writing with one hand (baby alseep in the other arm) and I see I'm writing in short sentences......yawn.....just needed to speak my tired mind.


Trace said...

We were able to take the adoption credit w/the scammer and it helped us recover from the financial loss.

I enjoy her blog also. I think it very interesting, not just about adoption, but the fact that she is bi-polar and talks openly about it. My FIL is bi-polar so it is a little insight into his brain.

Irshlas said...

I just stumbled upon your blog by way of another. I’m happy to have found you! I’m always looking for varying views on adoption and hoping to learn more.

With regard to the tax credit, I agree wholeheartedly with your comment:

“When people have a biological child they get a tax break....we just get a little more as a head start.”

Many people express anger over “rich white folks” adopting children of other races. One of the arguments used is that having the ability to provide material wealth to these children does not necessarily mean a “better” life. I couldn’t agree more! So, why not assist people not in the “rich white folks” group to provide homes for children who need them?

Ironically, my complaint is that it doesn’t go far enough to assist lower / middle income families to adopt. You’re 100% correct that it’s a tax credit and therefore only reduces one’s tax liability. If one owes no taxes at the end of the year (ie. “gets it all back” ), I don’t see how the credit is helpful at all. In my case, it was only through the generous assistance of my parents that we were able to complete our adoption.

Sorry for the long comment. I’m definitely looking forward to getting through your archives and hearing more of your thoughts.

Tishslp said...

Hey P,

I'm familiar with paragraphein's writing. And yes, it's good. Very honest, very emotional, very passionate. I agree with some of what she writes and disagree with other things.

I've had several "discussions" with her over the years and, while I find her to be exhausting to deal with, she is generally respectful.

I'm grateful for the adoption tax credit, too, although even without it, we would have found a way to raise the cash. People spend far more on their new cars then we did on our adoption.

I actually think the adoption tax credit went up the year we finalized our adoption.....

GDS said...

I won't rehash my entire comment over on paragraphein (I agree has an interesting blog). The gist of it is that philosophically speaking, I don't agree with any sort of tax or tax credit for any particular behavior or activity, whether cigarettes or adoption.

If the government wants for adoption to be more affordable, or for smoking to be more expensive it should do so without manipulating the tax code.

That said, I didn't want to get to far off track over there, but the other commenters have aluded to this. Adoption is primarily a middle class concept, so it's expense can throw up barriers.

There should be other ways to remove those barriers. I really don't want the government involved in funding my activities. If it didn't take so much of my money to begin with, I would not be scraping the bottom of the barrel to afford our adoption anyway!

Momma Bear said...

I am very happy there was a tax credit because it helped us tremendously. But, it is a tax credit, not a tax deduction. SO, it's not just that you don't have to pay taxes on the 10K. You actually do and extra 10k of the taxed you paid back.

I never thought about someone disgreeing with it. I'll have to go over and read that post.

petunia said...

If you want to get real techinical, The adoption credit is an amount subtracted from your tax liability. Either way, why not? It doesn't encourage parents to adopt as suggested.

Tishslp said...

I don't think I've ever heard someone say "let's adopt so we can get a 10K tax credit"; the 10K credit is usually discussed when people are called to adopt and are NOW trying to find ways to finance it.

Paragraphein said...

Hi. Just wanted to say three things.

First, thank you for the compliment on my writing. =)

Second, I do understand that it is a credit on taxes you've already paid. I understand how it works. I still disagree with it. It's still $10,000 (assuming the aparents fall in the right tax bracket, which most seem to) that the government would have had, and now doesn't, because they give it back to the aparents.

I'll admit a lot of my reaction is personal and emotional. It was honestly like a slap in the face to me when I found out that at the same time I was being discouraged from using government help to raise my kid while getting my feet under me (and yes I'd worked and paid taxes for several years at that point, so... I think it could be argued I'd be justified in accepting the help for a couple years as needed)... at that very same time I was being DIScouraged from parenting because I couldn't do it all on my own, without help.... the aparents of my child were being told all about the tax credit and how to use it to help them adopt. It seems incongruous. Yep, it felt like a slap in the face, like someone was saying, "You're not worthy of raising your kid, so we won't tell you what resources are out there to help you keep her... but these people here are worthy of raising her, so we'll tell them all about what resources are available to them to adopt."

Just seems incongruous.

And I still say when we add up all the tax credits over the years, that's a decent amount of money that could've been used to... (fund community mental health centers, fund Iraq troops with decent armor, fund more research into alternative fuels, and so on).

FWIW I don't begrudge adoptive parents taking the tax credit. I understand why they do and if I were adopting, I would too.

But I still don't like it as a governmental policy.

Oh okay, and the third thing: I'm actually not anti-adoption. I (think) I understand why you say that, but I'm not. I disagree strongly with abolishing all adoption. Politically I'm pro-reform, and only personally anti-infant adoption (meaning I could not and will not ever adopt a domestic newborn, but am not opposed to other people doing so under ethical conditions).

Hope that clarifies a bit!

Thank you again.


MomEtc. said...

Nicole....I can totally understand why you feel the adoption tax credit is a slap in the face. I hadn't thought of it that way.

petunia said...

Thanks Nicole, I do so appreciate your point of view without pounding people that may disagree here and there. I am SO against forcing people and coercion in adoption. I had to make sure from my daughter's bioparents that this was something they really had both decided on. We also made sure our agency was small and could give a lot of attention to each mom that came through their doors. They really got to know their whole history and gave them a lot of counciling. I can see from the biomom's point of view it is a totally different ballgame than from the adoptee or aparent's side.

There really should be advocates (like ombudsmen at nursing homes) that make sure that the agencies are giving all girls the proper information so they can make the decision being fully informed of all options.