I Sent My Letters to Save the Adoption Tax Credit

I wrote to my Representative and both Senators.  Oddly enough, I waffled a bit on whether to do it, probably motivated by the fact that it's been six months since we submitted our amended return to get part of the credit.  I'm really frustrated that we followed the rules, yet here we sit, with less than half of the tax credit in our bank account and the rest on some bean counter's desk.

But I digress.  I wrote because I started thinking about the other options for us if the tax credit (if it ever shows up in it's entirety) didn't exist.  Just borrow the money against our house?  Sure, why not eat up our equity to build a family?  It's the equivalent of a car loan to adopt, and that car is pretty darn nice.  So, we should just take out a car loan in order to build our family?

Or, look at it this way, if I had gotten pregnant naturally, then my health insurance would have covered most of cost of prenatal visits and the hospital stay for the birth.  I wouldn't have shelled out $20,000 for that pregnancy and birth, but it would have cost way more than that.  Huh, when you look at it that way, the adoption tax credit is a mere pittance.  Now that I've written this paragraph, I realize this example might fall more into the category of "rationalization" rather than "good example", but I'm tired and this was the first example that popped into my head.

The point is, the tax credit helped us adopt Baby X, and we really want to have two children.  Just because I'm not fertile doesn't mean that I am willing to give up the dream of being a family of four.  I've already given up enough in time, money, and grief.  Our everyday expenses have gone up dramatically and every little bit helps.   No one would bat an eye if I said that we were going to get pregnant again and that costs nothing (if I was fertile).  Why do I feel like I have to defend wanting to get a tax credit for taking the less-traveled, way more expensive path of adoption to build my family? 

So, I wrote my letters. If you want to write yours, feel free to snag mine.  Most of it is from a form letter on Save the Adoption Tax Credit website, with my story embedded in the second paragraph.  They make it easy!

Dear Senator/Representative,

I am writing to ask you to support the adoption tax credit by becoming a cosponser of S.3616/H.R.4373.  The adoption tax credit is set to expire on December 31, 2012.  Since 1997, the adoption tax credit has helped tens of thousands of parents offset the high cost of adoption, making it possible for them to provide children with loving, permanent families.

As an adoptive parent beginning the process to adopt a second time, the adoption tax credit is especially important to me.  My husband and I went through infertility treatments for years before deciding to pursue adoption as an option for building our family.  Two years of frustrating and invasive testing and treatments took their toll on our finances as well as our emotional health, and knowing that there was another option helped us to move past the grief of infertility.  Today we are the proud parents of a wonderful little boy, and the adoption tax credit helped to offset the costs of his adoption.  We have been through the wringer to get to this point of being a family of three, but do not want to give up the dream of giving our son a sibling.  So we recently started the adoption process again, and as everything does, the cost of the next adoption has gone up quite a bit.  While both of us are working, I am currently under a pay freeze, and my husband went through several years of a pay freeze due to the recession.   The tax credit that we will receive helps us to breathe a little easier when it comes to budgeting.

If Congress does not take action, the adoption tax credit as we know it will expire at the end of 2012.  The credit will be reduced to $6,000 and will only benefit the few families who adopt children with special needs and have qualified adoption expenses.  Most families adopting children from foster care, inter-country adoption, and domestic infant adoption will not receive any benefit.  Without the adoption tax credit, many parents hoping to adopt will be unable to do so, and others will face great financial hardship.  The adoption tax credit is essential to ensuring that as many children as possible find the forever families they deserve and ensuring that those families are in a more stable financial position to provide an environment where children can thrive.

The adoption tax credit must be extended to help as many children as possible find the permanent, loving family they need and deserve. And for 2012 and future years it should be made refundable again so that most adoptive families will benefit from it. The best adoption tax credit would be permanent, refundable, inclusive of all types of adoption, and remain a “flat” credit for children with special needs.

On behalf of the countless children waiting to be adopted, and the many thousands of families that stand to benefit from the adoption tax credit, thank you for your attention to this important issue.