Google engineer Brandon Jones says his two adopted boys are the best part of his life. He’s equally adamant that the adoption tax credit made a huge difference in he and his wife’s ability to afford their two private adoptions. The first one cost $50,000.
“What you have to understand,” Jones tweeted last night, “is that almost all of that is paid either at the point you are matched or when the child is placed with you. So picture being in the hospital, holding your new baby boy, in a different state, while lawyers are calling saying “We need $30,000 today.”
Jones started his Twitter thread on Thursday after House Republicans announced they were stripping the adoption tax credit from their tax reform bill. The credit allows adoptive families to claim $13,750 in adoption expenses and can ultimately reduce their tax bill by tens of thousands of dollars.
Former Obama White House staffer Michael Wear fought to make the credit a permanent part of Obamacare and says the church should speak up and support the credit. “If we think it should be valued by society–especially because we have so much influence with this president–we should make it clear that we don’t want tax reform to come at the expense of families who are adopting children,” he told CBN News.
Southern Baptist spokesman and adoptive dad Russell Moore also tweeted Thursday in support as did Focus on the Family president Jim Daly.
Wear and other adoption supporters say the credit helps to encourage adoption and in many cases can save the government from expensive spending for foster care and children who age-out of that system and suffer as adults.
A study by the federal Children’s Bureau shows that the government saves between $65,000 and $127,000 for each child who is adopted rather than placed in long-term foster care. Other studies show the challenges of foster youth who are never adopted and “age-out” of the system. Just over half graduate from high school by age 19 and only 50 percent are employed by age 24.
Studies also show that adopted children have a better chance of succeeding as adults than do foster care children. They’re 54% less likely to be delinquent or arrested and 76% more likely to employed.
For those reasons, adoption advocates say supporting the credit can be considered fiscally conservative. J.D. Flynn is an adoptive dad and editor-in-chief of the Catholic News Agency. He tweeted about his two special needs adopted children explaining “because they both have Down Syndrome, they’d cost alot in foster care if we or someone else hadn’t been able to afford the 50k to adopt them.”
Ironically, one of the chief architects of the tax bill, Rep. Kevin Brady, is an adoptive dad. So why does he not support the adoption tax credit? Brady told the Washington Post that the credit in its current form hasn’t worked because families didn’t earn enough to qualify or didn’t itemize correctly. Brady and other tax reform supporters are making the case that the tax overhaul will benefit adoptive families by increasing the child tax credit by $600 and overall reducing families’ tax bill and therefore helping adoptive families as well.
Adoption advocates aren’t convinced that those cuts will make up for what they gain in the credit and they’re not giving up. “I still have alot of hope,” says Wear, who believes that bi-partisan adoption support could ultimately make the difference and push lawmakers to bring the credit back with an amendment.