Conversations in adoption tax credit’s near-repeal a reminder to the Church

USA (MNN) — Potential adoptive families in the United States can breathe a sigh of relief. The adoption tax credit has officially been taken off the chopping block by Congress as of last Thursday.

The proposal to cut the adoption tax credit was unveiled by House Republicans two weeks ago as part of a 429-page tax reform. But the proposal to repeal this credit caused an uproar from groups on both sides of the aisle. From the Christian community, Focus on the Family and Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman were among those who spoke out against its repeal.

The adoption tax credit has been available for the past 20 years. With this break, adoptive families can be credited up to $13,460 after their taxes.

Kris Faasse, Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations at Bethany Christian Services, explains, “The tax credit is not a deduction. It’s actually a credit that someone gets when they get done with all of their other taxes. And the adoption tax credit, which is indexed for inflation and is now over $13,000, it’s really meant to help families who bring a child into their family through adoption with either the cost of adoption or the cost of just bringing that child into your family and accessing the necessary medical or psychological treatment that kids might need.”

Without the adoption tax credit, Faasse points out the cost of adoption would be overbearing for many families.

“The average cost depends on the type of adoption first and foremost and then it depends on the state where the adoption is taking place because adoption law and requirements are state law. Generally, adoption of a child out of foster care is at no cost to the adoptive parent or at very low cost because those kids are the wards of the state and it’s certainly in the interest of the state to have those kids move into a permanent family.

“Domestic, infant adoption can range anywhere from say $25,000, I’ve heard of some agencies in some states that may charge up to $50,000. Intercountry adoption is also in that range, and that is very much impacted by the travel cost to the country where the child is and the fees that might be charged by that country as well as any expenses to pay for the staff and the process here in the states. So again, it’s a range.”

However, even for families that adopt a child in foster care, they can still face substantial costs. “Kids who’ve been in foster care who are available for adoption are in foster care because of abuse and/or neglect. So they come with hurts and traumas that families need to and want to address, and the tax credit makes that more possible because not everything is covered by insurance. A lot has to come out-of-pocket.”

While the adoption tax credit is here to stay, Faasse says the conversations it has generated should serve as a reminder to the Church of our biblical mandate to care for orphans.

“We’ve always seen a role for the Church in wrapping around families, having adoption ministries, providing that ongoing support for families…. We know a lot of churches may step in and help with fundraisers for the family to meet the cost of adoption.”

Bethany has several opportunities for you and your church to get involved in caring for orphans and vulnerable children. In doing so, you can be a tangible extension of Christ’s love and grace in a kid’s life. Click here to learn more at Bethany’s website!