Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Important Update on Efforts to Save the Adoption Tax Credit

Here's some news on a significant issue that's close to the hearts of both foster-adoptive parents and parents who are adopting domestically or internationally, as well as all of us who hope to adopt in the next few years. You may have heard about the fact that the Adoption Tax Credit expires at the end of 2012, meaning that if no new bill is passed people who adopt in the future will receive no tax credit. Although the new bills to extend the tax credit beyond 2012 (HR 4373 and S 3616) now have a list of sponsors, there have been rumors and concerns circulating regarding whether these bills will be sacrificed for political reasons as election day approaches.

An online campaign called Save the Adoption Tax Credit issued the following statement today in response to these concerns:

Many of you have been asking about what will happen with HR 4373 and S 3616 now that Congress is out of session. We expect that Congress will consider extending and enhancing the adoption tax credit as part of broader tax reform negotiations that take place after the November election. It is unlikely that there will be votes on these individual bills. It is still very important for you to ask your Representative to co-sponsor HR 4373 and both your Senators to co-sponsor S 3616. The more support these bills have—meaning the more members of Congress hear from their constituents and understand the importance of extending the adoption tax credit and making it refundable—the better chance that a refundable adoption tax credit will be included in the final tax package agreed upon by Congress. For more information about the adoption credit and the legislative process, see http://adoptiontaxcredit.org/faqs

What's most important right now is that you voice your support for this bill with your own Representatives and Senators. If they are not already sponsoring these bills, please ask that they do.

You can track the progress of HR 4373 here (and click on "Take a Position" to contact your Representatives).

You can track the progress of S 3616 here (and click on "Take a Position" to contact your Senators.)

Don't be discouraged that the GovTrack site shows a low chance of these bills passing - If enough support is shown, these bills may be incorporated into a larger tax package. What's important right now is not that these individual bills pass but that the tax credit is included in some type of legislation that passes in Congress. E-mailing and calling your elected officials on these specific bills is the best way to show them how important this issue is to Americans who may not be able to afford to adopt without this tax credit.

Please make sure to mention the following key points:
  • The credit should be refundable so that low and middle income Americans can benefit from it, not just wealthier families with more tax liability who can use the non-refundable credit. The tax credit should be focused on supporting adoption by working and middle class Americans who most need the financial help to make adoption a reality.
  • The credit should be permanent, and made part of the tax code rather than being at the whim of politicians.
More "talking points" can be found on the Save the Adoption Tax Credit site. Consider "liking" their page on Facebook.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our Foster/Adoption Financial Story: Rita's Family

This post is part of our new guest blogger series, "Our Foster Adoption Financial Story." As new posts are added to this series you will be able to find links to them at the bottom of this post.


We became foster parents in September 2009.  At the time I was a nanny and I was able to bring our foster son (16 months at the time) with me to work.  However, he had a lot of issues as foster kids tend to.  In particular, he had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and an attachment disorder and many developmental delays.  By the end of that spring, I was asked not to bring our son to work anymore.

We felt that our son would not do well in day care since it was important to build attachment with him, so I chose to stay home with him.  It was actually the best decision for him and once we began staying home and cut back on his plethora of visitations and appointments and let him "just be a kid," much of his aggression was gone.  I left work and became a "therapist/doctor mom" trying to help my child heal.

However, living on one income in the pricy D.C. area is not easy.  We cut back on everything we could and did what we could but we still are facing foreclosure.  Our only hope right now is to find a job in a different part of the country where housing is cheaper or move into the basement of my parents home.

Regrets? No. To help our son, I would stay home all over again for him.  He needed me.  We are now thinking he may need to be homeschooled, too.  Currently we have a special ed preschool that is funded by MA that we are hoping will help him (he is still socially/emotionally delayed).  That gives me 3 hours a day to so something to make money... but what can I do?  I've also thought of doing afterschool baby sitting, but we're not sure if our son can handle that either.  It's a tricky situation due to his needs.

My husband and I suffered infertility and 3 failed IVF's and chose to foster-to-adopt since we thought we could help more kids this way... Ironically, our son is the only one we have fostered so far.  I was a teacher for almost 10 years prior to that and have a Master's degree in education. You would think I could find SOME kind of job, but it's tricky with a child who is special needs and requires me to be there 24/7, and it's not like we can afford a baby sitter anyway.

This is also putting a huge strain on our marriage... we have been married for 17 years this summer but 14 of those years were child-free.  Suddenly we had a 16 month old child who is pretty much feral and needs me to be with him 24/7 so he can get the help kids with reactive attachment disorder (RAD) so badly need in attaching to a caregiver so they can function in life! Seriously, this kid never slept through the night or alone until about 4 months ago (at the age of four).  Even now, we are up/down with him or need to crawl in bed with him most nights.  I tried to do so much of it on my own that I got burnt out and any chance that my husband could get a second job went out the window because I needed a break!  It is very, very difficult to be alone all day with a child who has PTSD, attachment issues and developmental delays.  It can be even harder to go out in public!  For a long time the grocery store had to be a planned event or I would go in the middle of the night when my husband came home.  There were too many people and too many noises and things to look at for our son and he would freak out.

Before our son, before fostering, we were just average Joes who went to the beach every summer and had cook outs on the deck.  I worked, my husband worked.  We had friends and family and belonged to a church (my son can't handle church either).  When you get kicked out of Sunday School so many times, and preschool as well... you know you have to stay home with your child.

Our son is now four and things are a bit better, although we still have to follow a very structured schedule or he's thrown for a loop and the behaviors come out.  However, the financial damage is done.  Will it ruin  us? No.  But it sure did set us back a few pegs, and we don't feel like we can share our financial situation with friends and family.  All that said, for us it was well worth the financial setbacks in order to see our son's progress and know in our hearts we did what was best for him, even if that meant to sacrifice a few things.  He deserved it!

Bio: Rita lives in the Washington, DC, area with her husband and 4 year old son who was adopted through foster care. Her husband works at a radio station. Rita has a Master's degree in education but is currently a stay-at-home mom to her special needs son.