Adoption Tax Credit: Who Is It Really Helping?

Kudos to Kevin and Claudia for keeping it real regarding the adoption tax credit on the New York Times.

(Of course we all know the “Room for Debate” feature is not actually a debate…but regardless, it is freakin’ phenomenal that these two important perspectives are getting the kind of exposure they are through this format.)

I’ve said it many times before, but Claudia hits it home:

The separation of mother and child should not be based on financial constraints, yet if often comes down to that. Mothers place their children for adoption because they fear an uncertain future…

Adoption in the United States is an estimated $5.8 billion industry. The adoption tax credit has been completely co-opted and exploited by the adoption industry and should be allowed to revert to its original intent, helping children with special needs who need homes, not to increase the demand for mothers and children to be separated.

If we renew the adoption tax credit in its current form we are saying that a family that makes over $100,000 a year has more right to a child than the birth mother does. It is a form of parental discrimination based on class and economics.

And from Kevin, on international adoption:

But extending the tax credit to families who wish to adopt internationally, in 2001, was a misplacement of resources and effort. It benefits American families, often upper middle class and white, but not struggling families overseas.

It would be better to look at ways U.S. adoption agencies can work with their international partners to support families who wish to parent their children instead of relinquishing them for inter-country adoption. For example, in South Korea, which has the longest history of being a “sending country,” an organization called the Korean Unwed Mothers Families’ Association runs a facility called Heater, which houses two mothers and their children for two months at a time. The budget for the facility is about $7,000 per year. Considering the fact that every year millions of dollars are exchanged between U.S. and South Korean adoption agencies, imagine the impact if some of the money spent on tax credits was rerouted to support organizations like this.

So, hats off to Kevin and Claudia for speaking out and questioning our blind faith in a very flawed adoption system. Also, check out Kevin’s blog at Land of Gazillion Adoptees, and Claudia’s at Musings of the Lame.


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