Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Every Child Deserves a Family Act

U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) has introduced a new bill to the House called the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. It is designed to restrict a state or adoption agency's federal funding if they discriminate on the basis of the sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status of the prospective parents.  

Introduced on Oct. 15, the act (H.R. 3827) aims to stop discrimination in adoption and foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status of the prospective adoptive/foster parent in question.

The 125,000+ kids in foster care are the crux of the argument, however Stark's introduction to the bill - with no co-sponsor - includes the following preposterous statement"

"There is an acute shortage, however, of adoptive and foster parents."

Stark goes on to say:

"Congress invests over $8 billion in the child welfare system each year and we should not accept policies that use Federal funds to enact barriers to adoption and close the door to thousands of potential homes.  Multiple studies have found that adopted and foster children raised by gay and lesbian parents fare just as well as their peers being raised by heterosexual parents. 

"When considering a potential placement for a child, the only criteria should be what is in the child’s best interest and whether the prospective parents can provide a safe and nurturing home.  Bigotry should play no part in this decision."
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, join me in writing to Rep. Stark as well as to your local representative making the following points, or your own. Begin by telling these law makers that you totally agree with and support their concern for assisting children in foster care. Applaud Stark for his humanitarian effort in this regard...HOWEVER, make them aware that:

  • REAL CONCERN FOR CHILDREN would begin with demanding congress to allocate the greatest portion of the $8 billion on programs that work to end discrimination of natural families, such as Michigan’s Families First program modeled on the Homebuilders model (see pp 170-171, The Stork Market).  Providing funding and encouragement of child removal instead of working with the family to ameliorate their problems is punitive, permanently harms children by putting them in at-risk foster care, and is the most vile of all discrimination.
  • Increasing the possibility of foster care adoption would be made possible by restricting tax benefits to the adoption of these "special needs" children and not giving the majority of them to those who are adopting internationally or privately adopting infants domestically. 
This is a Golden Opportunity to let your elected representatives - all of whom share a concern in helping kids in foster care, that federal tax incentives - which have been increased every year! - work against that goal..

According to a Child Trends research summary of the U.S. Treasury Department report, Federal Income Tax Benefits for Adoption: Use by Taxpayers 1999-2005, also printed by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) (1, 2)  the "vast majority" of adoption tax credit recipients adopted infants or younger children via private domestic or foreign adoptions, rather than older children from foster care. Nearly all people adopting children from other countries were supported by the tax credit, but only one in four adopting from U.S. foster care were. (3)

This concern has been shared by North American Council on Adopted Children (NACAC), which in 2007 called adoption tax credits an "ethical dilemma" because, “Today’s reality is that the original intent of the adoption tax credit legislation has been turned upside down." The adoption tax credit is clearly not fulfilling a primary goal that of promoting adoption from foster care. (4)

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute likewise reports, “The federal government, for example, offers financial incentives in the form of tax credits to families who privately adopt infants (and who are often affluent), yet does not offer the same support to those families who adopt children in foster care (and who usually have the greatest need for such support). Is it ethical that intermediaries and those least in need benefit the most from these tax credits?” (5)

Elizabeth Samuels concurs. “[F]ederal tax benefits for adopters generally provide greater benefits to families involved in more pensive healthy newborn and international adoptions, although the benefits are promoted as a means to increase adoptions of children out of foster care.” (6)

“A tax credit is far more beneficial than a tax deduction… For every child adopted, those who adopt are also entitled to an additional tax credit of $1000 every year the child is a dependent in your home, and an additional $3,300 for each person in your family. Those in a 25% tax bracket, receive a reduction of $825 (25% of $3,300). Many adoptions involve at least part of the cost (often approximately $2000) going to a charitable orphanage. This can be treated as a charitable deduction for tax purposes. An additional $500 for those in the 25% tax bracket. And, some states offer tax incentives for adoption as well.” (7)

Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, told the Associated Press: "That means an even greater incentive for quick-and-dirty, slipshod placements, for placements more likely to disrupt, and for the creation of more legal orphans, as states rush even faster to terminate parental rights."(8)

Numbers tell the story:

According to ChildWelfare.gov, there were approximately 125,000 total adoptions within the U.S. for 2001. Just slightly more than 50,000 of those represent children adopted from state agencies (foster care).

The remaining 75,000 consist of between19-20,000 international adoptions, an unspecified but relatively small number of in-family and step parent adoptions.  The largest percentage–55,000–are privately arranged adoptions.  All benefit from tax incentives equally.

For the year 2010, the maximum adoption tax credit will be $12,170. The IRS updated this figure as part of their annual update for several inflation-indexed figures as released in Revenue Procedure 2009-50.
The adoption credit is scheduled to sunset at the end of the year 2010, and revert back to its pre-2001 dollar limit of $5,000, or $6,000 if a special needs child is adopted.


1 Geen, Rob, Child Trends’ Vice President for Public Policy and Director of Child Welfare Research. "The Adoption Tax Credit: Is It An Effective Approach to Promote Foster Care Adoption?"

2 Children's Voice (2008). CWLA, Policy Watch. Jan/ Feb. http://www.cwla.org/voice/0801end.htm

3 Child Trends (2007). "Adoption Tax Credit Not Fulfilling Original Purpose: New Data Show Tax Credit Primarily Supports Private & Foreign Adoptions, Not Foster Care Adoptions," August 8. http://www.childtrends.org/_pressrelease_page.cfm?LID=7D58A49E-E869-41C8-89A20341D318BD16

4 Kroll, Joe. NACAC's Executive Director, (2009). “The Adoption Tax Credit: An Ethical Dilemma” Fall Adoptalk http://www.nacac.org/adoptalk/adoptiontaxcredit.html

Kroll, Joe. NACAC's Executive Director, (2009). “The Adoption Tax Credit: An Ethical Dilemma” Fall Adoptalk http://www.nacac.org/adoptalk/adoptiontaxcredit.html

5 Money, Power and Accountability: The “Business” of Adoption. Evan B. Donaldson Institute Adoption Conference Summary. Anaheim, November 1999.

6 Elizabeth J. Samuels, 2005. Time To Decide? The Laws Governing Mothers’ Consents To The Adoption Of Their Newborn Infants. 72 Tenn. L. Rev. 509, p. 523.

7 The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry. 2007. Dayton, NJ: Advocate Publications, Page 203

8 The Columbus Dispatch, (2007) “Adjust course: Tax credit meant to help foster children has gone off track” August 22.


Russian Adoptions said...

Every person regardless of what their sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status is, should not be discriminated when adopting a child. As they're entering a great responsibility in raising a child. Hope this new bill help those prospective parents.

AdoptAuthor said...

I hope you'd agree that all children are not equal however. Some are truly orphans while 90% of children in orphanages worldwide are NOT! Many are ineligible for adoption because they have family.

I also hope you'd agree with my major point here: that this bill USES foster kids as pawns and yet does NOT prioritize their needs but helps fund int adoptions, many of which involve the adoption of kidnapped children.

Finally, I hope you'd agree that:

“Everybody has the right to want children, but you don’t have the right to children.

Children have the right to parents.

The right to children doesn’t exist on this planet.”

Ina Hut, upon resigning in disgust as director of Wereldkinderen (World Children) the largest adoption agency in the Netherlands, Sept, 2009

“…even if the suffering of a number of infertile 
prospective adoptive parents must be taken into account, no-one ever holds ‘the right to adopt’. 
“If it existed, it would imply the right over another human being,  who would become the ‘object’ of the right of the 
adopting candidates.”

“Adoption: at what cost? For an ethical responsibility of receiving countries in intercountry adoption.” Isabelle Lammerant and Marlène Hofstetter. 2007 Publications of Terre des hommes 

AdoptAuthor said...

AND...since you mention marital status of something that should not be discriminated against in who deserves to parent -- let's be very c;lear that the same applies to the natural parent of the child, who also should not be discriminated against for age or financial status and who is the only one who has a constitutionally protected right to parent his or her own child.

AdoptAuthor said...

Noting that your login "Russian adoptions" links to an adoption agency, I would most hope that your prime consideration in placing children would be THEIR welfare and not that of the folks paying to keep you in business. I hope that you are very concerned about the fourteen or more children adopted by Americans from Russia who have been murdered by those children entrusted to them...as you said, who "enter[ed] a great responsibility in raising a child."

I am FAR MORE concerned in protecting the rights of such innocent children than in protecting the rights of any adult who helps fatten the pockets of baby brokers and Ie too. We do not need more bills of legislation to encourage adoption. We need legislation to REGULATE it to prevent these atrocities.

Anonymous said...

If the children are in orphanages and they have families then why are they in orphanages or abandoned. If I don’t have the right to children then who does. Children have a right to a parent or parents because sometimes children only have one parent weather it be male or female. I agree the natural parent or parents should not be discriminated against for sex or age or financial or marital status and who is the only one who has a constitutionally protected right to parent his or her own child. But what if the child is put up for adoption or abandoned by the parent or parents then shouldn’t the same apply to a person or persons willing to adopt.

AdoptAuthor said...

It is utterly shocking that one associated in any way with an international adoption agency would have yo ask such a question and is not able to understand that fact that people in impoverished countries use institutional care TEMPORALLY as was the intent of the father of at least one of the two children adopted by Madonna and thousands of other parents worldwide. They use institutional care to provide medical care for children etc. Many people throughout world have no concept of adoption as a permanent severing of one family in order to fill unrelated strangers' desire for a child.

These children ARE NOT ABANDONED! Often the papers tht allow them to be adopted state that. the children who were kidnapped in Guatemala, many have papers marked "abandoned." It's a great and easy way for flesh peddlers to get away with not having permission from the mother to allow her to be adopted!

If you don't know this, you should not be running or employed by an adoption agency that handles international adoption.

I suggest you begin by reading the panel tot he right and quotes by the United Nations.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget