The Federal Adoption Tax Credit; General and Specific Issues

The following is a general overview of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit and attempts to address certain questions that adoptive parents may have.  The ultimate issue with the Tax Credit now is that it is scheduled to sunset at the end of 2012, and most of its significant portions will not apply in 2013.

WHAT IS A TAX CREDIT?  Generally, a tax credit is used to reduce the amount an individual owes in taxes to the federal government.  For example, let’s say that one owes the government $100 in taxes after calculating income, but there is a $10 tax credit available for which one qualifies.  This reduces final tax liability to $90. At the most basic level, this is how the Adoption Tax Credit operates in 2012.  The IRS website provides examples of the applicability of the credit.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE TAX CREDIT? It is intended to reimburse individuals and families for certain qualified expenses incurred during the adoption process.  It is also intended as a mechanism to encourage adoption as a method of family growth.

HOW DOES THE TAX CREDIT WORK? This is a one-time credit for each adopted child.  If a child was adopted in 2009, one could claim the credit in 2009.  If the credit was claimed in 2009, it cannot be claimed again the following taxable year.  If one adopted two children in 2009, one could claim the credit twice for that year.  In the years 2010-11, the credit is refundable, meaning that one would actually get a check in the mail if the adoption was finalized in those years, offset by any income tax owed. … <Read More>


7 Billion People and “One Child” Policy Revisited

 

On October 31, 2011, our planet will have reached a population milestone; seven billion people will be competing for resources. Issues obviously arise when population growth is predicted to outpace our planet’s ability to sustain it. These issues are not new either; some may remember having read the gloomy predictions by Malthus in his Essay on the Principle of Population. Though it was written in the 18th and revised through the early 19th century before issues of peak oil use, water conservation, land use, and pollution became prevalent, Malthus nevertheless recognized that unchecked population growth leads to periods of severe societal distress.

Most modern and modernizing countries have taken affirmative steps to curtail rampant population growth through teaching proper use of contraceptives and other pregnancy prevention measures. India, with a current population closer to 1.2 billion individuals is set to eclipse China as the world’s most populous country within the next half century. As indicated in this CNN article, Indian officials go so far as to offer economic rewards to those who subject themselves to sterilization. While such measures may be questioned by some, they are defended as being totally voluntary. Still other countries have used far more draconian measures to slow population growth. The primary and often criticized case is China and its contentious “One Child” policy. Is this policy more attractive as a desperate measure to curtail population booms, especially in Asia where more than one-third of the seven billion people live? I argue that it is not, as its effects on the population and the socio-economic imbalances it has created will prove to be detrimental to China’s social and economic development in the long run.… <Read More>


Access to Adoption Records: A Civil Right?

In an article written on February 6, 2012 in the New York Times, titled ‘Adoption and the DNA Family Search’, author KJ Dell’Antonia, an international adoptive parent,  reported on the issue of adult adopted children seeking their birth records. In her article, Dell’Antonia explains that some, particularly Adam Pertman, an adoption advocate,  have gone so far as to declare access to information on birth parents to be a civil rights issue, and that denying adult adoptees access to their original birth records is denying a minority group equal rights under the law.… <Read More>


Modernization means stricter International Adoption Laws in South Korea

For years, South Korea has been a central contributor of adopted children for families seeking to grow and provide a loving home them. But as a result of strong domestic criticism, South Korea’s current adoption regime is going to be subject to a massive overhaul, as reported to the world by Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, a writer for Foreign Policy in Focus in this recent article .

Kim Dong-won, the overseer of adoption for South Korea’s Ministry of Health, told the world in a New York Times interview in 2008 that South Korea has become a fully modernized country, and that its own adoption policies lagged behind its economic development. It was his belief that “South Korea is the world’s 12th largest economy and is now almost an advanced country, so we would like to rid ourselves of the international stigma or disgrace of being a baby-exporting country…It’s embarrassing.”

The proposed South Korean law will place much stricter requirements on both ends of the adoption. Adoptive parents will have to pass a more stringent screening process such as criminal background checks, and the birth parents of the child to be placed for adoption (mostly unwed single mothers) will be further deterred from signing illegal consent papers for children still in the womb. The law would also add court participation in the adoption proceedings, and more formal documentation of the process as a whole. It should also be noted that this bill is the direct result of lobbying by groups such as Adoptee Solidarity Korea, and Korean Unwed Mothers and Families Association.… <Read More>