Pro-Adoption is Smarter Pro-Life

There are primarily two types of ideologues in Congress: Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. They don’t communicate because, by definition, they are ideologues. As someone who has been 100% pro-life (no exceptions) for 100% of my life, and a former foster parent, it infuriates me that so little progress is being made. One side is advocating for the life of the baby and one side is “advocating” for the woman in crisis. I believe there is room in the political space for both sides to come together under the pro-adoption umbrella. If we structure the pro-adoption agenda correctly, we can use political forces to make the two sides agree as a political necessity.

Family Values: The Bilateral Adoption Tax Credit (BATC)

For each American baby that is given up for adoption, some reports show there are 26 parents waiting to adopt that child. Currently in the United States, an estimated 400,000 kids aged 3-17 are up for adoption. However, only 120,000 children are adopted each year. The majority of these adoptions are domestic – US families adopting children from within our borders.

In 2016, over 57,000 kids were adopted through public child welfare agencies. Other adoptions took place through private agencies. A small number of adoptions in 2016 were international – 5370 according to the US State Department.

The Current Adoption Tax Credit

Designed as a way to encourage families to adopt, the adoption tax credit allows a maximum tax credit of $13,460 per child (as set in 2016 by the IRS). Families who adopt children, even internationally, can get credit for expenses like adoption fees, travel expenses, and attorney fees. Because the tax credit is offered per child, those who adopt more than one child in a calendar year receive a double credit. This credit, which does not benefit the woman in crisis, does not do a great job of encouraging life.

Simple and Cost-Neutral

Rick Walker proposes a simple, innovative approach for bringing together pro-life and pro-choice groups for positive change. The idea? Split the adoption tax credit in half – half for the birth mother and half for the adopting parents.

We want a law that requires the Bilateral Adoption Tax Credit (BATC) to be shared with the mother. This would replace the current Adoption Tax Credit, making it only a BATC, instead of the current one-sided adoption tax credit. This assists women in crisis who likely could use the financial benefit.

Advantages of the BATC

The proposal fills a fundamental need – mothers (often single mothers in crisis) have an incentive to choose life and adoption over abortion. Dan Steiner of Mission:Preborn states that the average woman in crisis is willing to carry a baby to term for $3,000. This proposal offers financial assistance to these women, who typically need the money more than the adopting family. But it also offers other advantages to taxpayers.

To prevent birth mothers from abusing the system, the law would limit BATC access to two credits per birth mother. Also, the law would reduce the foreign adoption tax credit to half for the adopting parents, encouraging in-country adoption. (Netflix is a great source for those wanting to investigate the foreign baby-mill industry.) In addition, eligibility would be limited to American birth mothers.

Additionally, placing babies in adoptive homes at birth (instead of delaying and having CPS get involved later on) and sharing this tax credit is a wise use of government resources because it:

1. keeps the child out of taxpayer-funded welfare programs often frequented by families in crisis,

2. is cash-neutral for the taxpayer up-front, then provides cash-positive benefits in subsequent years,

3. gets babies out of the foster care systems and CHIP programs much sooner (or keeps them out all-together),

4. prevents many kids from growing up in crisis-prone families and later entering the foster care system as older kids and being essentially unadoptable. Babies under 2 are far easier to adopt than troubled kids in their teens,

5. encourages mothers in crisis to stay out of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities where taxpayer dollars may be used, and

6. encourages traditional 2-parent nuclear family units, of a father and a mother raising a child in a nurturing home, and therefore helps the child succeed in a normal (less-expensive) public educational system instead of draining taxpayer resources on correctional, educational or behavioral modification,

7. and, lastly, adoption can also remove children from crisis situations. Since children in crisis commit crime at a greater rate than those not in crisis, increased adoption benefits the penal system by reducing incarceration costs.

Helping the Birth Mother in Crisis

The average cost for an adoption in the US is $20,000. The Adoption Tax Credit eases the financial burden on families that choose to adopt, but it should also benefit the birth mothers.

Rick Walker will fight in Washington to extend this credit to birth mothers, helping them to improve their lives and discover a brighter future.

I am 100% pro-life. Persecution of the unborn must stop. We must offer a future and hope by making adoption more desirable for the birth mother. By sharing the adoption tax credit with both the birth mother and the adopting parents we can strategically encourage life while effectively equipping children for success.