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Voice of the Reader: Bring change for children

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To the Editor:

While the decision to adopt a child is one of the most joyful and rewarding a family can make, it may also be one of the most expensive. For most domestic infant or intercountry adoptions the cost is typically between $10,000 and $40,000. Adoption from foster care is more affordable upfront, but children adopted from foster care often have significant special needs that often require added expenses — such as educational supports or mental health or behavioral health services — for years to come. The adoption tax credit, currently about $14,440, goes a long way to support parents who want to be a family to children who can't remain with her birth parents.

Many families that foster children cannot afford to adopt without the credit being refundable.

Since 1997, the adoption tax credit has helped thousands of American families to provide children with loving, permanent families through adoption. Although the adoption tax credit was made a permanent part of the tax code in 2012, it was not made refundable. As a result, it does not help lower- and middle-income families — the families most in need of support to make adoption a reality.

If many American families can't afford the high costs related to adoption, it is the waiting children who will suffer — the more than 125,000 children currently available for adoption from U.S. foster care, and the orphaned and abandoned children worldwide. Congress has the opportunity to enhance the life-changing support the adoption tax credit provides by ensuring it reaches those families who need it most.

Please join me and other adoption advocates. Use your voice to bring change for children. Contact your Senators and Representatives in Congress and ask them to sponsor H.R. 3031 or S. 1156 to help children find families by making the adoption tax credit refundable.

Lauri Marshall

Mount Vernon

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