How About No

I got an email from Ruth this morning (sent last night, I guess) asking me (and about fifty other people) to take action and help extend the adoption tax credit. Now, I am confident that the credit will end up being extended, and I’m glad that the people I know who adopted kids were able to get some of their money back, but I really don’t think I should be her go-to guy on this one. It felt a little tacky, asking me to help facilitate adoptions. I’ve been asked to help prospective adoptive parents I don’t actually know (really don’t know—we’re on the same forums, but I haven’t spoken to them via email or what have you) to help with their “Dear Birthmother” letters, and I’m not really comfortable doing so beyond offering the most broad advice. If I really got involved, it would feel like I was helping them to misrepresent themselves to pregnant ladies, and yuck. I’d be happy to read and give feedback for people I know, and have reason to know are good and loving parents or parents-to-be, but that feels different.

I’m wandering a bit. All that I mean to say is that I found the email a little inappropriate, despite the fact that she included a line about how it is in birthparents’ best interests as well (provides them a more diverse group from which to choose). I’m not ordinarily that girl, but you know what? I’d rather see the $8k go to the parents placing their kids because of poverty. I know that’s not actually a solution; I don’t want adoption to be more difficult for middle-income families; but I don’t want to help you.

Still hibernating, and not actually as grouchy as this update makes me sound.

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11 thoughts on “How About No

  1. Eww. Maybe she wanted you to know it wasn’t something she was doing behind your back, maybe she wanted her friends to think you supported her on this, but ugh. If the adoption tax credit disappeared, I imagine adoption agencies would start charging 10K less to keep people coming in the door, right? I mean, the way to solve the problems with the adoption industry is not to keep pouring more money into it! And yet on a smaller level it would probably mean that a lot of the adoptive families I know online couldn’t afford to exist. Ugh. Plus maybe I’m being a hypocrite because the money issues in the kind of adoption we’re trying to do are totally different….

  2. On things that are uncomfortable — for whatever reason –sitting ’em out seems a wholly reasonable response. I have often felt uncomfortable, person by person, sending out things to folks re: abortion for that reason (is a friend struggling with infertility going to switch from supporting abortion rights? what about friends I’ve met since having kids & that topic hasn’t come up–can I assume everyone feels so supportive of reproductive rights?

    It’s hard for me to imagine that Ruth believes you’re totally comfortable with adoption on the other side of this experience & yet, I can identify with hoping so.

  3. Yes that is completely insensitive. My guess is that she made an assumption, based on her desire to believe that you are happy about where Cricket is and how he got there. I’ll follow this with my own assumption that Ruth doesn’t read a lot of first-mom blogs, or she might be more aware of the intense presence of loss for you. ♥

    • I think you’re right, and that’s why I’m not holding a grudge–but wanted to document somewhere my moment, reading it, of “Wow. Seriously?”

  4. Being that I’m Canadian and didn’t do private adoption I need to ask….what is anadoption tax credit? Do you actually get money for adopting?

    • Domestic infant adoption tends to cost quite a lot down here, and the adoption tax credit allows you to get (I believe) $8,000 of that back from the government.

      • It costs about 10-15k here and I don’t think we get any of it back! Interesting tax credit…..I don’t know how I feel it but I know that ART is considered a medical expense that peopl can claim on their taxes here. Thanks for letting me know.

  5. I never understood why there is an adoption tax credit for people who aren’t adopting from foster care, but that’s another topic altogether, I guess.

    It does seem like an odd choice to include you in that email. Like the best use of 8k per adoption is to make it so birth moms have more economically diverse choices?

  6. First, ew. So not cool on any level.

    Second, Dee, in Canada there IS an adoption tax credit. If memory serves me correctly, it’s a $4,500 lifetime credit but I’m a bit hazy on the amt.

    Third, I’m kinda pissed at Ruth right now! I understand why she would want to gather support but she should have thought a bit more clearly about who she was sending the email to. I suspect there could very well be others included in the mass email that were not happy or taken aback, not just you.

  7. Wait — she sent this to you specifically and didn’t accidentally just stick her whole address book in there? Tacky tacky tacky tacky. Totally inappropriate.

  8. I am nodding my head — a lot of tax laws interact to determine the income of American families, their ability to earn and save, their opportunities to take time off to care for a loved one, etc. I could imagine analogizing the adoption tax credit to tax credits for homeowners. In general, tax credits that incentivize adoption and home ownership seem to benefit individuals with incomes / assets that are higher than that of many birth parents and renters. We could come up with alternative housing policies that could benefit all people regardless of their incomes or all new parents. While it’s anecdotal, I once read that in Guatemala, giving a mom $250 a year can enable her to raise her child rather than relinquish. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

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