Valley Voices

Adoption tax credits are an investment in future families

Adoptive parents Daniel and Whitney Bunker with their daughters, Selah, 7 months, and Angelina, 10.
Adoptive parents Daniel and Whitney Bunker with their daughters, Selah, 7 months, and Angelina, 10. Contributed

When you think about it, adoption is a miracle. Hearts knit together not by blood, but a long, hard and beautiful journey.

I cannot imagine my life without my two beautiful girls! They have come to us through this miraculous journey, and we are not the only ones. You see, adoption is everywhere. And many people are considering it. An adoption advocacy organization, ShowHope, has found that as many as one in three families contemplate adoption.

Those who seek out information through trainings find out quickly that adoption cannot only be an investment of your time and heart, but also money.

Whitney Bunker

It is a myth that all types of adoption are expensive, but it is true that all adoptions have costs before, during and after the process. There are expenses such as preparing your home, finger-printing, CPR certification, even the adoption profile album online.

Then, after you bring a child into your home, you sometimes have therapeutic costs with professionals like occupational or marriage and family therapists, etc. Sometimes these are costs are not fully covered by insurance or other forms of assistance.

As a social work professional and an adoptive mom, when I talk to families considering this journey, one of their top three barriers to moving forward with adoption is cost. Yet, we have hundreds of thousands of children who are waiting for forever families today.

This year, hundreds of birth mothers will make selfless decisions to place newborns for adoption. They fully expect they will find families of their choosing to parent and raise their children.

So what are we saying when we as a country announce, during November’s National Adoption Awareness Month, that we were considering a proposal to pull tax incentives for families wanting to adopt these precious children needing homes?

Even in light of the reversed proposal submitted on Thursday, we as the adoption community face uncertainty if lawmakers will adjust the amount or any requirements to receive it, since it is not officially signed or permanent.

The Federal Adoption Tax Credit is a program that helps families be reimbursed for qualifying adoption expenses. This credit has evolved over the years, but most recently was offered to finalized families as a zero tax liability up to $13,570, for up to a five-year period.

That means the the adoptive parents could claim expenses that could wipe out their federal tax until they reached that capped amount. This can be used over a few years until the max is met.

The constant back and forth of this tax credit can create more barriers and concerns for the families we see who are contemplating adoption and headaches for the families like us. Whe have planned to receive that incentive in the years to come.

We do not need more roadblocks to helping children find families.

So what can we do? Get familiar with the Adoption Tax Credit, sign the Change Petition at and talk about this issue with others. You can also give to the activists group The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute at

My hope is someday this will be made a permanent program and the years of uncertainty will be behind us. Anything is truly possible, because adoption is at its core a miracle.

Whitney Bunker is an adoptive mother of two and director of a local nonprofit organization that brings awareness about foster care and adoption in the Central Valley, while educating and supporting families through the process. For more information visit