What adoptees get in the U.S.

The United States has had laws in place for many years that encourage foster care for children without parental care. Read more about how this affects orphanhood issues.

What adoptees get in the U.S.

An example from life

When Jim and Jill Folstrom returned to Indianapolis, Indiana, last fall with a two-week-old baby adopted from Texas, Eli Lilly & Co. where they had worked for more than five years decided to partially reimburse them. The adoptive parents were written a check for $10,000, covering half of the adoption costs. In addition, the Folstrom family was given a week of fully paid vacation time. After that, Jill was able to go on a four-week unpaid leave of absence, which is usually given to mothers in the United States after giving birth. Now, so-called “adoption credit” is available to families who want to adopt a child to encourage the adoption of children.

Case Study

According to a study conducted by the consulting firm Hewitt Associates back in 1997, more than a quarter of employers felt it was necessary to at least partially reimburse their employees for the cost of adoption. Among the main reasons employers generally cite the high cost of adoption compared to regular births. In the U.S., the vast majority of companies provide health insurance to their employees, so that the cost of medical care during pregnancy and childbirth is reimbursed by insurance companies. According to experts at the National Adoption Center, this is not charity. In exchange for financial assistance, companies get to retain employee loyalty.

Adoption benefits

In addition, under U.S. tax law, the state partially reimburses adoptive parents for amounts spent on adoption. Under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, approved by Congress on January 2, this benefit is permanent and not subject to repeal. Today, including federal, city, and state payments, the average tax rate in the U.S. is 36%. If adopted, the family receives a $12,970 tax credit for each adopted child and can deduct that amount from the annual return.

The amount can be reduced by 30% if the family earns more than $194,500 a year. Tax breaks do not apply to those whose income exceeds $234,500. In addition, the adoptive family can ask the IRS to deduct expenses directly related to the adoption process. In this case, the costs of preparing the necessary documents, agency and attorney fees, travel, and court fees will be deducted from the taxable amount.

When it comes to adopting a child who requires medical or psychological care, adoptive parents can deduct more substantial amounts from their tax returns. Most U.S. states provide such families with benefits of up to $25,000.

Overall statistics

There are now 401,000 children without parental care in the United States. The vast majority of these children live in foster care. In 2003, 130,637 children were up for adoption, but in 2011, that number stood at 104,236, according to the U.S. Children’s Bureau. The average age of orphans is seven years old, 40 percent are white, 28 percent are black, and 22 percent are of Latin American descent.

The total number of adoptions has also declined. While in 1971 Americans took in more than 90,000 children, in 2002 the figure was 22,291,000. According to experts from the National Council on Adoption, the statistics have not changed in the past five years, and now Americans are adopting an average of 18,000 children a year. In recent years, the number of children adopted abroad has also steadily declined. While in 2004, Americans brought in nearly 24,000 adopted children from abroad, in 2011 the figure was just 9,319,000.


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