Dubuque couple thankful for adoption tax credit extension
Written by Becca Habegger, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -
When President Barack Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act into law this past week, he extended a tax cut to help people adopt children. It's called the adoption tax credit, and the law extended it permanently to help people start and add to their families.
Mike and Sara Wiedemann had a full house Tuesday morning, as US Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) came to tout the permanent extension of the adoption tax credit, which otherwise would have expired at the end of 2012.
It's an approximately $12,000 credit that allowed the Wiedemanns to adopt 21-month-old Nicholas from South Korea.
"Foreign adoptions can have a lot of expenses, not just because of the normal adoption process but because of travel costs, and sometimes there can be multiple trips overseas before that child can be brought home," Braley said. "That's why this is such an important incentive for parents considering adoption."
Two years after their wedding, the Wiedemanns tried having a baby but found they couldn't.
"We did some things, but we knew that adoption was kind of one of the things we both were open to and excited about," Sara Wiedemann said.
Fertility specialists are expensive and so is adoption.
"A lot of families that start this process, they've already been through infertility, which is a very expensive process as well, and it's usually not covered by insurance," Mike Wiedemann said. "Most insurance companies don't cover a lot of the infertility treatments."
The tax credit helped defray the $30,000-to-$35,000 adoption process is took to bring Nicholas home.
"The tax credit is allowing us to help pay back some of the loans we had to take out, because it is very expensive up front," Mike Wiedemann said. "It also is allowing us to put savings accounts for Nic to go to college, so it's allowing us to move forward and possibly add to our family, too."
"The first time he said, 'Mama,' that pulled at my heartstrings," Sara Wiedemann said.
With as much fun as the new parents are having getting to know their son - and even after all the loans and the waiting - the Wiedemanns say they'd do it again.
"It definitely leaves the door open that we certainly could do it again," Mike Wiedemann said.
That's especially true with the permanent extension of the adoption tax credit.
"Hopefully [it] will serve as motivation for other parents to take the risk of becoming adoptive parents," Braley said. "I think that if [taxpayers] see loving families like this, who are doing something important and giving a child a loving home, they'll see that that's a powerful use of tax credits to reward people who take that risk and do the right thing and give a child a loving home. That's good tax policy."
He said the credit is available to taxpaying US citizens and indexed for inflation, according to the law.
Braley said the federal adoption tax credit applies to international and domestic adoptions. He said the credit ultimately helps taxpayers, who - as of 2010 - shoulder an average of $47,000 annually for every child in foster care.
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