Dear Mrs. Estep:
Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts about laws and policies to encourage adoption. I appreciate your compassionate advocacy on this important issue.
Unfortunately, the costs of adoption in this country can be daunting. Additionally, adoption laws in the United States can often times be difficult to navigate.
It is important to note that family law, including laws dealing with adoption, is usually handled at the state level. You may wish to contact your state representative and state senator, as well as the Governor, to share your thoughts with them and inquire about legislation to help adoptive families.
However, there is some federal legislation that is aimed at helping families who adopt. The adoption tax credit allows individuals to take a tax credit for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child, including a child with special needs. The qualifying expenses include necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging while away from home), and other expenses directly related the adoption.
In the past, I have cosponsored the Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act. This legislation would prevent the adoption tax credit from expiring in 2010. I support this legislation and will work to ensure that it serves the best interest of children and hard-working parents.
Additionally, I am a strong supporter of the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which includes provisions for adoptive parents. FMLA allows eligible employees to take off up to 12 work weeks in any 12 month period for the adoption of a child.
Any legislation that sensibly encourages trustworthy parents to adopt children deserves thoughtful deliberation. Adoption can have an amazing impact on a child’s life and we must responsibly expand its role in our society.
Thank you once again for your thoughtful letter.
United States Senator
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Response from Senator Sherrod Brown
Dear Mrs. Estep: