PILOT GUEST EDITORIAL - Adoption as the ultimate 'pro-life' option

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Folks blessed with children or grandchildren can see, feel, taste, smell and hear the joy that younger generations bring to a bustling household.

Through the inquisitive eyes of a child, it is possible to experience sunrise for the first time and recapture the magic and energy of one's own youth by spending the holidays with a houseful of grandchildren.

Even harried parents will tell you the daily grind makes for heartfelt memories to cherish for a lifetime. Having raised five children of my own with my wife Barbara, I know parenting isn't all fun and games. But the sacrifice and hard work easily are overshadowed by the rewards returned in large and small doses from a child's infancy to adulthood.

Look into the eyes of a child and you look directly into America's future. Perhaps that's why Americans every year open up their hearts and homes through adoption to approximately 120,000 newborns or older children. As we counted our blessings during the Thanksgiving holiday season, millions of adopted children and their families are giving thanks for the happiness and fulfillment they receive year-round from having "found" each other through adoption.

It is customary during this season of thanksgiving to reflect on the strength we draw upon every day of the year from our faith, family and friendships.

Appropriately, November is National Adoption Month, by proclamation of the president...

Every child deserves the nurturing environment of a stable and secure home life.

Despite the growing number of adoptions each year, more than 134,000 children in America currently await adoption. I supported efforts to substantially increase the federal incentives available through the federal tax code to encourage more adoptions. The new adoption tax credit doubles from $5,000 to $10,000 per child the amount of money adoptive parents may credit on their federal taxes owed effective January 1, 2002.

Now a permanent part of the federal tax code, the expanded adoption tax credit includes domestic foster care, private and overseas adoptions.

The credit begins to phase out for families with adjusted gross income over $150,000.

The expanded tax credit may help to open up more

homes to children yearning for the love and security a Mom and Dad can provide. Prospective parents often find that adoption costs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Doubling the federal tax credit may give more would-be adoptive parents the capacity to move forward.

The refundable $10,000 tax credit also includes adoptions for special-needs children. And effective January 1, 2003, the law will expand eligibility beyond adoption fees to include the costs for special services or equipment the adopted child may need.

As a pro-life member of Congress, I support public policies that discourage abortion, build stronger families and enhance the opportunity for every child in America to be welcomed home by a loving family every day of the week from infancy to adulthood.

According to Lutheran Social Services of Iowa, on any given day our state has more than 100 children waiting for a permanent, secure home life in either foster homes, group homes or treatment centers.

National Adoption Month is a good time to consider the mutual opportunities and rewards that adoption can bring to parent and child. I encourage Iowans who have room in their hearts and homes to consider adoption.

A previously childless couple in Iowa recently adopted two children. Acquaintances often remark how "lucky" their adopted children are to have been welcomed into such a loving family. But they correct such well-intentioned comments. It is they who feel blessed and give thanks for the happiness and fulfillment their children bring to them each and every day.