Monday, November 20, 2017

Someone Else's Shoes

A lot of times as parents we say to our kids; "Put yourself in their shoes." What we are wanting our kids to do is to think about a situation from someone else's perspective. This is a skill that I want all of my kids to be able to do. If we can truly think about issues and situations from someone else's perspective I think it will help us become more compassionate and empathetic people.

During this time of year as we purposefully take time to be thankful, the thing I find myself being most thankful for year after year is my family. My wife, kids, mom, dad, siblings, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Family has always been a huge part of my life and I really do not know anything different. As I find myself being so grateful for the family I have, I cannot help but think of the children who do not have it as fortunate as I did. There are over 400,000 children in the US in foster care and I find myself asking "What do these kids have to be thankful for?" I serve as the CASA for 28 children in our county and I so badly want each and everyone of these kids to have a home and family that they too can be thankful for.

I love it that National Adoption Month and Thanksgiving share the same month because the more I find myself being thankful for all the blessings I have in my life, the more motivated I am to want those same blessings for the lives of children everywhere.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Adoption Tax Credit

Some of you may know that I (Matt) am a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). As a CASA, part of my job is to speak on behalf of the kids in court. I take in all of the information that I can assess the situation and make recommendations to the court on what I think is in the best interest of the child. When I find myself thinking about my role and responsibility as a CASA, I am reminded of Proverbs 31:8-9:
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice." (NLT)

Today I feel the need to speak up about another issue, the Adoption Tax Credit. The Adoption Tax Credit has been around since 1996 and hundreds of thousands of families have benefited from this tax credit, including myself. Currently the credit is capped at $13,460. This credit is often times the deciding factor on whether families adopt or not. If this credit goes away, I am sure that more families will decide not to adopt because it is simply too costly. There are already over 100,000 children waiting to be adopted in the US alone.

To some, this may simply be about the numbers. It is hard for me to reduce the lives of children down to numbers, but for the sake of the argument, I will. Adoption most certainly saves the government money. Let's just look at the young people who age out of the foster care system. These are children who are not reunified with family and who are never adopted. According to a study done by Jim Casey Youth Opportunities, there are approximately 25,000 youth who age out of foster care every year. On average, every young person who ages out, ends up costing tax payers $300,000 over that persons lifetime. So after doing a little math, that is $7.5 billion for every cohort of youth who age out.

Although the numbers are important, there is no greater argument than this; every child deserves to grow up in a loving, stable, and permanent home. If a $13,460 tax credit will help more families be able to afford an adoption, this is something I must be supportive of. So on behalf of all the children who currently do not have a loving, stable and permanent home, my plea to all the members of the House is this, "Do not repeal the Adoption Tax Credit."

We can all do our part by contacting our representatives and letting them know how we feel about this. You can find out who your representatives are by going here.

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