MARC CHASE: Pence hits single, should keep swinging adoption bat

2014-03-13T00:00:00Z MARC CHASE: Pence hits single, should keep swinging adoption batMarc Chase, (219) 662-5330
March 13, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Sometimes you swing for the fences but take solace in a single.

The baseball reference helps me feel better about the promise of a warm spring emerging from this winter deep freeze. Also warming — at least to the heart of a guy who eagerly awaits daily "Daddy" greetings from a 21-month-old princess — is a recent legislative success making Indiana a more adoption-friendly state.

Gov. Mike Pence certainly swung for the fences at the beginning of this legislative session where adoption reform is concerned.

Pence called for an Indiana tax credit for Hoosiers making the very important, life-altering decision of adopting children. The Herculean swing came in Pence's suggestion the state tax credit be comparable to the existing federal credit for such families.

Under the 2014 federal tax code, adoptive families earning $197,800 or less are eligible for a tax credit of $13,190. The credits are tied to legal expenses of offering loving families and futures to children.

No such credit previously existed for Hoosier state tax returns.

An Indiana House bill that passed the Legislature and now heads to Pence's desk for final signature creates a state credit equal to 10 percent of adoptive families' federal credits or $1,000, whichever is less.

So the ball Pence's bat contacted didn't sail over the fence. A $1,000 credit is a drop in the bucket of an exorbitant — often prohibitive — adoption cost.

But at least the ball screamed into the outfield for a hit.

Any amount of money returned to the hands of adoptive Hoosier mothers and fathers means the dollars are spent where they really should be — supporting children.

Indiana Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, also deserves praise for sponsoring the bill.

But it's not time for Pence, Charbonneau or any other state or region lawmakers to rest on any feel-good laurels this legislation creates.

Adoption remains far too expensive — likely to the exclusion of families worthy in terms of love but challenged to afford legal and procedural expenses that can amount to $30,000 or more per adoption.

In future legislative sessions, the state should consider larger adoption tax credits, providing more of a financial boost to families making this move. Scholarships for mandated adoption training and certification — an important hurdle all adoptive parents must clear in Indiana — also should be considered for those who pass state criminal and financial background checks.

Pence and other lawmakers, many of whom vehemently tout the virtues of life over other options, should keep swinging for the fences.

It's really a matter of demonstrating the strength of one's convictions.

Many of you know my wife and I took that swing 21 months ago with an adoption of our own. With every deep giggle, smile and hug we receive from our daughter, Izzy, it's clear the ball has left the stadium and is still carrying on the wind.

Other prospective Hoosier parents — and countless children — deserve this same chance to blast one out of the park.

Investigative Editor Marc Chase can be reached at (219) 662-5330 or The opinions are the writer's.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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