INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mike Pence announced this week he's advocating a new state tax credit to help adoptive parents defray the expense of the costly process.
The credit could help parents like Ashley Clough, who adopted their now-3-year-old son Garrett and say they'd like to adopt another child – if it weren't so costly.
"Without Bethany [Christian Services] and without our birth mom, I wouldn't be a mom," Clough said. "And it's the most rewarding thing I could ever do."
The Cloughs went through a non-profit adoption agency, in this case Bethany Christian Services, when they adopted Garret. Before that, they spent years, and thousands of dollars, on ultimately unsuccessful in vitro fertilization attempts.
"I think a lot of couples that are coming into the adoption process have been through fertility treatments and have already spent thousands and thousands of dollars to try to have kids," Clough said. "When you come and find out it's going to be $20,000-$30,000 more, it's a gut check."
Director of Bethany Christian Services Linda Wrestler said she sees a lot of parents come in like the Cloughs – interested in adopting, but struggling with the upfront expense.
"We have people say, 'We can afford to raise a child; we're just having trouble meeting the initial cost to do it,'" Wrestler said. "Thankfully, the federal government also has a tax credit."
But even with that credit, the Cloughs say they don't have the money to match their desire to adopt a second child.
"It being Christmas time … thinking about next Christmas, who else will we have in our holiday card picture – that's pretty emotional and pretty exciting to think about," Clough said.
Gov. Pence said this week he'd like to make Indiana the "most pro-adoption" state. To do that, he's proposed an additional state credit for taxpayers already benefiting from the federal adoption credit.
Pence also wants an interim study committee to explore faith-based and community adoption programs and how to better connect the state's adoption services.