I am currently expecting my second child. Naturally, I’m excited about this. So is Ben, our first “son”, who is unofficially adopted in. Johnny, the first baby I actually gave birth to, hasn’t caught on yet. Perhaps when Mommy starts showing.
And our friends and neighbors are excited as well. Many hope I have a girl, and I do as well, although I suppose it would make God laugh for me to have a house of three boys, as I grew up in a house with three girls. I get asked all sorts of questions, but this one surprises me, even though I got asked this question before when I had Johnny.
“Does America really PAY you to have a baby?”
When I was asked this question before, I laughed. I had no idea where this idea came from. I said, “Of course the government doesn’t PAY anybody to have a baby.”
Then I filed my income taxes.
For the first time, I was able to claim the Child Tax Credit. I cannot claim this for Benjamin, as he is not a U.S. Citizen, nor is he legally my child. But I was able to claim Johnny.
And I got extra money on my tax return for having a baby.
So now that I’m getting asked this question again, I pause for a moment. Having collected the Child Tax Credit, and also knowing something about my friends and neighbors here, I see where they’re coming from.
True, you only get a tax return once a year. But you have to understand that most Thai people are farmers. And farmers get paid ONCE A YEAR. They get paid when they sell their crops. Not only that, but the average farmer makes about the same amount of money that I got on my tax return for having a baby.
No wonder they think I’m getting paid for it.
Of course, you don’t just GET the money when you have an American baby. You have to file a tax return, which means you have to have a job and pay taxes to begin with. Also, if you owe taxes, they are subtracted from that money. My husband was disappointed that I got less money this year because I had to pay self-employment tax.
But one of my friends was not so happy when I told her how the Child Tax Credit works. She is Chinese…and she got angry.
“In China,” she said, “you pay MORE taxes when you have a baby!”
Ah yes, the Chinese government only wants the family to have ONE baby, so I suppose it makes sense to make families with more than one pay more taxes. My friend is single, but came from a large family with four children. I suppose they live in Thailand for a reason.
But at least she was able to understand how taxes work. I tell other people that it’s a tax credit and not an actual salary, but all they hear is, “You get money for having a baby in America. You should drop everything and go to America and have babies so their government will give you money.”
And people wonder why we have an immigration problem.