Amanda's Epistle

The continuing story of my life in Thailand

Does America really PAY you to have babies?



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.


Author: amandachwa

I am an English teacher living in Thailand with my Lisu husband (a Thai citizen) and our children, ages 10, 4, and 18 months.

2 thoughts on “Does America really PAY you to have babies?

  1. The question sounded funny. Since I lived in a foreign culture twenty-three years I understand.

  2. immigration problem. ………….

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