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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Documenting your Adoption Story

During a “first meet” with a birthmother and adoptive family, I came across a neat idea that caught my attention.  The mother of the adoptive family had kept a scrapbook of her first adoption through China.  She took at least one picture of her new child each day, and at the end of the year, put together a collage book with all of these pictures.  She explained to the birthmother that this is something she planned to do again, with her new adopted child, and would share with the birthmother in the future.

Documenting the first year of life with your adopted child and/or your actual adoption process can really contribute to making this process even more special.  It will not only be a great way to share the story with the birthmother but also a very touching way to share adoption with your child as they grow.

Here are some ideas:

Diary/Journal: Write down your thoughts during the adoption process to help express your feelings, needs, and worries.
Photobook: Taking photos and putting them together for your family, and maybe even sharing this with the birthmother.  Check out Shutterfly for creative ways to compile photos.
Scrapbook: A mixture of your thoughts and photos together in one book, a great way to share with others.
Blog: Share your story through the web as there are many people out there who can relate.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Recommended Reading

Going through the adoption process can be very exciting while still being very scary.  Below is a list of some great adoption books that may help ease your nerves. Also, check out the children's books at the end that may help explain adoption to your child when the time is right.

To buy from Amazon, click on the title.

Adult Books:

Dear Birthmother: Thank you for Our Baby (Kathleen Silber and Phyllis Speedlin)

The Adoption Triangle (Arthur Sorosky)

Real Parents, Real Children: Parenting the Adopted Child (Holly Van Gulden and Lisa M. Bartels-Rabb)

The Complete Adoption Book (Laura Beauvais-Godwin)

Born in Our Hearts: Stories of Adoption (Filis Casey and Marisa Catalina Casey)

Children's Books:

Did My First Mother Love Me? (Kathryn Ann Miller)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy National Adoption Month!

Congress has recognized November as National Adoption Month, a month devoted to raising awareness for the adoption of children in foster care as well as to celebrate children and families involved in adoption.  In our foster care system today, there are more than 423,000 children with about 114,000 of them waiting to be adopted by a loving family.

Dedicating a specific day to events to help these children, November 20th is National Adoption Day.

Some National Adoption Day facts:
  • Over 30,000 needy children have joined permanent, or 'forever', families
  • In 2009, almost 5,000 adoptions were finalized through more than 325 National Adoption Day events
  • Events take place in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico
Congress plans on devoting $1.9 B in taxypayer money to assisting these children in need find families and encourages citizens to consider foster care adoption as a possibility.

Please help support these children in need!

For more information on details and events, visit: and

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Today's Finalizations :)

Once again, we had a great day in court of bringing families together.  Here are some of the happy faces!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The federal adoption tax credit. Are you eligible?

To help ease the cost of adoption, the federal adoption tax credit was increased to $10,000 in 2001, today worth $13,170 for each adoption attempt.  This credit does not eliminate the initial need for financing but eventually helps with the overall financial burden of adopting.  However, adoptive parents are often confused whether or not they are eligible for this credit.  Adoptive parents can usually claim the credit for the year of the adoption finalization, even if some expenses were incurred the year before.

Here are some specifics that describe the eligibility of the tax credit:
  • For families with special needs adoptions, this bill provides “flat credit”, meaning the parents are eligible for full credit regardless of their expenses. 
  • For parents taking advantage of their employer’s adoption assistance benefits, the bill has an income exclusion which allows parents to exclude these benefits from their net income.
  • For lower income families, the tax credit is now completely refundable.  This means if the family’s “qualified expenses” exceed their tax liability, they receive the difference in their refund.
  • What are qualified expenses? These are directly related to the adoption and are reasonable as well as necessary.  Such expenses include agency and attorney fees, court costs, travel, and costs associated with a failed domestic adoption.  These expenses do not include those reimbursed by an employer or funded by a government program.
  • For families with a combined income of about $180,000 or more, the maximum available credit is greatly reduced.
Here is an example:  Adoptive parents spend $15,000 on qualified expenses, so they are eligible to claim the full credit of $13,170.  The remaining $1,830 can then be excluded from the family’s taxable income if one of their employers provided adoption benefits.

All good things can come to an end.  As the bill is set to expire in December 2011, make sure to find out if your Congressperson supports the bill at and search “Adoption tax”.  If not, write to them with your personal story including costs, hardships, and a picture of your new family.

Annest, Janna J. “How does the tax credit work? Am I eligible?” Adoptive Families. Dec. 2010, Page 11.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On the Today Show:

As we all know, adopting is a finanicial strain for most, if not all, adoptive parents. Luckily, there are people and organizations out there willing to help.

The charitable organization,, grants adoptive parents with thousands of dollars each year. The organization was started by Becky and Kipp Fawcett, an adoptive family that spent plenty of time and money on the adoption process themselves, and now dedicates their time to helping others in the same boat.

Check out Becky Fawcett on the Today Show:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Adoption Finalizations

This past Wednesday, on October 27th, 2010, we were thrilled to finalize adoptions for three happy families, and their new little addition.