Happy 2017 Adoption Tax Credit News!

In October, the IRS adjusted over 50 tax provisions for taxes filed in 2018 for the 2017 tax year. The maximum adoption tax credit will increase to $13,570, from $13,460 in 2016. Parents who adopt a child with special needs can claim the full amount.

Taxpayers who make more than $243,540 or more annually are not eligible to receive the credit, and phaseouts apply for taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income over $203,540 per annum.

The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group is still working to make the adoption tax credit refundable. The current non-refundable credit cannot be claimed by families that have no tax liability, which rules out most lower- to moderate-income families.

Information provided by Adoptivie Families Magazine — we highly recommend subscribing!!

ABC Adoption & International Child Adoption Update!

Subject: International Child & ABC Adoption Update ~ May-June-July 2015

International Child Foundation
Providing Adoption Services, Adoption Education & Home Studies
May-June-July Adoption Update
Issue: No. 4 of 2015
May-June-July 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links


National Council for Adoption PAL Center

BG Center for Cognitive Developmental Assessment

Joint Council for International Children’s Services

Adoption Learning Partners   Heart of the Matter Seminars

Remember ICF Humanitarian Aid in your Giving Budget!

ICF Humanitarian Aid

ICF Staff
Jackie Semar, MEdRicardo Gallego, JD-Mexico Annie Pratt-Ferguson LMSW Lauren Ramires, BA Kala Phelps, MEd Audrey Slade, BA Tracy Anderson Tiffany Ragels Jennifer Rosenfeld, LCSW Mariann Rubin, LCSW Teresa Doud, MSW Cindy Womack, LCSW Pierre Nibigira, JD-Burundi

Home Study Services

Contact Us!

520 531-9931

480 751-1015

877 542-8813

  Birthmother Counselor 480 528-8251


International Child Foundation 11449 N Mandarin Ln Tucson AZ 85737




Try us, you’ll like us!


US Dept of State

Post Adoption & Post Placement Reports


these reports are mandatory and essential for the continuation of international adoption

USCIS Adoption Forms
Applicants in the United States who are filing an I800a or I600a to adopt an orphan must submit applications and all supporting documents and fees to the following addresses:USCIS via U.S. Postal Service for I600a — PO Box 660088 Dallas TX 75266 for I800a — PO Box 660087, Dallas, TX 75266 via Express Mail & Courier USCIS ATTN: Adoption 2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business Suite 400 Lewisville, TX 75067 USCIS has dedicated a toll-free NBC Adoption telephone line, 1-877-424-8374 and an Orphan Home Study Tip sheet (Form M-760) to aid adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents.   For more information on orphan adoptions visit www.uscis.gov/adoptions

Other Resources

National Council for Adoption


Joint Council on International Children’s Services


Beyond Consequences Institute


Tapestry Adoption Books


Center for Cognitive-Developmental Assessment


Care for Children International Dr Ronald Federici, PsyD


Pediatricians with Specializations in International Adoption Medical Issues

Older Child Adoption
Call us if you have questions about adopting older  children.  We would be happy to discuss your concerns, risks and strategies for adopting an older  child or sibling group.
Dear Families and Friends of Adoption,
I put off writing this update until we could announce our first Burundi adoptions!  We are so very happy for our Forever Families (see above photo) and the three kiddos who are now in loving homes!  Break open the bubbly with us and celebrate our first three children adopted from Burundi!  Toast the families, who deserve many kudos for their trust, dedication and patience.
We had hoped earlier this year for a June homecoming.  But the elections in Burundi raised controversy and troubles there gave cause for delay.  The families traveled shortly after the Presidential election, on July 25, and came home August 10!  This was a short turn-around, thanks to Tiffany’s preliminary communications with the US Embassies in Burundi and Nairobi, and in-country coordination with Pierre, the Central Authority and the US Consular Officer in Bujumbura.  We can’t guarantee that all adoption homecoming trips from Burundi will be this quick, but we will continue to try to ensure all the key people are informed in advance, so that the work that must done during the trip is done quickly.
This is such a fantastic outcome for all the work that has been done as a prelude to these adoptions being completed, starting in January of 2013.  We have several more matched families and hope to complete more adoptions by the end of the year.  Stay tuned!
On the domestic adoption front, we anticipate a 50% increase in placements, with 18 adoptions completed or close to it now, and the potential for more birthmothers delivering before the end of the year.  Our norm is around 12 domestic adoptions a year.  If it turns out to be 24… we will have a 100% increase!  More babies loved and cherished, more happy families!  Tracy is back on board helping Audrey with the increase in birthmoms and waiting families.  We still have a very short list of waiting families… today it is 7.  That’s all!  When we do not have the perfect family already waiting for a birthmother’s preferences, we call upon a couple other agencies, in CO and MA, for more families… and voila!  We have a perfect match.
Relative adoptions have been moving forward smoothly, and we have one Nigeria adoption completed, another in process, a couple in process for Ethiopia and one from England.
We’ve run hot and cold on this… but we did submit our application to Kyrgyzstan and expect to hear something fairly soon, perhaps by November.  We will let you know as soon as we have some feedback!
Our new home study social worker, Annie, has started training with local organizations and hospitals on adoption and also started working with families who have arrived home with their children, to provide the kind of support and resources that adoption parents and kids need.
We thank all of you for returning Adoption Surveys that were sent out earlier this year, to families who were in process in 2014.  So far, they have been universally positive, especially about the accessibility of staff and the communications.  Thank you!  We welcome all feedback but the staff particularly enjoy compliments, of course!  We have busy FB pages, one for International Child Foundation and one for ABC Infant Adoption.  We invite to write a review… Share Your Review  Please “friend” us or “like” us, too!
Please let us know if you have questions about any of the programs… we are always glad to hear from families and colleagues!
What we focus on expands.
Jackie Semar, MEd
Kala Phelps, MEd


PS We welcome your donations for our humanitarian aid and child welfare/development programs.  We are a 501c3 charity and your donation is tax deductible.

Mexico Adoption
Mexico is going strong! 
We’ve completed 34 adoptions so far and the program continues to move along steadily, albeit not at lightspeed.  Ricardo has done more trainings in Mexico and this helps immeasurably with coordinated the progress or documents, particularly with the courts, where the judges are simply not very familiar with the international Hague adoption process.  We have about 22 families in process currently and are very open to more families who wish to adopt a child or siblings, generally age 5 or older.  Mexico has compassionately put a priority on finding families for older children… so that is our mission!  We can work with families from any state in the US and even overseas, as long as one parent is a US citizen.   
There are many waiting children in Mexico and sibling groups of 2 or 3 or 4 kids.  Please let us know any questions! 

If you have any questions about Mexico adoption, the ICF website has a good overview and a link to the US Dept of State for further information about regulations governing adoptions between the US and Mexico… MEXICO ADOPTION 

Burundi Adoption
Time to Celebrate! 

Burundi kidsWelcome home families and children!  As mentioned above, there are three children now home with loving families.  We are very pleased that their travels when so smoothly and hope that continues to be the case, (but no guarantees–it is up to the Embassy to make final decisions on documents).  Now that the Presidential election is over, the country has, for the most part, settled down.  We have four more families with referrals, one just about ready to travel.  Two others 2-3 months out, and another hopefully completed by the end of the year.    Most of the kids from Burundi are age 3-7, with some a little younger and some a little older.  Sibling groups are not common, but every now and then there will a group of two kids.  We’ve yet to hear of a sibling group of three or more kids.  We have 21 families in process and between 20-25 is the right amount of families for us.  We like to provide close personal service and we are aware that Burundi has limited resources at the Central Authority.  So rather than create a backlog of cases, which causes disappointments and frustration, we recommend that all agencies keep their program size small.  We’ve found that “small is beautiful” in adoption… more happiness and less headaches for everyone! Let us know if you would like to talk to our program director or one of our families! 


Parent-Initiated & Relative Adoption
Ethiopia Adoption, Nigeria Adoption
Africa and Asia Adoption
What you need to know

  Congratulations to a family who completed their Nigeria relative adoption!  They live in AZ so we were able to join them for lunch and meet the children… darling children, beautiful, and so happy to be adopted by their uncle!  Sadly, both of their parents had died.  This is a wonderful opportunity for them to start a new chapter in their lives.   Families adopting relative in international adoptions sometimes start off on their own, trying to find their own chart their own course.  Since last July, however, when the Universal Accreditation Act (UAA) went into force, the US government basically will not allow any family to adopt without having an accredited “primary adoption service provider.”  This is the same as saying a Hague accredited adoption agency must provide supervision of the adoption, taking an active part or otherwise ensuring that everything is done properly, transparently and ethically.

It is a serious legal obligation for any agency to supervise these cases.  Sometimes we are asked to “just write a home study” and we have to say we can’t… unless the family identifies a primary adoption services provider.  We will then disclose that agency as the primary provider in the home study so that USCIS will be informed.

Having a primary provider costs money for services. Good news… most families can benefit from the Adoption Tax Credit, which is around $13,000… read below…

New Programs
Partner Programs & Collaboration 
The current status of international adoption is, as many of you know, fragile.  Several countries have closed or reduced adoptions.  We advocate continually for the right of a child to be part of a family.  We have close relationships with other agencies who share our concerns, values and high standards of practice. 

We have welcomed both Generations Adoptions in TX and Bal-Jagat-Children’s World Adoption in CA to work with families who are adopting from Mexico or Burundi.  Families are free to choose any home study agency they prefer, in their state, that is Hague accredited, and we can provide a list of agencies from the US Dept of State website.  But we want to let you know that we work hand-in-hand with Generations and Bal-Jagat because they have had training in our programs and have met with Ricardo and Tiffany.  They’ve worked with  several families and stay in touch with us about program changes and updates.

We are also working with other agencies to provide services for their families adopting from other countries… including Hungary, China, Poland, Latvia, Korea and the Philippines.  Please give us a call if you are interested in home study or pre-adoption services!

Adoption Tax Credit!


For adoptions finalized in 2014, there is a federal adoption tax credit of up to $13,190 per child. The 2014 adoption tax credit is NOT a refundable credit, which means taxpayers can only get the credit refunded if they have federal income tax liability (see below).

The credit is paid one time for each adopted child, and should be claimed when taxpayers file taxes for 2014 (typically in early 2015).

To be eligible for the credit, parents must:

  • Have adopted a child other than a stepchild – A child must be either under 18 or be physically or mentally unable to take care of him or herself.
  • Be within the income limits – How much of the credit parents claim is affected by income. In 2014, families with a modified adjusted gross income below $197,880 can claim full credit. Those with incomes above $237,880 cannot claim the credit; those with incomes from $197,880 to $237,880 can claim partial credit.

The Amount of Credit to Be Claimed

Families who finalize the adoption of a child with special needs in 2014 (see details below) can claim the full credit of $13,190 on the line that asks for expenses-whether or not they had any expenses.

Example – A woman adopts three of her grandchildren from foster care and the state paid all of the fees. All three children receive monthly adoption assistance benefits and thus are considered special needs. The grandmother earns less than $197,880 so can claim the full credit of $13,190 per child for a total of $39,570. How much the grandmother actually receives, however, will depend on her tax liability (explained below).

Other adopters can claim a credit based on their qualified adoption expenses, which are the reasonable and necessary expenses paid to complete the adoption as long as those expenses are not reimbursed by anyone else. If the expenses are less than $13,190, the adopters claim only the amount of the expenses. If expenses exceed $13,190, the maximum to be claimed is $13,190 per child.

Example - A couple adopted two children from China and had $40,000 in legal, travel, and agency fees. They received a grant of $20,000, leaving them with $20,000 in qualified adoption expenses. They can claim only $20,000 (not the full $26,380 they might have been eligible for had their expenses been higher). If their modified adjusted gross income was between $197,880 and $237,880, they would receive only a portion of the credit, since the credit begins to phase out at incomes of $197,880.

When to Claim the Credit

Parents who adopt a child with special needs claim the credit the year of finalization. Parents who adopt internationally cannot claim the credit until the year of finalization. Parents who are adopting from the U.S. and claiming qualified adoption expenses can claim the credit the year of finalization or the year after they spent the funds.

Example – A family begins adopting a U.S. infant in 2012 and pays $4,000 in expenses in 2012, $5,000 in 2013, and $3,000 in 2014. The adoption finalizes in 2014. The parents must file for the $4,000 spent in 2012 on their 2013 taxes. They cannot claim the $5,000 and $3,000 until they file their 2014 taxes.

Read more at the North American Council on Adoptable Children!


“ABC” Infant Adoption

We have a birthmother due next Wednesday and eight matched families.  Audrey and Tracy will be very busy for the rest of the year!

If you are interested in our domestic program please give us a call.  We are happy to explain how it works and the risks that can be associated with domestic adoption.  Thank you to the new families who have recently joined us!

We recommend that all families read about how to talk to their child about adoption as the child grows up.  It’s very important to prepare the path for this information by building a positive awareness of what adoption is, in an age appropriate manner.  There are several books that can help, some for parents, others for children.  Please visit Tapestry Books for a great collection to choose from… http://www.tapestrybooks.com/

Many birthmother have used or use drugs and this presents unique challenges to families.  We want all families to be aware of the risks so that they are clear about their capacity to parent a child who may be drug-exposed.

Heart of the Matter Seminars offers a course on Prenatal Risk Factors and Adoption which you can access through this link…

Heart of the Matter Prenatal Risk Course

Adoption Learning Partners offers a variety of courses, which you can see here… ALP Adoption Courses and they cover everything from developing your parent profile, international adoption, medical issues, attachment, identity, sharing adoption with you child, etc.

The University of Minnesota has an excellent online resource for adoptive parents… UofM Adoption Resources

We encourage adoptive parents to look upon parenting education as an ongoing commitment and to access all the resources you can.

We’ve updated our website page for birthmothers.  Take a look…


Tips for Creating an Adoption Profile

Remember, when preparing your Adoption Profile, think positive!  We recommend that you keep it under seven pages.  Feel free to reach out to us with questions about creating an adoption profile. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep it upbeat!  Use cheerful colors
  • Start with “Dear Friend” or a simple “Hello”
  • Show a glimpse into your family activities.  Show your holidays gatherings with photos of family laughing, eating, and enjoying the company of one another.  Show the quieter times as you knit or scrapbook or garden.
  • No wedding photos — they tend to look too staged or glamorous.
  • The birth family wants to see the real family you are! Your laughter, smiles, the fun environment that your future child may grow up in.
  • Make sure your pictures are large and clear and bright
  • Don’t forget the captions: keep the captions upbeat.
  • Keep the words simple and limit the writing to a 1-3 short paragraphs on each page.
  • Have fun, be warm and cheerful!

The colors you choose and the words you use will convey what a wonderful life you have to offer the baby… and will help the birthmother feel positive about her decision.

Getting “Connected” through Reading 

We recommend several books that can build connections with your child. When you have questions about adoption, let us know.  We would be happy to share some ideas or recommend books for adoptive parenting!  Some favorites about adoption, orphanage life and the countries where we work:

There is No Me without You, Melissa Fay Greene

Raising Adopted Children, Lois Ruskai Melina

The Connected Child, Karyn Purvis, D. Cross, W. Sunshine

Parenting the Hurt Child, Gregory Keck, R. Kupecky

Attaching in Adoption, Deborah Gray

Nurturing Adoptions, Deborah Gray

The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog, Bruce Perry & Maia Szalavitz


We recommend subscribing to Adoptive Families magazine for great information on adoption.  Subscribe and read it at www.adoptivefamilies.com 

In other news…


We always suggest you check with the US Dept of State for current messages about adoption from any country you are interested in.
Check with DoS for country alerts and adoption information…
Also, there is an alert and instructions for submitting the online DS 260 form.  Very important!  If you are nearing the end of your international adoption, please visit the Dept of State website and read.
Waiting Kids
There are lots of waiting kids in the world!  It used to be customary to promote a match by sharing information about waiting children.  However, that reaching-out strategy has been curtailed to protect the privacy of children.  If you are interested in waiting children, contact agencies that have waiting child programs!  Children’s Home Society and Family Services of MN has an excellent waiting list for US kids who need families — visit their website CHS&FS Waiting Kids  Green
Please let them know we sent you!

Adoption Education  
Ongoing education is essential for happy adoptions!  Check out the seminar opportunities at Adoption Learning Partners www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/
They have several new classes., too.
Heart of the Matter Seminar has adoption training, too.
National Council for Adoption has adoption education resources too. 
They all have courses for pre and post adoption, international, domestic and foster-adoption, and other kinds of adoption-related topics.  Heart of the Matter Seminars recently announced a course on Open Adoption and we’d love to get your feedback on it. 
As always, we recommend that you continue your adoption education throughout your parenting experience.  There is always something new to learn!  We all want to be the BEST possible parents for our kids!

Lori’s Story
Lori Hetzel, Adoptive Mother & Author
I’ve been emailing with Lori and she’s been very busy with her family and job and also… she’s working on her book!  Stay tuned.  We’ll be very happy to let you know the publication date!

Humanitarian Aid… helping Children!

We invite you to contribute to our humanitarian programs, which benefit kids in shelters in Mexico, Burundi, Haiti and Ghana.  Our projects have included:

  • Child Sponsorships
  • Disaster Aid
  • Vocational Assistance
  • Birthmother Assistance (Domestic Adoption Program)
  • Shelter Aid
  • Medical Aid
  • Legal Advocacy

In addition, we develop training programs to make it possible for more kids to be adopted through our work with other countries and agencies.  We stress a collaborative approach to adoption.  This is both a good idea in itself and also an important ounce of prevention so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Your donations are tax-deductible.  You are welcome to make a donation through the website (button on home page) or mail a check to ICF at the administration address:

11449 N. Mandarin Lane, Tucson AZ 85737

or donate through PayPal for International Child Foundation     

Thank you for caring about orphans!

We welcome your comments and input.  Please share the newsletter with friends in the adoption community!
International Child FoundationBlue

Save the Adoption Tax Credit!

Grassroots Advocacy Campaign


ALERT – BREAKING NEWS: Last Wednesday, February 26, Chairman Camp of the Ways and Means Committee released his much anticipated  tax reform proposal and it eliminates the adoption tax credit. This breaking news makes our advocacy efforts that much more critical. Now that an actual legislative proposal has suggested eliminating the credit altogether, we need to ensure that every single Member of Congress  hears from us about its importance. Members will only be compelled to fight for its protection if they hear real stories from all of you.


Key Message: Outreach to your legislators is the only way to protect the adoption tax credit.  

Members of Congress want to hear from you – their constituents – about what matters to you.  Legislators only need to hear from 20 constituents about an issue before it becomes important to them.  Remember, Members of Congress are people and oftentimes it is a personal story about why a law is needed that motivates them to act.  They also understand that they are there to represent the people of their district.  They want to know how a particular policy will affect those they are called to serve.

Highlighted FAQ: When will Congress vote on the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act (H.R. 2144/S.1056)?

•      An individual vote on this bill is unlikely to happen. However, the adoption tax credit will remain part of the broader tax reform discussions and is now particularly vulnerable given the proposal to eliminate it. The more Congressional co-sponsors these bills have, the more likely the adoption tax credit will receive favorable attention in these discussions in Congress. Members of Congress are hearing daily from paid lobbyists about other tax related interests, and will have to make tough decisions about which tax policies are their ultimate priorities. Let’s not let the adoption tax credit become a victim because Members of Congress haven’t heard enough about its importance to their constituents! Don’t delay. Ask your Members of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2144/S.1056 and share their responses here: info@adoptiontaxcredit.org.

For more advocacy tips visit: http://adoptiontaxcredit.org/advocate

Call to Action: Initial Emails to Your Members of Congress – Figure out who your three Members of Congress (2 Senators and 1 Representative) are by using senate.gov and house.gov.  Using their websites, figure out the best way to contact each of them (often it will be through an email or a form on their website). Email each of them and explain the importance of adoption and ask for their support in protecting the credit. Use our sample template letter (here) as a starting point, but be sure to personalize it. Speak from the heart and share your story about why the ATC is important to children, your family, or others in your life. Provide the link to www.adoptiontaxcredit.org in your email so they can find additional information.

President Obama permanently extends Adoption Tax Credit!



Media Contact:

Lauren Koch

(703) 299-6633


President Obama Passes Legislation to Permanently Extend Adoption Tax Credit


January 4, 2013 – Alexandria, VA – Late Tuesday night, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8). Amongst the provisions of this Act was an extension of the adoption tax credit in which President Obama signed into law Wednesday, January 2, 2013.


“Working on behalf of children that need families by helping make adoption more affordable for families has been a commitment of National Council For Adoption for more than 32 years” says Chuck Johnson, President and CEO of National Council For Adoption. “With the adoption tax credit made permanent, many families can move forward knowing that this important benefit is there for them.  Right now we are celebrating the passing of this important legislation and the bi-partisan support of adoption that it signals.”

Click here for more details from the Save The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group press release.


# # #



Adria Anderson

Development and Communications Associate

National Council For Adoption

225 N. Washington Street

Alexandria, VA 22314

Save the Adoption Tax Credit

From an email that is being sent out to SAVE THE ADOPTION TAX CREDIT!

We are working to try & save the adoption tax credit. I thought Lutheran
Social Services might be interested in it, since so many adoptive parents count
on this credit. Here is the information:

Please help us save the adoption tax credit for 2012 – 2013. For
many families the cost of an expensive adoption is what keeps them from
bringing home a child - this tax credit helps alleviate some of the cost,
but in 2012 it starts to diminish. The Senate Finance Committee is about to
vote on “S. 82, the Adoption Tax Credit Guarantee Act” and we
are petitioning for them to vote YES to save the adoption tax credit.


The average cost to adopt a child is any where from $25k- $35k or more. Currently,
for the 2011 Tax Year Adopting families are eligible for:

• A maximum of $13,170 for 2011 returns

• Fully refundable as long as the adoption is initiated in 2011 or before, and
finalized before the end of 2012 (domestic) or was finalized in 2011

But in 2012 the Tax Credit is going to change:

• A maximum of $12,170 for 2012 returns only, non-refundable

In 2013 it all goes away, no tax credit at all.

We are working with politicians and petitioning to extend the tax credit as
currently stated in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, so that
more money is available to families allowing them provide a financially stable
home to the adopted child.


To help save the credit, it only takes a minute. Visit this website & add
your name to the petition:


Thank you for your help and consideration.