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!!

Infographic on Foster Care

https://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/infographic-foster-care-adoption/

Infographic on Foster Care

 

When one partner is hesitant about adoption

https://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/reluctant-spouse-one-partner-hesitant-adopt/

 

https://youtu.be/e_h-P90x0dg

Adopted Kids and Divorce — Discussion for Parents

https://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/divorce-adoption-7-things-to-do/

Adopted Kids and Divorce

Adopt from Burundi – Africa

International Child Foundation Adoption

Burundi adoption is open and accepting applications! We have 3 children home with families, 1 more we anticipate completing in September, 3 more toward end of year (including two darling twins), and 3 more children in February. That will be 10 Burundi adoptions! Which means… we would love to have new families starting! Contact us at info@childfound.org
Most children available for adoption will be age 3-8 but children as young as 12 months can become legally free for adoption.  We welcome your interest!
Adopt from Burundi

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

FEATURED ARTICLES & ADOPTION RESOURCES 

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

info@childfound.org

International Child Foundation 11449 N Mandarin Ln Tucson AZ 85737

www.childfound.org

Blue

US DEPT OF STATE

Try us, you’ll like us!

US Dept of State INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION

US Dept of State

Post Adoption & Post Placement Reports

Remember…

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

NCfA & ICF
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
Green

.

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! 

Orange

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!

From NACAC

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!

https://www.nacac.org/taxcredit/taxcredit2014.html

“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…

http://abcadoptionhelp.org/info-for-birthmothers/

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

YOUR READING SUPPORT GROUP

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

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!
Sincerely,
International Child FoundationBlue

National Council for Adoption Conference 2015!

We’ve been at the National Council for Adoption Conference in DC!  Great sessions and presentations… global family care, medical evaluation of children, Brian-based Developmental Theory, Birthmother Care, Family Visits, Search and Reunion, Child Advocacy, Post-Adoption Services, ICWA, Child Placement Best Practices, Bridging the Adoption and Foster Care Community,  International Pediatrics, and lots of networking and discussion!

Jackie, Lauren, Tiffany and Ricardo

Tiffany Jackie and Ricardo

 

National Council for Adoption Conference 2015!J-L-T-R NCFA Conf 2015

Adoption Update! Mar-April 2015

International Child Foundation
Providing Adoption Services, Adoption Education & Home Studies
March-April Adoption Update
Issue: No. 3 of 2015
March-April 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

FEATURED ARTICLES & ADOPTION RESOURCES 

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

 

info@childfound.org

International

Child Foundation

11449 N Mandarin Ln

Tucson AZ 85737

 

www.childfound.org

Blue

US DEPT OF STATE

Try us, you’ll like us!

US Dept of State INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION

US Dept of State

Post Adoption & Post Placement Reports

Remember…

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

NCfA & ICF
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,

Our next adoption seminar will be in Tucson in June… date to be announced.  Please let us know if you are interested.  We will be focusing on the international programs.  We also plan a seminar for July in Phoenix on domestic adoption.  We’d love to meet you!

Tiffany is back from Africa and the UAE and the trip was excellent.  The situation in Burundi this week has devolved into civil unrest due to issues with the upcoming election.  The UN is working towards sorting out the difficulties.  Tiffany communicated with Pierre yesterday, the government offices are functioning… more below.

We’ve been very busy with families adopting from a variety of countries since we started our “Parent-Initiated & Relative Adoption” program. This is a solution for families trying to adopt related children who have lost one or both parents under the recent Universal Accreditation Act (UAA).  This requires families adopting internationally to work with a Primary Adoption Service provider to help ensure the adoption is done ethically and properly.  This creates an extra layer of protection for both families and children.

For Hague Convention countries, families adopting relatives must follow exactly the same protocols as those adopting children from shelters.  Adoption has become more regulated over the past few years with the intent to better protect children and families.  That is the upside.  The downside is that adoptions have declined in part because the oversight is rather cumbersome, expenses have increase and other countries may have a difficult time providing paperwork to exchange with the US in a timely manner.  There are lots of steps.  Think of a very complicated dance and you have a Hague Convention adoption.  It is an achievement every time we complete an adoption.  Good news — we have completed the most adoptions in Mexico of any agency in the US!!  Congratulations to Ricardo and kudos for all of his hard work!

There is a difference in assisting families adopting relatives from Hague Convention versus non-Hague Convention countries.  The Convention requires related families to follow all the same steps as if they were adopting an unrelated child from an orphanage; no shortcuts.  The child has to be referred through the Central Authority.  All the preliminary approvals have to be gained before that happens.  Then it all has to be approved by USCIS.

With non-Convention adoption, in some countries, families can connect to  government offices and courts. The procedures are as rigorous in their own way but may be more openness and fewer complications.  However, in either case, the agency is obligated to provide supervision and ensure that the adoption is done properly.  In addition, USCIS and the US Embassy will review adoption documents and potentially investigate cases prior to issuing a visa for the child.

Our fees are reduced $1500 for Convention relative adoption and more for non-Convention countries. We currently have families adopting from Ethiopia and Nigeria.  Ethiopia requires agencies that are NOT working there on regular adoptions assist Ethiopians from the US adopt relatives, unless the children are residents of an orphanage.

We’ve put launching the Kyrgyzstan program on hold for awhile; we know it has been difficult for most agencies working there to receive referrals and we want to be sure before we introduce the program that adoptions really happen!

We have a new homes study social worker, Annie, who has a great deal of clinical experience and we are developing a more in depth education and counseling program and collecting more feedback post adoption.

Please let us know if you have questions about any of the programs… we are always glad to hear from families!

 Adoption Update! Mar-April 2015

What we focus on expands.

Jackie Semar, MEd

Kala Phelps, MEd

Green

.

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.

Adoption Update! Mar-April 2015 Mexico Adoption
Mexico is going strong! 
ICF has completed the most adoptions from Mexico to date.  Thank you, Ricardo!  He works very hard to get adoptions through and this involves ongoing training and collaboration with the state DIF offices.  We can work in any state and with families across the US, or even overseas, as long as one parent is a US citizen.   
There are many waiting children in Mexico, most of whom are age 6-12.  Several are multi-sibling groups of 2 or 3 or 4 kids.  Please let us know if you are ready to consider adopting older kids! 

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
Moving Along! 

Burundi kidsTiffany came back this week!  What a busy trip.  She met with both the Central Authority and the Ministry of Solidarity and with the US Embassy in Nairobi.  There is ongoing civil unrest, protest and some violence in Bujumbura, but Tiffany heard from Pierre yesterday and he’s been to both the Central Authority and the Ministry of Solidarity offices over the past few days.  The government is functioning despite the political lockdown to curb the unrest and prevent escalation.  The UN has been working with the government toward a resolution.  The current President’s party has nominated him to run, again, and this would be his third term.  The first term was a parliamentary appointment and since it was not by popular vote, he believes he’s entitled to run because it would be his second election by popular vote.  The Burundi constitution limits Presidents to two terms.  The opposition party or parties believe he has no legal standing to be running.  The general consensus of outsiders, such as the US, Europe and the UN, has been to advise him not to run.  This would prevent the sort of protests we are seeing now.  On the other hand he has, over his time in office, managed to keep the country pretty calm despite stormy seas in neighboring countries.  So many people prefer that he stay in power; people value personal security.  But there is enough contention to make for serious disputes and if he is elected; the legitimacy of his presidency could be called into question.  In the midst of all this, Tiffany did set up a new initiative in Burundi with the Central Authority for a conference for all agencies and Burundi officials in the fall and spoke with the State Department about this on Friday.  We are moving forward!  We are keeping tuned in to the political events but our mission is to help kids have permanency in loving families.

Tiffany’s trip to Ethiopia proved more difficult… see below under parent-initiated adoption….

 

Orange

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

Part of Tiffany’s journey in April included a trip to Ethiopia on behalf of our parent-initiated relative adoption program.  While she was able to meet with the US Embassy, the streets were blocked and government offices closed due to protests.  She was quite busy nonetheless and was able to meet two of the children being adopted by relatives from MN. 

Families embarking on international adoptions sometimes start off on their own, particularly when adopting relatives.  In the past, this has been legal, although occasionally fraught with confusion and bad advice.  Since last July, 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, 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…

 

Adoption Tax Credit!

From NACAC

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!

https://www.nacac.org/taxcredit/taxcredit2014.html

 

 

“ABC” Infant Adoption
 

We have matched two families this month!  We look forward to having more matching opportunities soon.  Thank you to the new families who have 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…

http://abcadoptionhelp.org/info-for-birthmothers/

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

YOUR READING SUPPORT GROUP

We recommend subscribing to Adoptive Families magazine for great information on adoption.  Subscribe and read it at www.adoptivefamilies.com 
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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!
Sincerely,
International Child FoundationBlue

ABC Infant Adoption – AZ Adoption Agency – Pregnancy Help

Pregnant? Call 520 531-9931 24/7

AZ Adoption Agency All services are FREE for birthparents! 

24/7 On-Call 520 531-9931

Birthmother Counselor Audrey 480 528-8251

Office 24/7 Support 520 531-9931 

YOUR CHOICES

Call us!  We can listen, answer questions and help you sort through the confusion that accompanies an unplanned pregnancy.  As a birthmother or father…

  • You choose the family to adopt your child

  • You choose whether to have an open or closed adoption

  • We provide counseling, support and answers to your questions

  • We respect your opinions

  • We share your concerns

  • We help with housing, transportation and medical appointments

  • We coordinate with your doctor and hospital for delivery

  • We help you before, during and after the adoption

ABC 2Our birthmothers report “My counselor was wonderful”… “She always answered my calls and texts”… “She was so supportive, at my side, throughout it all”  … “I really appreciated her coming to my appointments with me” and “I never felt judged, she just took good care of me.”   We are truly here to help.

A testimonial… “My adoption experience was wonderful. I met my counselor, Tracy, through a local clinic. She helped me understand the process of choosing adoption for my baby.  She listened to my interests and the qualifications I wanted my son’s parents to have. We decided to go with an open adoption.  The second family profile she showed me seemed perfect. 

Tracy asked if we wanted to meet the adoptive family.  She set up a meeting for us the following week. My boyfriend and I were extremely nervous, but Tracy helped calm my nerves. When we met, I knew they were the perfect family.  From then on, Tracy and I met often.  We discussed how I was feeling, she helped with medical appointments, made contact arrangements with the adoptive family and organized a Hospital Plan for the birth.  I loved the relationship we had.  It was more of a friendship.  I knew she genuinely cared about me and the wellbeing of my son.  Without her, I would have been in a real bind.

Tracy came straight to the hospital when I called to tell her it was the big day.  At one point after delivery, I decided I would like to spend more time with my son before it was time to say goodbye.  Tracy had told me that I could ask her to talk to the adoptive parents for me if a situation like this arose.  Sure enough, I explained my feelings and she was able to talk to the family for me.  Everything was fine and they respected my need to have time to say goodbye.

Eating Breakfast TogetherIn the days following my son’s birth, Tracy contacted me often to see how I was holding up. She offered to connect me with a support group of people I could talk with to make everything easier.  Because of Tracy, I have a fantastic relationship with my son’s mom and dad.  I made the right decision and chose the perfect family.”

We provide pregnancy and adoption services in Phoenix and Tucson, Kingman and Yuma, and throughout Arizona.  If you are a birthmother in another state, we can coordinate pregancy counseling with an experienced adoption social worker in your state.

ADOPTION OPTIONS

Birthmothers have many questions about pregnancy and adoption…

  • Could I be a good mother right now in my life?

  • What are my options?

  • Is there time to consider having an abortion?

  • How does adoption work?

  • Could I get help with my living expenses before the baby is born?

  • Will I be able to see my baby after the birth?

  • Will I be able to choose the family who adopts?

  • What is open and closed adoption? How does it work?

ABC 5These are important questions. It is our job to bring you information, tell you about resources and discuss possible outcomes.  It is not our job to judge you or tell you what to do. The choices are is yours.

Birthmothers may be concerned about the type of adoption; adoption can be closed, open or semi-open. Or they may have strong preferences about the kind of family they wish to adopt their baby.  No matter what your circumstances, call us.  Here are some “Frequently Asked Questions”…

Do I get to choose the family for my baby?
Yes. We will ask you about your preferences, about the sort of family you would like your baby to have. Your preferences and your baby’s needs are the basis for matching you with a family. If you would rather not participate in making a decision, that is okay, too. Some birthmothers share their preferences but ask the counselor to choose the family.

ABC 8How will I know that family I choose will be good parents?
All adoptive parents go through a screening and preparation process. They must be interviewed and evaluated by a social worker who meets with them in person.  In every case, families must pass criminal background and child abuse clearance checks before they can be recommended as an adoptive family.

Will I get to meet the family?
If you wish to meet the family, usually a meeting can be arranged and, if the adoptive family lives close-by, it may be possible to have more than one meeting.

What information will the adoptive parents be given about me?
We will provide information about your health, family history and pregnancy.  We encourage you to share information about your personality, likes and dislikes, talents and skills, too.  The more your share, the better the adoptive family will be able to care for your baby.

What information will I receive about the adoptive parents?
First, the family profile!  This give you a look into the family’s life, home, activities, education and lifestyle, with lots of photos.  We can share information about the adoptive family’s work, pets, religious preference, and other things you may wish to know.

What information do you need about the biological father? What if I don’t know who he is or where he is?
This is not uncommon. It is required by law to search for and attempt to obtain the consent of any known possible biological father. If you do not know the identity or whereabouts of the biological father then we will publish a notice.  The ideal situation is where both the birthmother and birthfather are in agreement with the adoption plan, but that is not always the case. The law provides for you to make a plan for your child if the birthfather is unknown, if it is not possible to locate him, or if he is unwilling to participate.

ABC 3Will someone at the agency be able to provide me with emotional support during my pregnancy and after the birth of my baby?
Yes!  Our counselors are non-judgmental, kind, honest and open-minded. You will have your birthmother counselor’s direct number as well as the agency number. She will help you with pregnancy planning, discuss your options and provide post-adoption resources, as well. Plus, we will introduce you to other birthmothers who are mentors and form a support group.

When will I sign consent papers and how long do I have to change my mind?
In the state of Arizona you must wait three days to consider your placement decision after the birth of your baby, before signing the adoption consents. If you change your mind during these three days, you can. After you sign consents your decision becomes final and irrevocable.

Will I need to pay anything in order to make an adoption plan for my baby?
No. Expenses are paid by insurance or AHCCCS or the adoptive family, as allowable by law. However, you may need to follow-through on applying for AHCCCS, for coverage of medical and hospital expenses.

Will the family be able to help me with living and medical expenses?
Yes. Arizona allows up to $1,000 of living and pregnancy-related expenses to be paid by the adoptive family.  Expenses in excess of $1,000 must be approved by court. The Judge will generally allow reasonable living and pregnancy-related expenses, such as rent and household expenses, through your pregnancy and for a month after delivery.

Will my baby have to go into foster care?
In ordinary circumstances the baby will go to his or her adoptive family’s home directly from the hospital. However, it is possible the baby may stay with a qualified foster parent for a few days, in the event that there was little time to prepare for the placement.

Will I be able to give the baby a name?ABC 9
Yes, if you would like to name your baby, you may. The adoptive family may choose their own name for the baby, as well, but this will not occur the adoption is finalized in court.  Or, you may choose a name together!

What information will I be able to receive about the baby as he or she grows?
In most cases, the adoptive family agrees to provide pictures and letter updates on a regular basis. In-person contact with the family and child depends upon whether you have agreed upon an open or semi-open or closed adoption.

What is the difference between open and closed adoption?
Open adoption is when birthparents  remain in contact with their child after the child has been placed with the adoptive family.

Semi-open adoption involves the adoptive family periodically providing letters and photos.

Closed adoption is when the birthparents prefer to close the door after the adoption is completed, without contact with the child or adoptive family.

Do I need to have a lawyer?
You have the right to consult with a lawyer at any point that you feel it would be helpful for you. It is not necessary for you to have a lawyer in order to complete your adoption plan.

ABC INFANT ADOPTION SERVICES IN ARIZONA

ABC 7ABC Infant Adoption provides initial counseling for birthparents and ongoing support.  Your birthmother counselor will inform you about your rights and explain the process.  The process includes counseling at a location convenient to you, pregnancy testing, and intake paperwork.

Next comes matching with a family of your choice and arranging a meeting with the matched family, if desired.

Living expenses, as allowed by the Arizona court, and transportation cost will be provided.  Also, assistance for medical appointments.

We’ll provide ongoing communication — we provide a cell phone.  Plus, we provide planning and coordinating the delivery with the hospital.

After your adoption is completed, we provide guidance to get back to work, counseling and other help, as needed.  We also provide a fresh haircut and makeover, help with your resume, and connections with other resources including education and training.  We want you to feel happy and successful as you move forward in life!

COUNSELING FOR BIRTHMOTHERS & BIRTHFATHERS

Counseling is provided to both the birthmother and birthfather.  At least four hours of counseling are provided — covering birthparents rights, the adoption process, explanation of types of adoption, general information about adoptive families, discussion of your feelings and preferences, discussion of the emotions common to pregnancy and adoption, support for informing relatives or loved ones, discussion of medical history and personal needs, and answering your questions.

Counseling is meant to be both informative and supportive.  Never judgmental.

ABC 6Your counselor will plan to see you every two weeks and will be available by phone or text in-between appointments.  You will have her direct cell number.  You can call the office, as well, whenever needed.  We will communicate with you throughout your pregnancy and after.  We know your decision is difficult and that in choosing adoption, your decision is also a gift to another family, who wants to have children but can’t.  This is an awesome arrangement… you are able to continue your life knowing your baby is safe and loved, your adoptive family appreciates your decision and provides reassurance the baby is doing well, and you have our support throughout these dramatic transitions.  You will feel grief in placing your baby but also joy in providing him or her with a loving family.

If you have enjoyed the photos on this page, we would be pleased to provide quality photos of your pregnancy.  The photos illustrate the story of adoption, so that your baby grows up knowing his or her mother was beautiful and made a choice to ensure a happy, safe future, with lots of love, education and opportunity.  Adoption is complicated, but it is also a joyful outcome for an unplanned pregnancy.

POST-ADOPTION SUPPORT FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER IN YOUR LIFE

Getting back to normal life is a challenge.  We understand the stress you’ve experienced and want to help you transition toward meeting the goals you had pre-adoption.  Maybe you wanted to get back into school, apply for jobs, or apply for scholarships or subsidies.  We can help you research and access these resources.  We also provide life-skills support.  Please continue to contact us!  We like to know how you are doing because we care.  We are also appreciative if you would consider becoming a mentor and part of our support system for new birthmothers.  Please let us know if you are interested.

More Questions?  Call Us! 24/7

520 531-9931

Armenia Adoption

ARMENIA

March 13, 2014

Notice: Reminder: Adoption Processing in Armenia

The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan has received reports that prospective adoptive parents are being given misleading information about the adoption process in Armenia. Specifically, there may be misleading information as to who is authorized to provide adoption services and which children are eligible for intercountry adoption.

Please note that Armenian law does not authorize professional facilitators, adoption agencies, or attorneys to provide adoption services in Armenia; it allows prospective adoptive parents to grant a power of attorney to an individual to handle most aspects of the adoption process on their behalf.  Some U.S. adoption service providers have contacts with local individuals to fulfill this role.

U.S. citizens wishing to adopt in Armenia should contact the Ministry of Justice, the central adoption authority of Armenia, to inquire about applicable laws and procedures.

U.S. prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers are reminded that adoption services in Armenia can only be completed through direct contact with the Ministry.

Contact information for the adoption authority and the U.S. Embassy in Armenia is listed below:

ARMENIA’S ADOPTION AUTHORITY:
The Ministry of Justice
41A Halabyan Street
Yerevan, Armenia
Tel: 374-10-319-093
Internet: www.gov.am
Email: stepanyan.argam@gmail.com

The Department of State will provide updated information onadoption.state.gov as it becomes available.  If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States.  Email inquiries may be directed toAdoptionUSCA@state.gov.