Friday, March 16, 2012

Urgent Need: Seven-Week-Old Baby Girl in the US

Sharing this post from The Shepherd's Crook Ministries -- Pray for little Destiny and that her forever family finds her soon!
 
Urgent Need: Destiny
 
This afternoon, we learned of a seven-week-old baby girl, named Destiny, who is in need of a family. Below is the e-mail from the agency that is handling her case. Please take a minute to read it and consider whether you should adopt her:

--
Dear colleagues,
 
We are looking for homestudy ready families who wish to be presented to our new  Illinois birthmom [...] as potential adoptive parents for her daughter, Destiny. (we have a New York license, so NY families would also be eligible )
 
Destiny was born on January 27, 2012 at an estimated 28 weeks gestation.  She weighed 2 lbs, 13 oz at birth.  Destiny has been in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit since birth. She is growing nicely and as of this week she weighs  5 lbs.  She does not require supplemental oxygen, is breathing on her own and in an open crib.  Destiny is currently feeding about 41 mL every three hours.  She takes half of her feedings by mouth and half through her feeding tube.
 
A head ultrasound completed at one month of age showed Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). As [we are] not a resource for general medical information, we encourage families to contact a physician and conduct their own research to learn more about PVL. Here is information from NIH  which provides a brief overview.
 
 
 
Destiny's birthparents are both African American. [The birth mother] does not report using alcohol or drugs during her pregnancy. The birthfather has not been identified and the 30 day Putative Father Registry search showed no results.
  
[The birth mother] would like hear about any interested families. If an adoption occurs, she would like to stay in contact with the adoptive family through photos and letters and perhaps an annual visit, depending upon where the family resides.
 
If you have a family who may be  interested in learning more about Destiny and would like to be considered as an adoptive parent, please let us know. Interested families will receive all of the available medical information and photos of Destiny.
--

Destiny has progressed well in her young life, but it is likely that she has a long road of medical treatments and therapy ahead of her. She actually reminds me a bit of my seven-year-old sister-in-law, Kathryn, whom some of you know. The two girls aren't identical in their needs or in the root causes of their disabilities, but Kathryn's condition is similar to what children with PVL can experience as they grow. Kathryn is doing exceptionally well compared to the prognosis she was given as a baby in Guatemala, and that is due in no small part to the love of her parents, who advocate for her needs and get her the physical therapy that she needs. As a child made in the image of God, Destiny deserves the same advocacy and love. Please pray for her and for her future parents, and feel free to forward this e-mail on to others. Any interested families should write to destiny@theshepherdscrook.org for more information on this little girl.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our experience with the Adoption Tax Credit (ATC)

It's tax time again and in a follow up to my recent post about the ATC I'd like to share our experience with it last year.  Last year was the first year that they changed the "credit" to a refund whereas you did not have to wait to get the full amount but could get it all as a lump sum in one year. 

With our first adoption we got it in bits and pieces over three years.  In the past the credit was just that, a credit.  You could only receive the amount that you owed in taxes that year and no more.  Now you can receive the refund no matter what your tax burden is as long as you meet all of the other requirements. The paperwork needed is much more specific now than it used to be and it quite burdensome. 

Of course, last year was the first year so no one (including me) knew exactly what they wanted.  When we filed originally I only sent our placement paperwork and a copy of ND's assignment of an ATIN.  This was definitely not enough.  Documents showing exactly what you have paid and to whom are also now required.  We obtained an affidavit from our attorney, billing statement from the agency we used for E's counseling, and our bank statements. 

We received the first part of our refund not related to the ATC about a month after filing. The other new part of the ATC is the requirement to paper file.  Everything had to be mailed.  After getting the first part of our refund we got a letter from the IRS about 2 weeks later asking for additional paperwork for our adoption.  I gathered it all and faxed it.  I must have also called ten times at least.

Once all that was sent we still heard nothing for about 6 weeks.  Long story short, I ended up contacting a Tax Advocate to help get our stuff pushed through.  I am not sure it helped but we did get our refund about 4-weeks after that.  I highly recommend that anyone filing for the ATC call and call and call until you get it.  Find out where your case is being handled (what office).  Call and make sure your fax/mail was received.  Call and make sure the reviewers have it.  Get an TA like we did if you really need to (you must have a financial hardship related to your adoption expenses). Yes, you're being a pain and holding up the process (according to the IRS) but so many families had their paperwork lost last year, or sent to the wrong office, it really is best to just bug them to death.  Or maybe that is just my personality?

Oh!  And when you send anything make sure you use tracking through the USPS or Fe*dEx. That way you know exactly when it arrives and have proof that it got there.

Any questions?


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Adoption Tax Credit.

WARNING!  *I am about to offend a lot of people.*  Which is nothing new, I guess...

I just caught this tweet about the Adoption Tax Credit (ATC) and it being in danger of going away.  The tweet links to an article here.

Here is the thing, and my thoughts have changed on this a bit as I've begun looking at it from various perspectives, the ATC should not be in the business of providing children for infertile couples.  Yes, infertility is awful and painful, but it is not the job of our government to subsidize it's citizens familial longings.  It just isn't.  And this is coming from a pretty left-leaning-liberal-adoptive-mother.

The original intent of the ATC was "...to encourage further the adoption of special needs children…."  In addition, the 1997 law sought to "remove the barriers to inter-ethnic adoption".

Recent studies have shown that the original intent of the ATC has not been achieved.  The credit has mainly supported "higher income" families and those adopting internationally. (http://www.nacac.org/adoptalk/adoptiontaxcredit.html) It is not doing what it is meant to do. 

Now don't get me wrong, we benefited from this program, I share that openly.  But I don't see how it is helping place children who actually need a home, like whose parents rights have been terminated or their parents are dead?  Or children with special needs or are "harder to place"? 

Thoughts?  Am I just a heartless biotch?  Wait, don't answer that... ;-)