Friday, December 10, 2010

Education on the Adoption Tax Credit

Hey guys! Your accountant doesn't know what to do on your behalf if you don't tell them. Read this quick article to educate yourself on the Adoption Tax Credit. It takes about twenty to thirty minutes to read, and it could make you some quick cash! I had a client who thought she could claim '0' on her tax returns. Now she is claiming the entire $13,000 + because of what she learned in this short article! So please, for your sake - and for the sake of your pocket book! READ THIS

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Adoption and Foster Care Symposium

You are invited to an Adoption and Foster care Symposium
Saturday November 6 from 10 30 am until 3 30 pm
Hosted by Hope Ministries at
Crosspointe Church
2601 24th Ave SE (just off Hwy 9)
Norman, OK

The symposium will feature speakers from International, Domestic and DHS adoptions as well as Foster Care information. Lunch and childcare is provided for those attending. A donation of a new article of childrens clothing is suggested, but not required, and will be used to provide for children in emergency foster care situations. This symposium is a one-stop-shopping spot for those families considering either fostering or adopting, with experts in a variety of adoption related fields answering questions in breakout sessions and an Information Fair.

Please RSVP to either or our facebook event page (use the email address to find us on Facebook). We need to know who needs childcare and need a headcount for lunch! If you have any other questions, please contact La Deana Roberts @ 630-7600

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Adoption Option Number 2

Okay, so the second option for adoption in Oklahoma is by using an adoption agency. I feel like I could seriously write a book about this, so I will try and touch on the important things!

The agency works as an advocate for both the adoptive family and birth parent wanting to choose placement for their child. The agency counsels both the birth parents and adoptive parents before the actual adoption takes place. Most agencies have some sort of training and also an application process.

The cost for using an agency in Oklahoma can be anywhere from $3,500-$25,000. Usually this amount is paid over the course of the adoption with a large amount paid after placement. They are so smart waiting until you have your sweet something in your arms to then ask for the big bucks! And can I tell you, IT'S SO WORTH IT! I have never been more excited to write such a big check...but you've got your bundle of love in your arms and you've experienced one of God's most amazing miracles of adoption! Well talk more about cost later...
The hardest part to starting this process is to choose your agency. A good place to start is the website for the Oklahoma Adoption Coalition linked on the right of our blog. They have a list of placing agencies. I would encourage you to ask around and talk to friends who have adopted that could give you advice. When you are looking online, you can generally tell if the agency has the same agenda as you. Are they a Christian agency or do they share the same beliefs? What do they offer birth parents as far as counseling and support? Is the counseling free? If so, for how long? I got frustrated because one agency said they do offer counseling but it was half price for the birth parent. Another agency said they offer free counseling, but when I asked for how long it was only until 2 months after placement. What? This is something that birth mothers will deal with off and on for years...2 months is an insult (but I guess it's better than half price?)! Make sure that your agency has a good handle on respect of birth parents and that there is no coercing going on to place the child. The agency should never bring up adoption unless the parent is seeking placement or information on placement.

When you are researching agencies think about your new child and family. What are you going to need as far as support in 5-10 years. Does this agency provide any kind of post-adoption care for the family and child? Do they have get togethers, seminars, support groups, classes, camps?

It's so easy when starting this process to focus on placement and feeling the need for it to happen as quickly, care free and cheap as possible... Remember there is a reason that adoption costs money, the agency does a lot of terribly hard work and they need to be paid just like any other hard working individual. The cost in adoption falls on those that can pay and that have resources...the adoptive family. So if you need to think about it this way, keep your focus that you are helping your child's birth parent survive this. This is the most painful thing that a person will go through in their life, choosing placement for their child. It takes a lot of support to survive it.

There can be grants available for funding if that is a problem. Some agencies have those grants available for "hard to place" babies (African American, exposures to drugs, alcohol, etc). Some agencies allow for donations to be made for a specific adopting couple that are tax deductible. Check with your church. Several churches are starting adoption ministries that will help grant money to pay for adoptions. Most any couple you talk to about how they afford adoption will tell you that God made it happen. There are miracles left and right about how God works it out! Take a leap of faith!
Generally speaking, domestic adoption in Oklahoma can be rather quick. Wait time from "ready" to placement can be two weeks to two years. This usually depends on what specifics you have placed on the child you are open to (race, exposures, open/closed adoption, etc.). Most agencies allow for the birth parent to pick the adoptive family. There usually is no "match" like in international adoption.

Most agencies encourage some degree of open adoption. This could be anything from pictures and updates twice a year to visits, phone calls, emails on a monthly basis. Most of the time agencies still encourage some confidentiality, so there aren't visits at homes or baby sitting and such. People always ask me that, so that is why I addressed what "open" can mean! Having an open adoption is not legally binding. The adoption is still complete/final, but there is a written agreement of contact between the birth parent and adoptive parent. Most of the time this agreement fluctuates as the relationship grows and changes. The adoptive parent and the birth parent can choose what they want their adoption to look like as far as openness. I will have to devote a whole post to open adoption...I could go on and on here!

After a child is placed in your home, the birth parent sets a court date to relinquish rights. After this is complete the child is really in legal custody of the agency and the family is more like foster care. For the next 6 months you have home studies, interviews and check ups to make sure the child is safe and thriving in the new family. Once this period has lapsed the agency releases you to legally adopt the child. Now you take your attorney and get a court date set for finalization! The only hard waiting time is from leaving the hospital with your baby to the court date for the birth parents rights. Once this has been completed, you can rest easy praying that you can pass the interviews! Ha!

Hope this has been helpful. Please post any questions or comments so that we can address anything that I have missed!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Adoption Option, Number 1

In the next few days, or weeks, we are going to give you the Adoption Options as they stand in Oklahoma. So today, the first option available to families, is through the Department of Human Services. To make it simple and to the point. There are mainly two ways in which you may adopt children through DHS.

The first way to adopt a child through the Department of Human Services (hereinafter DHS) is to foster children. Click HERE to find out how to become a foster parent. The good side of this is that you do not have to pay to become a foster parent, in fact, you are paid to foster children in the State of Oklahoma. In addition, the children will have their own health insurance, DHS will pay for daycare if it is needed, and you will receive a monthly stipend. The downside to this, you have DHS in your home, you are restricted in your parenting methods (such as discipline) and you MUST take a training course, which is about seven weeks. But again, I must point is biblical, and it is FREE. In addition, if the child placed in your home becomes eligible for adoption, the legal services finalizing the adoption are paid for by OKDHS. Therefore, this is really the only FREE method of adoption in Oklahoma.

The second way is to apply to adopt a "waiting child". These children are typically older children, mixed races, sibling groups or special needs. But wonderful, beautiful, loving little creations that need a home and a forever family. Click HERE on how to adopt through DHS. The only expense to the family is the medical exam that each family member must have prior to finalization. Click HERE to see some of the precious children right here in Oklahoma, waiting on a family.

So that is lesson number one on adoption options....please ask questions and check back for updates and answers to those questions.
***It was brought to my attention that you may have to pay for a physical which costs approximately $50. You will incur this cost!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oklahoma Statistics.....

In Oklahoma, we are never forced to face the facts. Here are some hard facts that came from a recent audit done of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS). Although DHS does the best that it can with the resources available. Following are some recent (2007) statistics. Here are the top ten:

10. Only sixty (60) percent of children removed from their homes by the State are ever reunified with their parents.

9. In 2007 alone, 573 children aged out of the foster care system....and were never adopted.

8. Only 40% of children adopted from DHS are adopted from their foster care parents.

7. In 2007, 506 children who were waiting adoption had been in the system for MORE than five years.

6. The average age of a child adopted through DHS is 6.5 years old.

5. Eleven (11) percent of children are placed in permanent guardianship's, eight (8) percent age out of the system, Nineteen (19) percent of children are adopted and sixty (60) percent are reunified. The other two (2) percent of children either run away or die in foster care.

4. Forty-six (46) percent of children in foster care are adopted by their family.

3. Sadly, in Oklahoma, 20% of waiting children are African American while only 11% are being adopted, 15% of children are Hispanic while only 12% are being adopted, 22% are multiracial and only 16% are being adopted, 8% are native american and 11% are being adopted, and 35% of children are Caucasian and a staggering 49% are being adopted. Clearly Caucasian children are being preferred.

2. Once a child reaches the age of 9, the likelihood of being adopted drops significantly.

1. 4,628 foster children in Oklahoma are waiting to be adopted.

There is something that you can do. Call 1-866-512-2565.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reminder for Foster Care Support Groups - Tulsa County

I recently met with a neat lady who leads a Foster Care Support Group in the Tulsa County Area. Although, anyone is invited to attend these meetings. Maryleta Ayers is the President of Tulsa County Resource Family Association. They basically support foster families and children in foster care. Maryleta is passionate about what she does. And she does not just speak about foster parenting, she is a foster parent. AND she is an adoptive parent, to the tune of NINE children, either biological, fostering or adopting. And I don't mean she has only had nine children in her home. I mean she has (and I hope I get this right) three biological, three adopted and she is fostering three that she soon hopes to adopt! She is a wealth of information.
In addition, it is my understanding that foster parents have a type of "continued education" they must complete every year. Maryleta says attending this support group qualifies you for one credit! So not only do you get the support of sharing with other foster parents, you get credit for it! This is a win win!!!

The meetings are on the SECOND Monday of every month at Christ United Methodist Church on 36th and Harvard at 7:00 p.m. If you would like to contact Maryleta directly, you may do so at or on her cell 918-698-0252. If you are a foster parent, this is a MUST!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Financial Resources for Adoption!

One of the major struggles for families (and a reasonable one) is having the finances to pay for adoption! Adoption can be fairly expensive. When you add up attorney's fees, possible agency fees, home study, filing fees, travel expenses, and any medical or birth mother expenses, the total amount can be overwhelming! We are so excited to tell you about a Christian Program that we have found that helps relieve that burden! Lifesong is a's main philosophy is making God's calling in your life possible, by offering many programs to help families adopt children! What a beautiful ministry. They have programs that offer choices such as matching grants or interest free loans! If you are not considering adopting because you believe that you can not obtain the funds, please read this site and contact this Ministry to see if they can help make your dreams of becoming a family come true.

Click HERE to go directly to their website!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

$147,289.42 in Attorney's Fees, Costs, etc.

Here is a link to a recent case by the Supreme Court. It should serve as caution when hiring a good attorney. Review thoroughly - this couple paid the above amount for the adoption. The Supreme Court of Oklahoma (Oklahoma's Highest Court) sent it back for the Judge to determine the reasonableness of the fees. If the Judge determines that the amount is unreasonable, the money is ordered to be refunded to the Adoptive Parents. This is a great case for adoptive families and protects the money they spend to make sure every dime is necessary. Also, read so that you know as you spend your money in the adoption, your expenses are approved! Have a good weekend!



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tax Time.....

The 2009 Federal Adoption Tax Credit will be $12,150.

This is for all qualified adoption expenses in the year the family finalizes their adoption. We recommend families consult a tax professional regarding their tax needs.

PLEASE NOTE: Current tax filing for the 2009 tax season provides for $12,150 adoption tax credit. We strongly recommend adoptive families consult a legal or tax professional for more details.

What is the Hope For Children Act? The Hope for Children Act (Public Law 107-16) provides tax credit for “qualifying adoption expenses” to $12,150.(2009) It also increases the employer adoption assistance exclusion to $10,000.

When did the Federal adoption tax credit go into effect? The Hope for Children Act is effective January 1, 2002. This expanded tax credit will sunset and the Adoption Credit will revert to its original $5,000 cap in December 2010, unless the sunset is repealed. A current bill The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213 will extend or make permanent the expanded adoption tax credit. Contact your state senators and representatives to urge their support of this important legislation. To learn more about the Adoption Tax Credit's history, click here.

What are ‘qualified adoption expenses? According to the IRS: “Reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including meals & lodging) and other expenses related to, and whose principal purpose is for, the legal adoption of an eligible child.”

Who qualifies for the tax credit? In 2009 persons with modified adjusted gross incomes of $182,180 or less, phasing out for modified adjusted gross incomes up to $222,180.

Do all adoptions qualify for the tax credit? Non-special needs domestic adoptions and FINALIZED international adoptions qualify. Overseas adoptions must be finalized in order to be legal and deemed a US citizen.

What about special needs adoptions? Domestic special needs adoptions are defined as children who are US citizens and determined by the state of residence to qualify for financial subsidy for adoption. We have a special post coming soon by a family who has just adopted a special needs infant domestically, so stay tuned!!!

How does the tax credit work for international adoptions? International adoptions must be finalized. While some adoptions are finalized in the child’s country of birth, state law in the United States governing finalization varies. All states do not recognize “adoption finalization” overseas, requiring families in those states to re-finalize the adoption to qualify for the tax credit.

Can families claim the full credit over multiple years? Yes, the credit can be applied against tax liability over six years or whenever expenses reach the $12,150 cap (2009), whichever comes first.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Asking the Hard Questions

This is a story of a friend that I have grown to love and admire. I asked her if I could share this story knowing that it could help so many of us as we embark on adoption to make sure that our children and their birth families are protected in every way. Please read Charissa's story below and pray for their family!

"It is with great sadness and regret I announce that due to very difficult circumstances we will not be adopting the three children from Ethiopia that we committed to adopt.We hired Celebrate Children International (CCI) to facilitate our adoption. However, as time went on we became increasingly concerned and uneasy about the lack of answers we were getting, the defensiveness of the agency, and mostly, the fact that the agency was so heavily involved in the relinquishment process, when this is clearly a conflict of interest according to every other reputable agency we contacted.

We terminated our contract with CCI, hoping we could find some answers through a private investigation. We were able to find someone who could go to the orphanage personally to interview the children and their mothers. Our suspicions were confirmed by the mothers, CCI had approached these mothers and encouraged families to place their children for adoption to the United States. We have video of the director specifically telling the mother that she could easily find a new family for her child.

Other than the videos, we do not know what the mothers were told or whether they were offered anything in exchange, or why they didn't take the children back when they were offered them, but it was clear "our" three children are/were orphans as a direct result of an adoption agency recruiting and exploiting families and their children. We have been told the orphanage where the children have been residing has cut ties with CCI as well, stating they were also concerned about ethics that were being violated by the agency. The children are now listed with another more reputable agency. We feel peace knowing this new agency is now carefully investigating all the cases of the children at that orphanage who were previously listed with CCI.

It is my prayer that these investigations will result in the children being returned to their biological families.As you can imagine, this has been an extremely long and difficult three months for our entire family.CCI continues to practice in Ethiopia and will most likely continue these unethical practices. We have done what we can to report the evidence we have to the proper authorities, and the agency is now being investigated in Ethiopia and in Florida. Unfortunately when we called the state of Florida, we were told that there have been multiple complaints about CCI, many of them about similar unethical practices in Guatemala but there was little that can be done until Florida updates their laws to include international adoption. The US State Department can only challenge Hague accredited organizations. CCI was denied Hague accreditation and so they are exempt from US State Department scrutiny. There is a loophole that allows unethical and illegal activity to continue and it is explained in this article.We made the difficult decision to challenge our agency by asking them difficult questions. In doing so, we believe we have uncovered things that every adoptive family should be prepared to uncover.

Please pray with us that families can be restored, truth come to light, and that justice will be served. There are so many vulnerable children that are true orphans that do indeed need homes. We will always advocate adoption for those who truly need to be adopted. However, sadly, it has come to our attention that there is a great need for reform and accountability for those who profit from the adoption industry.

This adoption turned out much different than we prayed or imagined. We set out to do good by adopting a sweet little girl wearing a yellow dress, but we pray we have done a greater good by doing what we believe was the right thing to do. We are reminded that those kids were never 'our' kids, they were the Lord's all along. We have relinquished them back into His care, trusting that He will be their Defender, Protector, Father. I just thought you all should know. Thanks for your prayers and support. We are open to questions if you have any."

I will link their blog here in case you want to contact her for questions. May we all learn from the incredible questions that this family asked and decisions they made and may we all follow in their steps!