December 7, 2017. "The Adoption Tax Credit Saves Money." Jedd Medefind, the President of the Christion Alliance for Orphans and the head of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiative from 2008-09, has written an excellent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal explaining the necessity for the Adoption Tax Credit. Through the excellent work of adoptive parents, adoption stakeholders and others, the Adoption Tax Credit was preserved in both the House and Senate versions of the new Tax bill. However, the two version now face reconciliation in Committee. We urge Senators and Representatives to continue the ATC in what every legislation emerges. To read the Wall Street Journal article, please click here.
December 6, 2017. The Department of State Unveils Its New International Adoption Webpage. DOS' new webpage has debuted. We are heartened to see this quote at the top: "Recognizing that the child...should grow up in a family environment in an atmosphere of happiness, love, and understanding." We were further heartened to read that "Intercountry adoption is one of the Department of State's highest priorities." We look forward to working with DOS to make that priority a reality for the millions of unparented children around the world. To see the new webpage, please click here.
December 5, 2017. Vermont High Court Rules in Important Gay Rights Case. In Sinnott v Peck, handed down last month, the Vermont Supreme Court decided Sarah Sinnott, retained parental rights to a child that she had parented with her former partner but who she had not formally adopted. In agreeing with Sinnott's lawyers that Sinnott did have parental rights, the Court held opined that "It is hard to imagine how... an approach that allows for a complete and involuntary severing of a lifelong parent-child relationship could possibly promote children's welfare. In many cases, the consequences of such a rule would be nothing short of tragic" We applaud this ruling. The Center for Adoption Policy joined in an amici brief in this case.
December 4, 2017. How Adoptive Parents and Stakeholders Saved the Adoption Tax Credit. When Republican legislators listed the tax credits they planned to axe, the adoption tax credit (ATC) was on the list. This credit, first added to the tax code in 1988, helped almost 74,000 people in 2014 provide homes for unparented children. Adoption stakeholders and parents put together advocacy groups under the coordination of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, the National Council for Adoption, an organization headed by Chuck Johnson and Michaela Sims, President of the lobbying firm Sims Strategies. Groups who came out to support the ATC included Focus on the Family, National Right to Life, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop and LGBT adoption advocates. This nonpartisan coalition forced Republicans to change their mind about eliminating the tax credit. A great victory. More Information.
November 29, 2017. A Growing Trend: Single Men Adopting From Foster Care. We welcome the news that an increasing number of single men are adopting from foster care. The numbers remain small but the rise is significant. Moreover, the child welfare community recognizes this. ADOPTUSKids "encourages placement professionals to look at prospective adoptive parents on their capacity to parent and to do so with the support of family and friends, and not base approval on a trait such as race, ethnicity, national origin or gender." Kathy Ledesma, national project director for AdoptUSKids, adds, "One of the biggest myths is that a person has to be married to adopt." These days one- third of all adoptions from foster care are by single women or men. More Information.
November 28, 2017. Another Reason All Adopted Children Need Their Certificate of Citizenship. At the Duke/CAP Conference last week, USCIS officials stated an important fact of which we were unaware. Until your adopted child actually receives the COC, your child remain listed as a green card holder, not a citizen. Therefore, if you have a child who is a citizen but have not obtained a certificate of citizenship for her, your child will be listed as a non-citizen in all federal government data bases, including the social security data base. Every child needs her COC.
November 27, 2017. AFSA is Twenty Years Old, So? AFSA is the Adoption and Safe Families Act which President Clinton signed into law on November 19, 1997. The goal of AFSA was to move children from foster care and group homes to permanent, loving families. Among other things, AFSA removed some geographic barriers to child placement, required case works to make permanency plans for children, and required substantial review of those plans in a timely fashion. But many states are not in compliance and Congressional oversight is sporadic and ineffectual. The quality of foster care often is appalling. Why do these children have so little protection? Because unparented children have no advocates. Another reason why children need permanent, loving families-so that someone cares about each child as an individual person, not as a statistic or ideological tool. To read more about AFSA, please click here.
November 22, 2017. Center for Adoption Policy/Duke Law School Conference a Great Success. Last Friday we held the first CAP/Duke Law Conference. Its subject was "The Rights of the Child in a Globalized World," and it was the best kind of academic conference, where the speakers passionately engaged about the subjects that are truly vital to children, especially the right of a child to a permanent, loving home. The various presenters prepared materials that are helpful to lawyers, social workers, adoptive and birth parents, as well as immigrants. For that reason, we are making the site, https://law.duke.edu/conferences/2017/adoptionlaw/, a permanent one. Under the tab, "Conference and Other Materials," we will be posting Conference articles and other materials of interest to our community. Please go check it out.
November 21, 2017, More on the Ethiopia Closure-Dedicated DOS Mailbox. The Ethiopian authorities have confirmed their closure of intercountry adoption from Ethiopia. It is not yet clear if all the pending cases will be allowed to continue. If you are a prospective adoptive parent with a child in Ethiopia, the State Department has given the following information: "The Office of Children's Issues has established a new dedicated email address for inquiries related to the ongoing adoption issues in Ethiopia. Prospective adoptive parents, adoption service providers, Congressional staff, and other stakeholders may send new inquiries to EthiopiaAdoption@state.gov. If you have already written to email@example.com with questions or to provide information about your case, you do not need to email us again at EthiopiaAdoption@state.gov; we will respond to you from the new inbox." Reference.
November 20, 2017. Restart the Adoption Movement! Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing opinion writer to The New York Times, has written an excellent op-ed asking for support in restarting the adoption movement. How right he is. Every child deserves a permanent loving family, wherever it may be found. What is especially interesting about Brooks' article is that he cites statistics demonstrating that the prejudice against adopted children has largely disappeared from American life. Brooks says money is the big barrier and he is right that the government and private donors can help solve that problem. The other barrier is the lack of U.S. government recognition of the right for every child to a family. Click here to read the article.
November 13, 2017. "The Rights of the Child in a Globalized World": There Is Still Time to Register. We are delighted to present a Conference, together with Duke Law School, on "The Rights of the Child in a Globalized World." It will be held at Duke Law School in Durham, North Carolina on November 17. With Senator Mary Landrieu keynoting, Ambassador Michele Bond speaking, together with Department of State and USCIS representatives as well as academics and practitioners in all areas of family creation, it is a not-to-be missed opportunity. To Register, please click here.
November 9, 2017. Urgent Update for Prospective Adoptive Parents from Ethiopia. The Department of State has posted the following notice concerning in-process Ethiopian adoption cases: "Ethiopian officials have informed the Department of State that as of November 8, 2017, the ONLY adoption cases that the government of Ethiopia will allow to proceed to completion under Ethiopia's current law are cases with a completed Form I-604 determination OR cases that have a Form I-604 determination that is currently pending with the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa. If an adoption case has not reached this point as of November 8, 2017, the government of Ethiopia will not allow the case to proceed to completion. This means that families who have been matched with a child but have not progressed to the Form I-604 stage may not proceed with the adoption in Ethiopia. If you are uncertain if your case has progressed to the Form I-604 stage, please contact Embassy Addis for confirmation. In light of this information, adoption agencies should not refer new Ethiopian adoption cases for U.S. prospective adoptive parents because the government of Ethiopia will not allow any new cases to be processed. If you filed a Form I-600 Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, with the National Benefits Center (NBC) before November 8 for a child in Ethiopia, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, the child's name, and where you are in the process." To read the rest of the notice, please click here.
November 8, 2017. "Care About Kids? You Should Want to Save This Tax Credit." The quote that starts this column is the title of an eloquent Op-ed from yesterday's New York Times. The author adds more specifics and shares yet another perspective of the importance of keeping the adoption tax credit. According to this Op-ed the annual cost of ATC is $355 million, a tiny amount to the U.S. budget but huge to each individual child who it helps. To read the Op-ed, please click here.
November 7, 2017. What the Adoption Tax Credit Means to Families. Please read the linked article to see the stories of the Bierly and Sims-Stewart families which show the real world impact to children in the foster care system of the Adoption Tax Credit. Three children have loving families now and will grow up in safety and security, with love. Moreover, according Schylar Baber, Executive Director of Voice for Adoption, every child who is adopted will save the government $127,000 for long-term foster care with far better outcomes. This is one tax benefit that should be retained, especially since a large percentage of foster to adopt families have lower to middle level incomes. This article is at http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/07/health/adoption-tax-credit-families/index.html
November 6, 2017. Save the Adoption Tax Credit. The reasons for the Adoption Tax credit are explained in this excellent statement. The Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys President Debra Guston issued the following statement today in opposition to the House Majority tax reform plan which proposes to eliminate the Adoption Tax Credit:
"The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys is disappointed that the House Majority's tax reform plan eliminates the Adoption Tax Credit. Our attorneys know firsthand how critical the Adoption Tax Credit is in helping families adopt and helping children find loving, permanent homes.
Congress should be breaking down the barriers to children being adopted, not building them. We urge Congress to show their commitment to American children and families by saving the Adoption Tax Credit."
Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)
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