Why is the Adoption Tax Credit Important?

There are many ways to build your family through adoption including international adoption, adoption from foster care, domestic agency adoption, and domestic private adoption. The adoption tax credit was intended to ease the significant financial burden undertaken by American families with less than $220k annual income, no matter what type of adoption they use to build their family.

The adoption tax credit helps tens of thousands of children every year find a permanent, loving family. By refunding some of the adoption expenses families pay, it makes international and domestics adoptions more affordable, ensuring that more children have the opportunity to have a family and that families at all income levels can offer children a loving home.
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US Department of State Alert re: Haitian Adoptions

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of State issued the following alert on its website regarding the status of Haiti’s process toward implementation of the Hague Adoption Convention: Read the rest of this entry »

Protecting Adoption and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Act of 2012

United States Senators Mary Landrieu (D) from Louisiana and James Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma introduced the Protecting Adoption and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Act of 2012.

This legislation calls for the creation of a National Responsible Fatherhood Registry that could link the registries that already exist in 34 states and encourage the creation of new registries in the remaining 16 states. Registries allow any unwed father the chance to register and consequently be notified of court proceedings concerning his child.

Registries expedite the stable placement of children and protect the safety of mothers by defining a legal process for a father to claim rights to his child. A father must register within a certain period of time after the birth – as determined by each state – and if he chooses not to, a family wishing to adopt can do so without fearing that a biological father will come forward years later and reverse the adoption.

We believe that a national registry would promote responsible fatherhood, reduce the number of disrupted or contested adoptions, and significantly cut litigation costs for state agencies, courts and individuals. Additionally, a national registry would protect the rights of responsible fathers and the privacy rights of mothers while respecting state privacy and adoption laws.

Our position is that a national responsible fatherhood registry will most benefit the children who are born to single mothers, which is about one in three births in the U.S. today. The long-term benefits to aligning state and federal laws to reduce the number of contested adoptions are compelling.

Sen. Landrieu’s legislation would encourage all states with existing registries to provide their data to a national registry, as well as allow men who live in states without registries to register directly with the national database. This would allow men to receive notification of court proceedings in any state. It would also authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to states in order to create registries or modify existing registries in accordance with standards defined by the legislation. The Secretary would oversee the national registry and establish a nationwide educational campaign to inform the public of the registry and how it operates.

Deportation of Adoptees

Last month, Kairi Shepherd, an Indian adoptee who has advanced multiple sclerosis, was told she was being deportation to India — a country she has not seen or known since she was adopted at 3 months old—because of a crime she committed. Her crimes were check fraud related to a drug habit for which she has served her time. However, under the Child Citizenship Act (CCA), Kairi is ineligible for automatic citizenship in the U.S. because she turned 18 before February 27, 2001(the date of the enactment of the Act). Her mother, Erlene, died of breast cancer before she could submit her daughter’s child naturalization application.

The adoption community has expressed great concern about the inhumanity of Kairi’s situation and requested the immediate withdrawal of her immigration charges and those of other adult adoptees who are detained and facing possible removal.

Presently, we are aware of 40 cases of deported or detained adult adoptees. All 40 cases involve non-violent offenses and consist mostly of controlled substance use. They provide a chilling snapshot: deported adoptees have ended up homeless, unemployed, sick, starving, unable to access vital care, without family or community, and even murdered. If Kairi is removed to India — a country whose language and culture she doesn’t know, where she can’t get her medicine, and where her chances of work are slim because of her MS — she will likely die. To read more about this subject see: http://huff.to/K9NYiR

Immigration & International Adoptions (VIDEO)

Video of a presentation by paralegal Daneille Stewart and Attorney Steven Hurwitz regarding immigration and international adoptions.


U.S./Russian Adoptions

The U.S. Department of State’s website on intercountry adoption reports the following development:

On July 10, 2012 the Russian Duma approved the bilateral adoption agreement signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on July 13, 2011. This marks a significant milestone toward the entry into force of the Agreement, which will provide additional safeguards to better protect the welfare and interests of children and all parties involved in intercountry adoptions. To find out more about the agreement, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s FAQs and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) FAQs on the Agreement and its implementation.


A fourth wave of a longitudinal study on openness, involving interviews with 11 adopted young adults, found all of them felt positively about openness because it provided them with access to information, answers to their questions, and expanded love and family connections. “Growing Up in Open Adoption: Young Adults’ Perspectives,” by Deborah Siegel, is in the current issue of Families in Society (Volume 93, Issue 2). A few respondents said knowledge sometimes was painful, but it was better than not knowing. They said openness reinforced their ability to communicate with their adoptive parents. To read an abstract, go to: http://bit.ly/NN7kfa.

Treatment of In Vitro Fertilization after Biological Parent’s Death for Survivorship Benefits

The United States Supreme Court Looks to State Law in Defining “Child” for Purposes of Social Security Survivor’s Benefits

On May 21, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Astrue v. Capato, answered whether a child conceived and born after a biological parent’s death is entitled to receive Social Security survivor’s benefits. In answering this question, the Court was required to consider a law first passed in 1939, and the advancements of modern science and medicine. The Court determined that the answer to the question presented was based upon state law, specifically state intestacy laws. and that under Florida law, which was the governing law for purposes of intestacy, the children were not entitled to inherit from their father and thus were not entitled to receive Social Security survivor’s benefits.