Tax Adoption Deductions - Adoption, What To Do First
The Complete Book of International Adoption: A Step by Step Guide to Finding Your Child
by Dawn Davenport

This book is for anyone thinking about any form of adoption because it has a great discussion and comparison of all forms of adoption. Although the book goes on to a thorough coverage of international adoption, The author is clear that all forms of adoption should be considered and there is no one type of adoption that is best for everyone.

The book covers everything a prospective parent needs to think about, but the author is nonjudgmental about many of the choices parent will have to make. With each choice she urges parents to be honest with themselves and to put the interest of the child first.

The first couple of chapters most helpful if you are just starting the adoption process: are you ready to move on to adoption, what type of adoption is best for us, how to choose a country, and how to choose an agency.


Tax Adoption Deductions -

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Tax Adoption Deductions
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Tax Adoption Deductions * Adoption, What To Do First

Adoption, What Do I Do First?   
Janelle Spaulding

This article is the first in a series. It is in no way complete or thorough. Please look for further articles in the future.

There are many legal aspects to adoption that vary from state to state, court to court, and case to case. You will need an adoption attorney for complete advice on the proper steps to take for your situation.

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Adoption Initiative Halves Numbers Of Kids Needing Families (Denver Post)
The number of Colorado children in foster care awaiting permanent adoption has been cut in half by a partnership between churches and government that places parentless kids in "forever homes.&quo...


Step 1: Educate Yourself about Adoption

Talk to adoptive parents, read pertinent books and articles, and contact local and national organizations that can provide you with information about adoption. Acquaint yourself with common adoption terms, and learn about relevant laws in your state to make sure that you are following legal guidelines as you pursue your adoption.

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State Asks Supreme Court To Hear Tribal Adoption Case (Alaska Public Radio Network)
The state’s attorney general’s office is asking the US Supreme Court to examine an appeals court decision in a tribal adoption case. The case stems from a child custody and eventual adoption...


Step 2: Contact an adoption attorney.

Adoption is a complex legal process. an attorney versed in adoption can give you advice specific to your circumstances. There are several places that you can look to find an adoption attorney. The local yellow pages under adoption attorneys, the local court system, the local or state bar association, the AAA (Association of Adoption Attorneys), and sometimes local adoption organizations or agencies will have listings.

Step 3: Consider the type of child you can best parent.

Open your mind to the different children available for adoption. You will need to consider age, race, number, ethnic background, special needs issues, and sex. Each of these possibilities opens new doors for you. The type of child you choose will affect your waiting time.

Step 4: Decide what type of adoption is right for you.

There are several kinds of adoption, each with its own complications, wait times and advantages. No matter which option you choose, starting with an attorney is always your best choice. Public Social Service Agency Adoption

Public agency adoption involves any child in public foster care, those involuntarily terminated from their parents, most children with special needs (abuse issues, medical needs, sibling groups, age, etc.), or any child in the custody of the state or county. Cost is usually none or minimal.

Private Agency Adoption

Private agency adoption offers more flexibility, younger children and babies. Private agency adoption fees start at $15,000. Intercountry, also called foreign or international, adoption is also in this category.

Independent Adoption

Independent adoption involves an attorney, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents. The choise of adoptive parents depends on the individual birth parents' wishes. Costs include attorney fees, court costs, travel and any support given to the birth mother.

Paid Facilitator (Unlicenced Agency) Adoption

Paid facilitator adoption is not allowed in most states and poses a legal risk. Facilitators are not licenced in most states. Paid facilitator adoption offers less protection for the adopting couple, birth parent, or the child. Some facilitators charge the same or more than licenced adoption agencies. Check carefully when choosing this option.

Step 5: Investigate ways to cover adoption expenses

Adoption agency service charges vary widely. Always request information from the agency prior to signing any contracts. Many agencies reduce service fees to families who adopt children with special needs. You will need a home study, and because adoption is a legal process, you will need an attorney. The cost of a home study vary. Plan to spend between $2,000-$3,000. Attorney fees and court costs can range from $1,500 to $7,000 depending on the complexity of your case. Fortunately, due to federal and employer-initiated programs, parents have several options for covering the cost of special needs adoption.

Loans Adoptive Families can apply for flexible loans such as home equity loans and insuranceloans.

Grants The National Adoption Foundation (NAF) provides eligible families with financial assistance, services, and support before, during, and after their adoptions are finalized.

Employer assistance

Employers that offer adoption benefits may provide workers with: direct cash assistance for adoption expenses reimbursement of approved adoption expenses paid or unpaid leave (above and beyond federal leave requirements established through the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993) resource and referral services

Tax Credit

Since tax year 2002, adoptive parents whose annual adjusted gross income is less than $190,000 have been able to take advantage of up to $10,000 in tax credits or per child to offset qualifying out of pocket adoption expenses. For special needs adoptions finalized in 2003 and after, adoptive parents can claim up to $10,000 adoption tax credit per child regardless of their out of pocket expenses. The tax credit can be carried over for 5 years if not all used in the first year.

Adoption Assistance

If adopting a child who has special needs, adoptive parents may be eligible for a federal or state adoption subsidy (also known as adoption assistance). Special needs children are considered hard-to-place and therefore qualify the adopting parents for special services. Special need is decided by each state but is always based on age, number of siblings in the group, medical needs, or history of severe abuse or neglect. These children can be from a public or private agency but must fit the state criteria to qualify. Benefits vary from state to state, but commonly include: monthly cash payments medical assistance social services one time adoption costs (travel, legal fees, court costs)

Step 6: Begin the Home Study Process

A home study is best described as an educational and evaluation process designed to help your social worker learn more about your ability to provide a stable home, to teach you about adoption and its affect on children and families, and to prepare you to parent a child whose experiences and history may be different from your own. With few exceptions, everyone who hopes to adopt must have a completed home study. Depending on the agency, the worker, and the prospective parents’ cooperation, the process can take from two months to a year. The following items are commonly required during the home study process: an autobiographical statement — a statement you create about your life history; certified copies of birth certificates for you, your partner, and any children; a certified copy of your marriage license certified copies of divorce decrees the death certificate of a former spouse certified copies of the finalization or adoption decrees for any adopted children child abuse and criminal record clearances, or a notarized statement from the police declaring that you and your partner have faced no felony convictions income verification (may include tax returns, W-2 forms, and paycheck stubs) a statement of health provided by a physician, which might include lab test results written references from friends, employers, neighbors, etc. finger prints Interviews

Step 7: Attend Adoption and Parenting Classes

Public agencies require adoptive-foster parenting classes. These classes are designed to acquaint prospective parents with issues that can arise when adopting a child in state custody. Private agencies or attorneys may also require some form of parenting training. Contact your local Foster Parent Association or your state or county department of social services for information on training available in your area.

Step 8: Begin Searching for a Child

If you adopt through an agency, learn how the agency matches birth and adoptive parents. Home studied families, approved to adopt, can register to become a site member of If you are a family or individual at the beginning of the adoption process, you can use to view children awaiting adoption in the United States. You do not need a "user ID" or "password" to search the listings of waiting foster children and read their profiles. Photolistings are also available for individual states.(These lists do not include those children available through private agencies, independent sources, or facilitators.)

To keep the process moving, stay in close contact with your agency and offer to help in the search process by reviewing photolistings, attending matching parties, or updating your parent profile.

The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) maintains a listing of adoptive parent support groups, as well as other good sources of information about special needs adoption. To request a list of local support groups and other adoption resources, contact NACAC at

Some portions of this article's information are provided by the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse.

For Websites and Additional Resources suppliment.html

Janelle Spaulding: Stay-at-home mom and teacher to 10, 8 of whom are adopted. Author of The Family Assistant Newsletter: A resource for parents and families.

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Index of Articles about Tax Adoption Deductions

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