Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother’s Day is Not Always a Day of Celebration

A couple of years ago, about this time of year, I was talking
with a pastor friend of mine. I mentioned how hard Mother's Day
is for women who are struggling with infertility and for birth
mothers who have placed a child for adoption. I suppose I
thought I might be helping to educate her on the complexities of
this day of celebrating motherhood. She sighed and surprised me
by saying that Mother's Day is a nightmare for the church, and
that she was always thankful when it was over. It's not just the
infertile who find this day painful, but also anyone who has lost
a child or is estranged from a child. Women whose children are
struggling with addiction or are in jail often find Mother's Day
sad too since some feel like failures as a mother. Single women
who want to be a mom and feel time passing them by feel their
loss more intensely on this day set aside to celebrate the joys
of motherhood. And then there is the view from the other side of
the mother/child relationship: women who have lost their mothers
or are estranged from their mothers may dread this day that
reminds them of their loss. Wow! I felt humbled.

I thought of how myopic I've been. As a daughter, I liked having
a day to honor my mother. As a mom, I liked having a day where
my kids and husband honor me. As someone immersed in the world
of infertility and adoption, I was aware of how Mother's Day
affects the infertile and birthmothers. If I had taken the time
to think it through, I would have realized of course, that they
aren't alone in their suffering, but honestly, I hadn't taken
this time.

So many who suffer through Mother's Day are invisible. Other
than your close friends, you don't know who has had three
miscarriages, or hasn't spoken to her mother in years, or doesn't
hear from her grown son other than once a year, or who placed a
child for adoption years before. But then pain is often
invisible unless you're the one feeling it, isn't it?

So as you sit in church this Sunday or at a restaurant surrounded
by your family at your celebration lunch, look around you.

Really look at the people who are there and recognize that not
all are celebrating. Also notice who isn't there; who is holed
up at home watching a Law & Order marathon with a gallon of
Ben & Jerry's because it is simply too painful to

I feel for those, such as clergy, who have to navigate this
complex web of emotions, and I respect those that acknowledge the

By Dawn at Creating a Family.

If you are struggling with infertility and considering adoption,
please contact us at 908-444-0999,info@asi-adoption.comand check
us out online atwww.adoptionservicesinternational.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day! Biological and Adoptive Mothers - A Poem For You

Once there were two women who never knew each other.One you do
not remember, the other you call Mother.

Two different lives shaped to make you one.One became your
guiding star, the other became your sun.

The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live
it.The first gave you a need for love. The second was there to
give it.

One gave you a nationality. The other gave you a name.One gave
you a talent. The other gave you aim.

One gave you emotions. The other calmed your fears.One saw your
first sweet smile. The other dried your tears.

One sought for you a home that she could not provide.The other
prayed for a child and her hope was not denied.

And now you ask me, through your tears,the age-old question
unanswered through the years.Heredity or environment, which are
you a product of?Neither, my darling. Neither. Just two different
kinds of Love.Author Unknown

Looking to adopt and become a special mother of a special child?
Contact us, 908-444-0999

Your dreams of motherhood can come true in months not years!

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Families Race to Adopt Before U.S. Tax Credit Ends December 31, 2012

Julie and Brett Redden are in a hurry for the paperwork to go
through for the 6-year-old girl they are planning to adopt.

It's not just that they are impatient to start their lives with
her as she joins an 11-year-old sister adopted from China two
months ago. The Reddens are also playing a game of "beat the
clock" so they can take advantage of a generous federal adoption
tax credit.

They have already missed out on the refundable 2011 credit, which
allowed tax savings of as much as $13,360 per child. In 2012, the
credit is $12,650 and not refundable -- meaning if their total
tax bill is less than the amount of the credit, they will not get
additional money back from the Internal Revenue Service.

But the Redden's real worry is that the adoption will not be
completed by year's end. And unless Congress acts, that credit
will expire on December 31, 2012.

"We are not rich. We are very middle-income, and we have scraped
and saved and done everything humanly possible to bring these
girls home," said Julie Redden, a 31-year-old teacher in Houston.

Redden said she expects adoption costs for both girls to top
$50,000, and there will be ongoing medical expenses because both
have special needs -- the older child is legally blind, while the
younger one has cerebral palsy.

"The tax credit will be enormously helpful to pay for medical
bills," Julie says.


The rules shift regularly on the adoption tax credit, making
planning difficult, especially when combined with the
uncertainties of adoption itself, which can typically cost
$25,000 or more and take months to years to complete.

"The adoption tax credit has never been a permanent part of the
tax code, so every year, or few years, you have to deal with
what's going to happen it," Chuck Johnson, president of the
National Council for Adoption, said.

This year, the credit is not refundable but families that cannot
use the entire credit in 2012 can carry the unused credit forward
for up to five years, using it to offset their income taxes
through 2017.

Next year, without an extension, all that will remain of the
adoption tax credit will be a much smaller $6,000 credit for
domestic adoption for children classified as having "special
needs," a determination made at the state level.

If that sounds confusing -- it is.

Last week, in an early legislative effort to deal with the
adoption credit's changeability, Rep. Bruce Braley, an Iowa
Democrat, introduced a bill that would make a $13,360 refundable
adoption tax credit permanent.

Mark McDermott, a Washington, D.C., adoption attorney who serves
as legislative director of the American Academy of Adoption
Attorneys, believes there will be a credit in 2013, but that it
will be enacted as part of a larger tax andfinancebill.

"I don't think any stand-alone bill will pass," McDermott said.
"That's the way things happen on the Hill."


Not surprisingly, there has been confusion over the rules and
processing delays.

"It's quite a rich benefit," said Kathy Pickering, executive
director of the Tax Institute at H&R Block. "We've had a
number of conversations with the folks at the IRS because there
is still a lot of confusion around the rules. Some people have
not been claiming that credit, or not been claiming the full

To claim the credit, file Form 8839 along with supporting
documentation. The paperwork varies, depending on whether you are
adopting domestically or internationally and whether you are
adopting a special-needs child. Parents who should have qualified
for a 2011 credit but missed it can file an amended return to
maximize their savings.

For a regular adoption, whether domestic or foreign, you can
claim the credit up to the amount of your expenses (including
adoption fees, attorneys fees, court costs, travel expenses,
etc). While for a U.S. special-needs child you may qualify for
the full amount of the credit even if you paid few or no
adoption-related expenses.

In 2010, nearly 100,000 taxpayers claimed the credit for a total
$1.2 billion.

Expect the IRS to take its time examining your return. Roughly 68
percent of those who claimed the credit in 2010 were subject to
what the IRS calls a "correspondence audit," a request for more
information, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office
(GAO) study. Only 17 percent of them were assessed additional
tax, and in no cases were the adoption credits claimed

"IRS used a disproportionate share of its audit resources on the
adoption credit," the GAO report said.

When Kelly and Jeff Elliott claimed the tax credit for adopting
their now 2-year-old daughter Kaylee from Ethiopia in 2010, the
process dragged out for months.

"They wanted to see piece of paperwork after piece of paperwork.
It got kind of ridiculous," Kelly recalled, noting that they did
ultimately receive a check for the full credit.

The Elliotts, who live in Klamath Falls, Oregon, are in the
process of adopting three Ethiopian siblings. Kelly said that
with all the costs of adoption, they hope to get the full credit

With a big family and a middle-class income -- Jeff is a
munitions supervisor at the nearby Air Force training base, while
Kelly works a few hours a week as a Head Start consultant -- they
would like to buy a car that would fit their whole family.

"The credit would be a godsend this year," Kelly said.

NEW YORK(Reuters) -(The writer is a Reuters columnist. Opinions
expressed are her own.)

(Amy Feldman; Editing byChelsea Emery,Linda Sternand Maureen

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Our Personal Adoption Experience in Ukraine

My husband and I adopted our son Alex from Ukraine. For me it was
a process full of specific requirements and documentation and it
was fairly painless. I speak Russian fluently and have lived and
worked in Ukraine for over 20 years. When I was going through
this process, I connected with as many online groups of other
adoptive parents as possible and was amazed at the struggles,
complications, delays, and significant unexpected expenses other
families incurred throughout the adoption process.

While at the orphanage and government organizations, I met
families from all over the United States adopting and so many
shared stories of the extensive challenges they have overcome to
complete the adoption process. I saw an immediate need for an
honest, professional, western firm to make the process of
adopting in Ukraine as painless as possible.

We are thrilled to have adopted such a beautiful, joyful boy and
want to bring this opportunity to welcome a child into a loving
family to others. My goal is for others to realize this dream and
do so in a predictable, affordable and ethical way.

If you or someone you love to adopt a child as my husband and I
did, I can help.

Adoption Services International


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Friday, May 4, 2012