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Your State Adoption Tax Credit — and How You Can Protect It

As the continued existence of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit comes into doubt during Congress’ upcoming tax reform legislative sessions, many adoptive families and adoption professionals are worried — and rightly so. Adoption tax credits are a huge factor in making the adoption process more affordable for families across the United States, creating more prospective homes for waiting children.

But, while you may be aware of and support the federal adoption tax credit, you may not know about a smaller, more local resource available to you — your state adoption tax credit or refund. Like the federal tax credit, your state adoption tax credit deserves your attention and support, too.

But, first, it’s important to understand exactly which states offer adoption tax credits. Here’s a list of them:

  • Alabama: $1,000 per child for a private intrastate adoption or adoption of a qualified foster child
  • Arkansas: 20 percent of the federal adoption tax credit
  • Georgia: $2,000 per child for children who were adopted from state foster care
  • Iowa: $2,500 tax credit
  • Kansas: Up to 75 percent of your federal adoption tax credit
  • Michigan: $1,200 refundable tax credit
  • Ohio: Up to $10,000 tax credit
  • Utah: $1,000 tax credit

Unfortunately, as you can see, not all states offer additional tax credits or deductions for families who adopt. Some states, like Wisconsin, are actively undergoing legislative discussions to update their tax codes — but not all support the existence of adoption tax credits. Those legislators who are unaffected by adoption may not understand the whole aspect of the adoption tax credit — which is why it’s so important for you to let your local representative hear your voice!

Whether or not your state is actively debating your adoption tax credit or deduction, it’s always a good idea to show your representatives your support at any time. When you make clear how much your current adoption tax credit means to you (or how much your state should implement one), it emphasizes to your representative the importance of this resource — and will let them know what their constituents value in case the adoption tax credit is ever brought to the table for discussion.

You can contact an adoption attorney for more information on the state adoption tax credit and any upcoming legislation here.

To get involved and make your voice heard, contact your state representative by finding them on your state legislative website, please share to spread awareness of the importance of adoption tax credits, and fight to keep as many adoption resources available to American families as possible.


Your Voice Matters – Help Save the Adoption Tax Credit!

As many adoptive families know, the adoption tax credit (ATC) helps make adoption more affordable, giving safe, loving, permanent homes to as many children as possible. But now, the credit is vulnerable and may be eliminated as part of tax reform — and we need your help to save it! Join us as we work to keep pressure on Congress to save the credit that makes it possible for all families to adopt.

As an adoptive family, you can help by sharing your story and creating a surround sound of voices defending the credit and asking that it be made refundable. Now is the time for you to let your legislators know what the adoption tax credit has meant for you and your family.

Your voice matters — Congress will only #SaveTheATC if they understand the real-world impact and feel that their constituents support it. Here’s how you can take action now:

Share Your Story with a Video Message

Follow these easy steps to share your story directly with your Members of Congress:

  1. Click here. Using your phone or computer with a camera:
  2. Click Send Video. A new window will pop up — click Make a Video.
  3. The camera will turn on, and you’re ready to record! Click the red button to start recording.
  4. When you’re done telling your story, click the red button again to stop recording.
  5. Review your video to make sure it’s what you want, and re-record if you want to make any changes.
  6. Click Send Video Message — and you’re done!
  7. Enter your info or log in with Facebook — it will ask you if your zip code is correct. Click confirm to send the message to your Members of Congress!
  8. Click the Facebook and Twitter buttons to share immediately with others and encourage them to take action too!

Find your U.S. Senators and Representatives here.

Spread the Word on Social Media

Don’t stop there! Once you’ve recorded your story, make sure to share it on Facebook and Twitter. Here are some sample tweets and posts that you can share:

Sample Tweets

  • The adoption tax credit made adoption possible for me and my family. Watch my story here [LINK] #SavetheATC #taxreform
  • .@(Your Member of Congress) Without the adoption tax credit, I wouldn’t have been able to afford adoption. My story here [LINK] #SavetheATC #taxreform
  • For me and thousands of families, the adoption tax credit made adoption possible. Watch my story here [LINK] #SavetheATC #taxreform

Sample Facebook Post

  • Without the adoption tax credit, I would not have been able to bring home my child[ren]. Watch my story here! [LINK]. Please join me and tell Congress we must save this credit! #SavetheATC #taxreform

Save the Adoption Tax Credit also provides tips for calling your Members of Congress, as well as a sample script you can use when contacting your Senators and Representatives to tell your story.  

For more information about the Adoption Tax Credit and legislative proposals important to adoptive families, visit


10 Ways to Fundraise for Adoption

It’s no secret that adoption is expensive. Depending on the type of adoption you pursue, you could be looking at spending as much as $50,000. And while you’ll want to look into loans, grants, employer benefits and the adoption tax credit, it’s likely that you’ll still have to come up with a large sum before you can adopt.

There are reasons that adoption is so expensive, and you can read about those here. This post, though, is going to focus on ways to raise that money. We understand that not all families have $50,000 lying around. (Wouldn’t it be nice if you did, though?! Sigh.) This doesn’t necessarily bar you from adoption. It just means you may have to get creative.

Families have funded their adoption in so many ways; it would be impossible to include every method in one post (although Fund Your Adoption did a pretty decent job). Instead, we’ve picked some of our favorites. You can certainly get creative with your adoption fundraisers—some families make things like jewelry in order to store away extra cash — but these 10 are tried and true. Sometimes, sticking to the classics can yield some of the best results.

1. Have a yard sale. There’s no way you don’t have a few possessions lying around that you don’t really need. And hey, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Get realistic about what you do and don’t need, and try to declutter your home a little. You’ll need that extra space for a new child anyway! If you live in an area where this would work in the traditional sense, and the weather will accommodate you, go for it. If not, it’s fairly easy to sell things online these days. Thank you, Craigslist and eBay.

2. Sell some food. Maybe this is a bake sale, maybe it’s an ice cream social, or maybe it’s a chili cook-off. It really doesn’t matter; people love their food. Think about what your strengths are kitchen-wise, and what would be the most cost-effective route in your community. Obviously, season factors in as well. Don’t have a chili cook-off in July, and an ice cream social probably isn’t a great idea in February. Otherwise, though, go crazy. Ask for people to donate food (or turn it into some type of competition), and ask for people to pay a small fee, maybe $10, at the door to come in and eat. (Hint: Sometimes it might work better to ask people to donate whatever they can instead of assigning a dollar amount per plate.)

3. Design a T-shirt. Chances are, your family and friends are going to be eager to spread the word of this fundraiser to their family and friends. A great way to help them do that is to turn them into walking billboards! Just kidding — kind of. Designing a t-shirt and selling it will not only raise some fairly immediate cash, but it’ll help to let other people know just exactly what you’re trying to do. Even if they don’t necessarily want to purchase a shirt, they may be more likely to follow your journey and participate in other fundraisers.

4. Hold a sporting event/tournament. Never underestimate the power of healthy competition. The exact event may depend on weather and location, but a day of games is always a safe bet. If it’s summer, try to find a park with a sand volleyball court or a softball field for some slow pitch. People who don’t know you will attend just for the sporting aspect, and people who do know you will most likely be willing to participate even if sports aren’t necessarily their thing.

5. Try adoption crowdfunding. We’ve all seen people using GoFundMe for various reasons on our Facebook feeds. This is an option for adoption, too. We recommend skipping GoFundMe, which takes five percent of every donation you receive. Instead, try a site like YouCaring, AdoptTogether or Pure Charity.

6. Send out letters announcing your adoption decision. Sometimes all it takes to get people excited about your cause is just letting them know about. Sending a letter to your family and friends is a way to personally let everyone know what’s happening and what you’re hoping for in terms of donations and fundraising. Some people will help you out and some may not, but if your letter is written well, this can be a tasteful way to ask for help without pressuring anyone too much.

7. Have a silent auction. This can either take place online or in person. Have people from your community donate goods and services, and then auction them off to the highest bidder. If you choose to do this in person, it may be wise to combine this one with a food-related fundraiser as well. People are going to want to have something to eat or drink while the bidding takes place.

8. Have an online raffle. This follows the same principle as an online auction. Have people donate goods or services, and then raffle them off. Set up a Paypal account or a similar method of receiving money to sell the raffle tickets. Just make sure you’re prepared to deliver those goods and services quickly!

9. Host a 5K. It seems like there’s a 5K for everything these days, but that’s because they work. People seem to love exercising in the name of a good cause.

10. Have a cookbook fundraiser. Everyone has that favorite family recipe they just know is better than everyone else’s. Have your family and friends submit their favorite recipes, and then compile them into one cookbook for sale. Everyone will love knowing that others are trying their recipes, and they’ll get the chance to get their hands on some new ones as well.

If the idea of paying for an adoption is intimidating to you, we hope these suggestions help you in terms of figuring out how to fund that life change. Remember, you really aren’t alone! To learn more about other ways to pay for adoption, click here.


2016 Adoption Tax Credit

With tax season around the corner many of our families are wondering what the Adoption Tax Credit is and how it works. Below we have provided a brief explanation of the Adoption Tax Credit, the updated amount available to families for the 2016 tax season, and an infographic to help families understand how the Adoption Tax Credit works.

What is the Federal Adoption Tax Credit?

The Federal Adoption Tax Credit can help families offset the costs of qualifying adoption expenses, making adoption possible for some families who could not otherwise afford it. Families who adopted a child, or tried to adopt a child, and paid qualifying expenses may be eligible for the credit.

With the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 the Adoption Tax Credit became a permanent part of the tax code. However, the tax credit is not refundable, which means that only those individuals with tax liability (taxes owed) will benefit.

The maximum adoption tax credit for 2016 is $13,460. The Adoption Tax Credit limit is based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and is recalculated each year based on current cost of living. For the 2016 Adoption Tax Credit, the maximum amount available will begin to phase out for families with MAGI above $201,920 and will be unavailable to families with incomes around $241,9200 or above.

The infographic below further outlines how the federal adoption tax credit operates:



18 Ways to Fundraise for Your Adoption

adoptwithoutdebtAdmittedly, the cost of adoption is fairly high and it can be difficult for some adoptive families to pay for their adoption without going into debt. While tax credits, adoption grants and employee benefit programs can help alleviate some of the costs they don’t always cover everything.

In these cases, adoptive families often turn to fundraising to help pay for the cost of adoption. With the help of Julie Gumm’s Adopt Without Debt, we have complied a list of 18 adoption fundraiser ideas that can help pay for your adoption.

Search, Sort and Sell

Look around your house and garage for old/unused items (toys, clothes, exercise equipment, electronics, etc.). Sell what you can and donate the rest. Earn some extra cash while also decluttering your house!

Start by posting larger items, such as exercise equipment and electronics on sites like Ebay or Craigslist (note: anything too big to ship should be listed on Craigslist). Next, try consignment stores for name brand items. Whether it’s adult clothing, children’s clothing or even accessories or toys, there’s probably a re-run store near you who will buy items that are in good condition.

Or you could simply sell everything in a garage sale. Some families have had major garage sale success by asking for donations to their adoption fund instead of using set prices on items.

Sell Your Craft

Turn a hobby into a money maker! Etsy is a great place to sell handmade items such as artwork, jewelry, quilts, clothing, or anything else you can think of. If you’re skilled with a camera, consider booking photo sessions. This can be done on nights and weekends and is a great way to boost your adoption fund!

Puzzle Piece Sponsors

Buy or create a 200-500 piece puzzle and ask friends/family etc. to sponsor a piece for a certain dollar amount ($5-10). When someone buys a piece have them write their name on the back so their role in your adoption journey will always be remembered. When all the pieces are sold, assemble the puzzle and hang in the child’s room.

Some adoptive families have also done this with quilts. Buy enough fabric squares to assemble a quilt and sell each square for $5-10. Have permanent markers nearby so everyone can write a message to your family or the child on their square. When all the pieces are sold, sew them all together to make a beautiful and personalized quilt.

Baby Bottle Campaign 

Buy bottles in bulk and design a paper flyer to go in each bottle telling about your adoption. Then distribute them to friends, family, businesses, churches, schools, daycares- whoever is willing to put their spare change in the baby bottle. Give them one month to see if they can fill the bottle and then collect them. It’s amazing how quickly spare change can add up!

Bake Sale

Gather all of your close friends and family and bake like crazy! Bake pies, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, rice crispy treats, anything you want. When you’re done take all delicious goodies and host a bake sale in your neighborhood, at your church or your kids’ school. This is a great fundraiser that can be combined with another fundraising event, such as a 5k, movie night or benefit dinner!

T-Shirt Sale

Design a t-shirt that symbolizes your adoption journey and sell them to friends, family, and strangers. Do it yourself through a local printing shop or use a company like Create My Tee or TFund to process orders for you.

Not digging the t-shirts? You could also sell sweatshirts, tote bags, bracelets or water bottles. This is another great fundraising idea that could be combined with a larger fundraising event.

50/50 Raffle

A 50/50 raffle is best when paired with an event like a 5k, benefit dinner, or sporting tournament. The adoptive family sells raffle tickets for $2-5 per ticket. At the end of the event draw one ticket and split the collected money with the winner 50/50. This is a fun and easy way to boost your adoption fund!

Car Wash

Take a trip back to your childhood with this one! Gather all the kids and family members you can and host a car wash fundraiser. Choose a hot summer day and have fun playing in the water while you wash cars.

Movie Night

Find a spot where you can play a family-friendly movie for several people (outdoor spaces are perfect for this kind of event!). Pick a classic movie that everyone loves, or a new favorite, and invite everyone to attend. Ask for $10 per family and provide popcorn and drinks for them to enjoy during the movie.

Benefit Dinner

Benefit Dinner’s don’t have to be as fancy as they sound. Many adoptive families prefer to do these fundraisers in a more casual style – common meals include pancakes, spaghetti and chili. Ask for $3-5 for individual tickets (offering a discounted family rate) and give attendees the option to donate more if they’d like to.  Gather volunteers who can help prepare the food, serve food, collect money and clean up.

Give your dinner a boost by selling baked goods, t-shirts and/or raffle tickets!

Trivia Night

Host a fun-filled trivia night at home or at a local restaurant where guests can get into teams and let their competitive sides loose. Ask for a certain rate per team and have a variety of categories from kid’s shows to American history so everyone can participate!

Host a 5k Run/Walk

Hosting a 5k is a bigger commitment than many other fundraising ideas, but they can be so much fun and could potentially help you to raise thousands of dollars toward your adoption fund. Families will often charge anywhere from $25 to $50 per person (with a discounted rate for families). This generally includes a t-shirt, support and water during the run, and a healthy snack after.

Add giveaways to make it more fun for everyone! Ask for donation from friends and family and even local businesses that can be used in a raffle during the race. Sell raffle tickets before the race for $1-5 and draw names once everyone has crossed the finish line.

Bonus: Use the event to educate others on adoption by providing adoption information and facts.

Silent Auction

Like a 5k, a silent auction can be a major time commitment, but can help raise a lot of money toward your adoption. You’ll need to start by asking for donations. Friends and family who have special skills, such as photography or crafting, can donate their time or creations to be auctioned. Or you can ask local businesses to donate products or gift cards to be auctioned. However, many companies have regulations on donations and may not be able to donate.  If you don’t want to host a silent auction on its own, combine it with a benefit dinner!

Golf or Softball Tournament

Tournaments are another big commitment but can be so much fun for everyone involved! First you will need to find a location and set a date and time. Depending on the number of entering teams you may need to spread the event over two or three days. Or all-night tournaments can be added fun, when possible of course! You will also need to find volunteer score keepers and/or umpires to help with the event.  Ask for a base fee per team or individual, depending on the sport, and provide fun trophies and t-shirts for the winners.

Fundraising Letters

An old standby, fundraising letters can be sent to family, friends, neighbors and businesses. Many families find it difficult to ask for donations in this way, but instead of asking them to help you add a child to your family, ask them to help a child in need.

Go Fund Me

Go Fund Me is a great way for adoptive families to fund their adoptions. Any one from relatives, to neighbors, to strangers across the country can donate to help you reach your goals. Creating a page is simple and sharing your page and your story is easy through social media.

Just Love Coffee

Just Love Coffee is an amazing company that was founded by adoptive parents and sells fair trade coffee from around the world. The company offers a fundraising program where adoptive families can sell the coffee for up to 12 months and receive $5 for every bag of coffee sold.

Partner with Lifesong for Orphans for the Both Hands Project

This is an incredible, unique opportunity where you can work with your church or community to serve a local widow, as you fundraise for your adoption.

18 Ways to Fundraise for Your Adoption

Related Links:


Budgeting Tips for Hopeful Adoptive Parents

Adoption is not just a huge emotional investment, but a financial one as well – and if you’re a family just learning about adoption, you’re probably wondering how to start budgeting.

Here, we’ve offered some information about adoption costs and how to plan for them accordingly.

Breakdown of Adoption Costs

The costs of adoption will be different depending on what type of adoption and program you choose. At American Adoptions, costs can usually be broken down into the following categories:

  • Agency fees
  • Home study
  • Advertising
  • Birth mother expenses
  • Travel
  • Legal fees

These fees will come up over the course of your adoption. While it might seem like a lot of information to take in, there are some things you can do to make budgeting easier.

Ways to Plan Your Budget

It’s never too early to start creating a budget. If you’re just beginning to prepare for your adoption journey, here are some tips that can help you plan for the journey ahead:

  • Learn about your adoption program – Every adoption program has different fees and payment arrangements, and that information will help you prepare.
  • Write it down – Put all of your costs and financial information into a computer application, like Microsoft Excel, to keep everything organized.
  • Check out your financial aid options – There are many loans, grants, and financial aid options for hopeful adoptive parents.
  • Try fundraising – Parents in the past have thrown bake sales, raffles, and other community events to raise money for adoption.
  • Leave some wiggle room – when you are setting a budget, choose a range rather than an exact number.

Our Adoption Specialists can also work with you to help you know what to expect and make sure there are as few surprises as possible. Wherever you are in your adoption journey, American Adoptions is always available to help you achieve your dream!


Adoption Tax Credit 2015 [Infographic]

Adoption Tax Credit 2015 - small teaserNow that 2015 has come to a close – and we’re finally getting used to writing 2016 on our dates – many families will begin to prepare their finances for tax season. As you do so, don’t forget to look into the Federal Adoption Tax Credit.

For 2015, the maximum adoption tax credit is $13,400 for all qualifying adoption expenses. The adoption tax credit is not refundable, which means that only those individuals with tax liability (taxes owed) will benefit. The credit will remain flat for special needs adoptions (those involving children who are deemed hard to place by a child welfare agency), allowing those families to claim the maximum credit regardless of expenses.

The adoption tax credit income limit is based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and is recalculated each year. In January 2013, the Federal Adoption Tax Credit was made permanent, although the credit could change or be eliminated in the event  of future tax code reform. See the infographic at the bottom of this post for more information on how the tax credit can help your family.

If your family also lives in a state that offers an adoption tax credit (amounts vary by state), you may receive credit for additional expenses as well.

Read more about the Adoption Tax Credit, qualifying expenses and how employer reimbursements could affect your tax credit status on our website. And follow the American Adoptions’ blog for any new updates on the adoption tax credit.

Haven’t Yet Finalized Your Adoption Placement?

Learn How to Seek the Adoption Tax Credit Before Finalization

Every year, adoptive families ask if they can file taxes without their child’s social security number, which is typically received after the adoption is finalized.

Your adoption attorney should apply for a SSN along with the final amended birth certificate after the finalization court hearing. If you do not have these items yet, you our your accountant and/or tax representative can apply for a temporary tax identification number for the baby. You can file your taxes with that number.  Here is a link to Form W-7A for information aboutobtaining a temporary tax ID number. You can also search the IRS website for Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number information.

For more information on the adoption tax credit and exclusion, visit American Adoptions recommends that you contact a local accountant or qualified tax professional for more specific information for your family. 

Adoption Tax Credit 2015 - smaller

The Federal Adoption Tax Credit needs your help!

Currently the Federal Adoption Tax Credit is nonrefundable, so it can only help certain families. Because of this, the Save the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group is currently working with members of Congress in an effort to preserve the tax credit and make it a refundable credit. As a refundable credit, every adoptive family within the MAGI range would benefit, making adoption a more affordable option for our families. Learn more about how you can help advocate for a refundable credit.


Crowdfunding Your Adoption

crowdfundingMany prospective parents open their hearts to adoption with hopes of finally fulfilling their dreams of parenthood, only to be discouraged when faced with the practical challenge of affording their adoption. With all of the fees and services involved, private domestic adoption can cost families tens of thousands of dollars, placing financial stress on couples and individuals who are ready to grow their families.

Fortunately, prospective parents have options when it comes to financing their adoption. One increasingly common and highly effective tool is crowdfunding.

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is online fundraising that harnesses the power of social networks to drive awareness and donations from all over the world.

YouCaring, a leading crowdfunding website, has recognized the power of crowdfunding to help hopeful parents complete their families through adoption. The site pioneered compassionate crowdfunding, a form of free online fundraising that supports humanitarian causes and brings kindness and community to those in need. Their platform connects adoptive families and other people who need financial help with compassionate friends, family, and even strangers from all around the world who are willing to lend a helping hand.

How does it work?YouCaring Logo

Through YouCaring, hopeful adoptive parents can upload photos and videos to help tell their story, share their profile on social media and receive donations, all without paying the 5 to 10 percent fee charged by most crowdfunding sites.

If you are interested in crowdfunding your adoption or want to learn more about online fundraising, here’s how to get started:

If you are ready to adopt, cost should not prevent you from welcoming your new child home. Online fundraising is one simple way to help ease the financial burden of adoption so you can focus on what really matters — your growing family.


2015’s Most Adoption-Friendly Workplaces

Adoption Friendly WorkplacesEach year, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption publishes the 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list, recognizing employers who support adoption and provide competitive adoption benefits to their employees. The list ranks the top 100 companies based on the maximum amount of financial reimbursement and paid leave offered to employees who adopt.

The 2015 winners were announced last month. The Wendy’s Company came in on top, offering up to $25,300 in adoption assistance and six weeks of paid adoption leave. In addition to the top 100 list, the Foundation also recognizes leaders by industry and company size (below). This year’s list also recognizes emerging leaders in supporting adoption benefits.


Employers who applied to be included on the list offer an average of $7,600 in adoption assistance and almost six weeks of paid leave. The number of companies offering financial adoption benefits has risen steadily, from 12 percent in 1990 to 52 percent in 2013. Increasingly, companies are finding that offering these benefits makes them more competitive as employers and bolsters productivity, goodwill and loyalty among employees. In addition, less than 1 percent of eligible employees use adoption benefits, making them one of the most cost-effective benefits employees can offer.

Read more about the 2015 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces on the Dave Thomas Foundation Website.

Interested in becoming an adoption-friendly workplace?

Become an adoption advocate in your workplace by asking your employer to extend employer-provided adoption benefits to you and your coworkers.



Protect Your Finances with Our Risk-Sharing Program

Here are American Adoptions, one question we hear from many adoptive families is: “What if the birth mother changes her mind?”

We do our best to minimize the risk of disruptions by providing support to potential birth mothers and helping them develop strong relationships with adoptive families. However, there are still cases in which a woman will decide not to continue with an adoption plan and instead choose to parent. If you are facing an adoption disruption, you’re already struggling to work your way through emotional suffering; you don’t want to have to worry about financial suffering at the same time. At American Adoptions, you won’t have to.

Our Risk-Sharing Program helps families to pursue adoption after a disruption by covering expenses such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Costs of living
  • Prenatal care
  • Agency Fees
  • Legal Fees

Unlike some other adoption agencies, which will roll over your fees into a new adoption plan, we refund your money directly back to you. This way, you have the opportunity to restart your adoption journey on your own terms.

While we know that nothing can eliminate the disappointment of an adoption disruption, the least we can do at American Adoption is help you to try again. We are here to take the financial burden off of you so you can focus on healing, moving forward, and rebuilding your adoption plan.

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