Information on the Adoption Tax Credit

taxcreditBelow are some details that I received from the IRS relating to the adoption tax credit.

Documents substantiating the adoption or attempted adoption are required to be attached to the taxpayer’s return. Acceptable documents are identified in the September 2010 guidance and in IRS publications. In addition, the IRS may ask for proof of expenses if a return is under examination. All taxpayers are advised to keep receipts for expenses claimed on a tax return for at least three years. That applies whether the expenses are related to adoption, medical care, charitable giving, a business, or pretty much anything else. If the IRS asks for evidence to support an item claimed on a tax return and the taxpayer cannot offer any, the item may be reduced or disallowed. This is standard operating procedure.  The IRS has begun looking more closely at adoption claims. This is why you are now hearing about requests for verification of expenses. This relates to a statutory change that made the credit refundable. Before 2010, the credit merely offset taxes.  The adoption credit was modified by the Affordable Care Act (PL111-148, section 10909), and then by the December 17th tax extenders bill (PL111-312, section 1(b)). The IRS has not yet issued any official guidance on the latter modification. We’ve recently launched webpage, Adoptive Parents: Don’t Delay Your Adoption Credit Refund. It contains a great deal of information on the refund, including necessary documentation, FAQ’s, etc. Continue reading

New Home Study and Post-placement Requirements for China Adoptions

The  China Centre for Children’s Welfare and Adoption released some new home study and post-placements requirements. These new guidelines and regulations for the home study go into effect as of October 1, 2011; and those regarding post placement visits and reports apply to families who receive Notice of Coming to China for Adoption after August 1, 2011.

personwritingHome Study

First, you must have a home study completed by a Hague accredited adoption agency. Please contact Nightlight before you begin the home study process so we can advise you as to the selection of a home study agency. (As a Hague accredited agency, Nightlight provides adoption home study services in Southern California, Colorado, and South Carolina.)

China also requires certain applicants — anyone who has a history of alcohol or drug abuse, has experienced emotional loss or trauma or abuse, or is in counseling — to provide a psychological report as part of the home study process. The type of report required and the contents are not specified:  it will be up to the home study provider to determine the type of evaluation that the family may need. For example, emotional loss is a common experience — especially among those who have gone through infertility and possibly miscarriages — and the home study provider will want to address these issues with the couple. If someone has experienced serious trauma and abuse, then it may be more appropriate for counseling to be recommended if certain issues have not been resolved.

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Waiver on Vaccines: International Adoption Simplification Act

vaccinationOn November 30, 2010, President Obama signed the International Adoption Simplification Act.  This Act provides the same waiver for  required vaccination documentation for Hague Convention adoptions as is available for non-Hague adoptions.  Effective immediately, I-800 families can follow the same procedure as used by I-600 families to apply for a vaccination waiver by completing a DS-1981 (Affidavit Concerning Exemption from Immigrant Vaccination Requirements) which must be signed and notarized.  The DS-1981 can be downloaded from: The DS-1981 may be revised in the future to indicate that it also applies to Hague cases; until then, the current form will be accepted.
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Passage of International Adoption Simplification Act by Congress November 15th

Washington-DC-CapitolCongress Comes Together to Help Orphans Find Families

Washington, DC – National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is pleased to announce the passage of S. 1376, the International Adoption Simplification Act, an important step forward for orphans awaiting adoption and their families.  On November 15th, 2010, Congress joined together across party lines to pass S.1376, which will allow parents to internationally adopt older children (ages 16 and 17) when adopting a younger sibling. Additionally, S. 1376 will remedy the requirement for needless and potentially dangerous vaccinations for internationally adopted children adopted under the age of ten. Continue reading

Adopted child returned to Russia

A response from Nightlight’s Executive Director, Ron Stoddart:

When a child is legally adopted in the United States, that child bears the same relationship to their adoptive parent(s) as a biological child would to their parents.  The adopting parents accept all of the rights and obligations of the parent-child relationship.  When a child is legally adopted in another country to be immigrated to the United States, the adopting parents also have the same rights and obligations.  Our laws allow an adopted child to be treated under the law in the same way as a biological child.

The recent case of an adoptive mother of a Russian child sending the child back to Russia, unescorted, with a note rejecting the child, sends a cold shiver through the adoption community.  Does anyone have any doubt what would be done to this parent if she had gone to a far away place and left her biological child unattended with a note saying she no longer wanted the child?

If the State of Tennessee does not deal with this parent expeditiously and with the same outrage that they would treat a parent abandoning her biological child in a similar manner, then the U.S. will have no credibility in stating that adopted children are treated the same as biological children in our Country.


On April 16, 2010 the U.S. Dept of State, Office of Children’s Issues issued an announcement, stating that suspension of adoptions from Russia has not been confirmed.

Considering adoption? What does the adoption tax credit mean to you?

taxesIf you are considering adopting a child this year, you’ll be happy to hear the latest update on the adoption tax credit. The adoption tax credit has been extended for one more year, has increased, and you may even qualify for a refund!

The new tax credit provides not only a credit but a refund if you do not receive the $13,170 in tax credit. So instead of waiting perhaps up to five years to get your full tax credit, you can receive the credit as a refund if you do not pay $13,170 in taxes.

If you are considering adopting a child from China, for example, the fees and your expenses could work out to be about $23,000. When you deduct for the tax credit, which may also be a refund, you could really be paying about $9,830 in net costs. If you or your spouse’s company has employer-provided adoption benefits, which on average, tend to be about $5,000, you could end up having a net expense of about $4,830. Continue reading

Are international adoption agencies part of an “Orphan Manufacturing Chain”?

[This post was originally published here on January 13. We withdrew it because it was submitted to another venue, but it is now available to be re-published here, with some minor edits. – admin]

Although there is no accurate number of infant domestic placements here in the U.S., it is estimated to be about 14,000 per year. If women here in the U.S., who have access to Medicaid, food stamps, Women Infant Children, and other safety net programs choose adoption for their infants, why is it so hard  to believe that in impoverished countries there are single women who would choose to place their infants for adoption? Continue reading

JCICS issues position statement on I-600A renewals

The Joint Council on International Children’s Services has worked tirelessly to ensure that the spirit of the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA) of 2000 is honored by the government bodies responsible for implementing it. A particular problem recently has been USCIS’s decision to allow only one renewal of the I-600A pre-approval for families waiting to adopt from China and Haiti. Soon, families who have already renewed once may be required to start their homestudy and other adoption paperwork over again. This requirement will be disruptive and expensive, and as JCICS articulates below, the requirement would be a violation of the intent of the IAA.

Caroline Hope is a member of JCICS, and we, too, urge the USCIS to solve this problem without putting an onerous burden on adoptive families.

Joint Council Position on I-600A Renewals

As previously noted, Joint Council and others in our field have great concern regarding the one-time renewal of I-600A approvals and the impact on Potential Adoptive Parents (PAPs). Following is Joint Council’s assessment and statement on this very important issue facing over 10,000 U.S. families.


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has again confirmed that PAPs with an approved I-600A in a Hague country may only file for a renewal one-time. Thereafter, families must ‘start from the beginning’ and file an I-800A petition.

It is very clear that the authors of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 intended to ‘grandfather’ all I-600A petitions filed prior to the date on which the Hague Convention went into force in the United States (April 1, 2007). At the time the legislation was drafted, the authors did not foresee the lengthy processing time now associated with adoptions from countries such as China and Haiti. Yet the intent was clearly to Continue reading

USCIS: Guatemala adoption law update

Yes, it’s old news now (six-days old!), but I wanted to pass along this notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about the current status of Guatemala adoptions and adoption law. This press release is available from the USCIS website as a PDF.

USCIS Update

January 25, 2008

Intercountry Adoptions Under the Hague Convention

On Dec. 11, 2007, the Guatemalan Congress passed new adoption legislation, which is a necessary step toward meeting the Government of Guatemala’s obligations under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The new provisions are effective as of Dec. 31, 2007. Continue reading

Incorrect birthdates on Certificate of Citizenship: please share your story

I’m passing this request on from another adoption agency. If you have a friend who has faced this problem, please point them here. Personal adoption stories are an extremely effective force for policy change.

Please help me collect stories of families who have had difficulties changing incorrect birthdates on Certificates of Citizenship.

If your child was assigned an incorrect birth date in their country of origin and you have had difficulty having it corrected on their Certificate of Citizenship, I would appreciate hearing from you. I would also appreciate hearing from you if you were successful in having it changed by CIS. I am collecting stories so that I can garnish congressional support for remedying this problem. Having stories from real families will help illustrating the magnitude of this problem. Please send your story, concerns, input to me at anne + @ + I can also be reached by phone or U.S. mail at numbers below.

Anne M. Johnson, M.S.W./L.C.S.W.
Children and Families First, Inc.
583 D’Onofrio Drive Ste 220
Madison, Wisconsin 53551