Thursday, September 27, 2012

Adoption Tax Credits

Please Act Today

Save the adoption tax credit is the effort of a national collaboration of organizations and people like you that have united to support the cause of adoption by advocating for the adoption tax credit.

While we all know that the adoption tax credit is a great help in finding children forever families and make adoption affordable for all, If Congress does not act, the tax credit as we know it will expire on December 31, 2012. As the law currently stands, the adoption credit is not refundable for 2012 as it was in 2010 and 2011.


On Friday, September 21, bills were introduced to both the House (HR 4373) and the Senate (S 3616) that could potentially accomplish the goal of an adoption tax credit that is inclusive, flat for special needs adoptions, refundable and permanent.

We need your help to show members of Congress that refundability helps foster care adoption and lower middle income tax filers. One of the most effective ways is to contact your Representative and two U.S. Senators to express your personal story of how refundability affects your adoption story.

(Click here to see if your Representative is already a cosponsor)


How Do I Know Who to Contact?

To find your Representative, go to:

To find your Senators, go to:

If you are planning to call, you can call the Capitol Operator at (202) 224-3121. One you reach the Senator’s office, ask to speak with the legislative assistant who deals with the adoption or tax issues. (You will have to call back to reach the second Senator and Representative.)

What Should I Say?

To help you, The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) has provided: a fact sheet on the tax credit as well as a sample letter that can be used as a guide when emailing or calling your Senators.

We highly encourage you to share this announcement with other adoption advocates. The continuation of the adoption tax credit is vital to providing love, safety, and permanency to as many children as possible.

We hope you will join us in our advocacy efforts.

The National Adoption Center

Friday, September 21, 2012

Philly Fellow Update

continuation of Abi's experiences while being a Philly Fellow for us...

Sept 11, Beth and I went to UPenn’s Wharton School of Business to present the National Adoption Center to a Management 100 class as one of six potential non-profits that students could team with for a project. Out of eight of the non-profits, six are selected to participate in this project. We felt confident about NAC’s selection odds because NAC stood out—after all, without supportive families themselves the students might not have accomplished as much as they have, which is something I’m constantly reminded of when I hear stories about waiting children—and the organization participated in the Wharton assignment in previous years. The representative(s) of each non-profit spoke about their organization’s mission, what they envisioned the projects would look like, and what they expected the end result would be. Each 4.5 minute presentation was followed by 4.5 minutes of Q & A. Our presentation went very well, and a few students came over afterward to ask additional questions. Two of them spoke of how they had been personally affected by adoption.

Shortly after this, we found out that we were selected for the project! (It will be NAC’s third year working with Wharton students.) Our next meeting will be with the group of students with which we’ve been partnered. This is an important meeting where we will hash out ideas for the public relations event. We need to think about scale, audience, cost, location, feasibility, etc. Helping to plan and execute the event will be an educational experience for me, and I look forward to getting started. Whatever the event ends up looking like, our starting point as always is the goal of increasing public awareness of children awaiting permanent homes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

LBGT Adoption

In a New York Times article this summer, writer Sabrina Tavernise traced the recent increase in gay and lesbian couples adopting across the country. This is in the face of legal hurdles in many states that make adoption by same-sex parents an especially daunting process. What’s behind these numbers? And will the upward trend continue? In fact, advocates point to two primary reasons for the increase: the need for homes for children who are waiting for adoption, and growing acceptance among Americans of gays and lesbians. According to data from Gary Gates, a demographer from the University of California, Los Angeles, 19 percent of same-sex couples who were raising children in 2010 reported an adopted child as a member of the household, up from just eight percent in 2000. Gates estimates that four percent of the adopted population in the United States -- about 65,000 children -- live in homes in which the head of the household is gay or lesbian.

Researchers from the U.S. Census Bureau recently examined the demographics of same-sex couple households with children. By analyzing Census data, it was found that 26.5 percent of lesbian couples had children in their household in 2008, up from 22 percent in 1990. For gay couples, the figure rose from five percent to 13.9 percent. Of course, not all of these children were adopted, but the numbers do point to an increased tendency among same-sex couples to raise children, and adoption is one way to do that. The sad fact is, the barriers remain even though research shows that sexual orientation does not impact one’s ability to be a good parent. Research findings provide favorable evidence to encourage the continued increase in adoptions by same-sex couples.

Currently there are 107,000+ children in the U.S. foster care system waiting for families. Total foster adoption numbers had been on the rise each year until 2010, when fewer than expected took place. But as the number of adoptions by gay and lesbian couples grows, there may be new hope for many of our nation’s waiting kids.

If you are in the Philadelphia-area and would like to learn more, we are holding an LGBT Adoption Cafe September 20. Details here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Power of One?

As an inner city elementary school teacher, my husband sees firsthand the staggering needs confronting youth in our community. Michael’s dad has been in jail since March; Isaiah is living with his grandma while his mother struggles to overcome her coke addiction; Samantha’s mom is struggling to pay the bills as a single parent.

How can we possibly overcome the poverty, violence, drugs, gangs, crime and homelessness threatening youth in Philadelphia and in so many other areas? Can one person really make a difference for these kids?

I admit I’ve been feeling pessimistic about it lately. It’s easier to just walk away from the problems; pack-up and move to the suburbs where I don’t encounter such stark need right on my own block.

But deep down, I believe that it actually is possible for one person to make a difference in the life of a child, because I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen a shy, withdrawn child who has been neglected at home blossom under the guidance of a caring teacher. I’ve seen the hope that a loving foster parent can instill in a teen who has known nothing but heartache. I’ve seen kids in the neighborhood embrace futures of hope thanks to the positive outlets at their local afterschool program.

So I say, yes, one person can make a major difference in the life of a child, whether as a teacher, baseball coach, mentor, or adoptive parent. When we are willing to be part of the solution we can make a significant impact in the way children grow up…one person at a time.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I am continually amazed by the resiliency of young people. Much more than us adults! An article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer sheds light on this fact through a story about Eric, a teen, who was brutally beaten throughout his life but in spite of it all delivered his high school’s valedictorian speech this past spring. Eric, a star student, will be a freshman at Temple University this fall! He is one of the lucky ones. There were adults – neighbors, foster parents, and teachers – who were paying attention and provided this young man a safety net when he needed it most. There are many, many other children like Eric who fall between the cracks. Their screams and pain go unnoticed; they are not helped along the way.

Over 400,000 U.S. children were removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect last year. The child welfare system’s first priority is to get these children into a safe environment and work with the families to fix the problems that resulted in the child being taken away. But this is not a smooth road. It is fraught with trauma, disruption, many times more abuse, confusion for the children, and the list goes on and on. So when I hear about young people like Eric, I applaud the adults that got involved and I give Eric a standing ovation for his amazing ability and powerful inner strength to rise above it all and walk the path toward a successful life.

Excerpt from the Inquirer article – Eric during his valedictorian speech:

“What seemed gracious beyond his years and experience was his praise for family members - biological and chosen – in the audience.

‘And on a special note to all the friends and family who are here for me today, I would like you guys to stand up and know that not only do I appreciate and admire you, but I want everyone here to admire you also because I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for all of you.’ “

We get a chance to meet incredibly resilient children like Eric at our match parties or a Wednesday’s Child  taping for example. Their positive demeanor and personal determination stops us in our tracks and makes us work even harder to find them safe and loving homes. We can all learn a lot from Eric’s story.

Read the full article.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Buffalo’s Connection to the National Adoption Center

authored by a student, Katlyn, who worked on our behalf last school-year, shared with permission from WomenElect 

By KatlynG1

There are 107,000 children in America waiting to be adopted.  In 1972, Carolyn Johnson founded the National Adoption Center with the belief that “there are no unwanted children, just unfound families.”  The center, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, celebrated its 40th anniversary this April at the Celebration of Family: ART OF ADOPTION gala.  During this event, artists from the Philadelphia area created unique works of art based on the photos and stories of children living in foster care.  These pieces were auctioned off, with all proceeds benefiting the National Adoption Center.

The centerpiece of the gala was a commemorative video detailing the National Adoption Center’s vibrant history.  Team QUINTEssential, a team of nine students at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, created this unique feature presentation.  As a semester long assignment, Team QUINTEssential was responsible for sorting through 40 years of history to compile a compelling video that promoted adoption awareness.  During the course of their project, Team QUINTEssential had the pleasure of interviewing NAC’s founder, Carolyn Johnson.

Ms. Johnson currently resides in Philadelphia, but she was raised in Kenmore, New York and is proud to call Buffalo her home.  After graduating from the University of Buffalo, Ms. Johnson taught at Public School #31 for three years.  Since many of her students were foster children, Ms. Johnson “became aware of the many abused and neglected children in the city.”  After seeing an article in The Buffalo Evening News, featuring children waiting to be adopted, Ms. Johnson decided to adopt three children of her own.

With a passion to find homes for “difficult to place children,” Ms. Johnson founded the National Adoption Center at her kitchen table using a wooden recipe box, which she divided into three sections: waiting children, prospective parents, and possible matches.  Ms. Johnson never imagined that her “home-grown” adoption initiative would become a prolific organization with forty years of success.  Named the 2011 nonprofit of the year by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the National Adoption Center has found homes for more than 23,000 foster children.  The National Adoption Center’s dedication to forming families is a mission that remains close to Ms. Johnson’s heart.

As evidenced by Ms. Johnson, women from Buffalo have the ability to accomplish extraordinary goals.  Created with the intent of helping women discover how they can make a positive difference in their communities, WomenElect encourages women to pursue their passions in the political arena.  Please visit to learn more about the National Adoption Center.  Click on the link below to view the National Adoption Center’s latest video about adoption “match” parties.