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Improving the Adoption Process

Background

Adoption is a wonderful family building option. People decide to adopt for many reasons, but infertility is one of the most common motivating factors. In one study, more than 80% of those adopting independently or through a private agency responded that the inability to have a biological child was the reason they chose to adopt. It is estimated that 11% to 24% of couples who experience difficulty conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term pursue adoption.

But, couples struggling with infertility face enormous financial burdens in building a family, be it through medical treatment or adoption. Important steps to reduce those financial burdens were realized when President Bush signed into law the Hope for Children Act.

The Hope for Children Act doubled the adoption tax credit to $10,000 for couples who adopt children, increased the income limitations so that more families were eligible for the credit, and liberalized the credit for families adopting children with special needs who may incur little or no expense in connection with the adoption process, but substantial costs associated with raising a child with special needs. Because of politics and budgetary issues, the tax credit is set to expire in 2011.

The adoption of a child is one of the most important legal proceeding in which a person can engage. The adoption process can be a complicated one and will be different depending on the type of adoption (domestic agency (either public or private), domestic independent or international). The process is also dependent on the applicable law of the state in which the adoptive parent(s) resides and the state in which the birth parents reside. Proper legal counsel to clarify all aspects of each state adoption law is crucial. Also crucial is public policy initiatives to encourage successful adoption proceedings.

RESOLVE’s Position on Legislation to Improve the Adoption Process

RESOLVE works to increase benefits available to adoptive families and advocates for reforms in adoption laws that will allow for the creation of more families via adoption. We seek improvements in the institution of adoption, consumer protections for adoptive families and an easing of the financial barriers to adoption.

RESOLVE endorsed the Hope for Children Act and now endorses legislation to improve the adoption tax credit and to make it permanent. However, in order to take advantage of the tax credit, couples must be able to finance an adoption in the first place. Because couples never expect to have an infertility problem, most do not have the resources set aside to finance what is certainly a very expensive family-building plan. Also, many couples have spent their life savings and more on medical treatments before pursuing adoption. RESOLVE therefore endorses the Dave Thomas Adoption Act which would allow penalty free distributions of up to $10,000 from individual retirement accounts (IRA) to finance an adoption. Currently, distributions from IRAs made prior to age 59 ? that are otherwise not allowable by law are subject to a 10 percent tax. . This legislation is very important as it would give couples a means to offset their up front adoption expenses in a way that is more appropriate than other currently available options.

RESOLVE advocates for the elimination of barriers to adoption across jurisdictional boundaries and federal legislation, regulations and best practice protocols to provide the states with a uniform approach to adoption procedures.

RESOLVE is supportive of efforts to increase the number of children moving out of the foster care system and into adoptive families. Many of the children who wait have special needs, and all of them need the security and stability of a permanent family to develop to their full potential. RESOLVE is supportive of legislation to improve shortcomings in state adoption systems that hamper foster care adoptions. RESOLVE urges Congress to ensure that adoption legislation has strong post adoption language and to fully fund the Adoption Opportunities Program which is part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

RESOLVE encourages the U.S. Department of State to finalize implementation of the Hauge Convention on Intercountry Adoption which established uniform standards and procedures for the international adoption of children. The treaty will protect the rights and interests of adoptive children, birth parents, and adoptive parents involved in intercountry adoption by among other things, requiring the State Department to monitor intercountry adoption cases, coordinate with foreign governments on behalf of adoptive parents, accredit adoption service providers and maintain a registry to track all adoptions involving immigration of a child into the U.S.

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, is a national non-profit organization whose mission since 1974 has been to provide timely, compassionate support and information to those touched by infertility. RESOLVE works to increase public awareness of the issues surrounding infertility and the various family building options available to those working to resolve their infertility. RESOLVE’s strength lies in its more than 50 volunteer led chapters which provide education and support to the local communities in virtually every state.

 

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