A bi-partisan bill has been reincarnated by lawmakers that would make adoption more affordable for families throughout the country.
The bill would revive the refundable portion of the present adoption tax credit, Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) announced in a press release on June 10.
“Over 100,000 children are waiting for adoption into a family who can give them the loving home they deserve,” Blunt said, as reported by Fox 12 Oregon. “I urge my colleagues to join me in this effort to make adoption a more viable option for parents who are eager to welcome a child into their home.”
Blunt combined his efforts with Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) to compose the legislation, dubbed the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2019.
“My family knows firsthand the joys and blessings adoption brings,” Inhofe said. “But adoption is not without its difficulties and, too often, can be a costly process. Making the adoption tax credit fully refundable will ease that financial burden so more families can choose to adopt and welcome children into their homes.”
Almost one-third of all adopted children reside with families that have an annual income at or below 200 percent of the poverty level, according to Blunt, who cited the Department of Health. He reasoned that several of these families’ income taxes are so low that they don’t benefit from the adoption tax credit in any form. It only assists them if it is refundable.
“It is a common misconception that only wealthy families adopt,” Casey added. “We must do all we can do to ensure that all children are afforded the opportunity to grow up in a permanent, loving home.”
Previous versions of the legislation were brought up in 2013, 2015 and 2017. The bill is supported by the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group Executive Committee, which includes 150 organizations.
Read Fox 12 Oregon’s article here.
James Inhofe worked together with Senators Roy Blunt and Bob Casey to re-introduce the adoption bill.
Five years ago, a Myrtle Beach, N.C. firefighter responded to an emergency call that changed his life.
On November 14, 2011, Marc Hadden and his colleagues responded to a call from a woman seeking help for severe abdominal pains. When the firefighters arrived at the scene, they discovered that the woman was in labor.
“It was a pretty serious call for us,” Hadden said. “We got her on some oxygen, started some IVs and literally as we were getting ready to leave the parking lot in the ambulance, my partner said, ‘We’re about to deliver a baby right here.’ We had no time to prepare. Before we could do anything — we hadn’t even cut her clothes — Gracie came right out. Immediately she was handed to me.”
At the hospital, Hadden learned that the baby’s birth mother was placing her for adoption. Hadden and his wife had been hoping for a third child and took the opportunity.
Two days later, Gracie went home with the Haddens. In March 2012, the Haddens got full custody of Gracie and named her Rebecca Grace Hadden.
Now Gracie is 5 years old and an active kid.
“She’s amazing,” Hadden said. “She takes gymnastics, she’s getting ready to start kindergarten next year at the school where my wife teaches. She’s a pretty remarkable kid.”
Gracie has two older brothers: Parker, 12 and Will, 14.
Gracie’s parents made sure that Gracie knew her birth story.
“We have never hidden it from her,” Hadden said. “If you ask her where she was born, she says, ‘My daddy delivered me in the back of an ambulance.’ She knows the whole story. I wanted her to know as soon as she was old enough to understand. I didn’t want it to be this huge surprise. It still breaks my heart to think of one day having to explain it to her more in depth … because she doesn’t really 100% get it.”
When that time comes, Gracie will have the support of her family.
“She is part of our family and that is absolutely the way it is,” Hadden said. “We love her.”
Hayim Cohen of Houston, Texas, has adopted six children since 2012. Cohen’s most recent adoption was finalized in early January 2017.
“I get asked often ‘How did you end up with six?’” Cohen said. “It’s hard to say no. How could you say ‘no’ to these children?”
The Cohen family is both an adoptive family and a foster family. Cohen and his children are Hasidic Jews, and Cohen hopes to provide a home where the children can keep their faith and culture.
“When we bring foster kids in, it makes me feel like not every kid is going to be in a home with a thousand kids,” said Avshalom, one of Hayim’s adopted sons.
Hayim hopes his story of fostering and adopting children will inspire others to make a difference in their local communities.
“Everybody always says, ‘I want to do something to help.’ The first step is to look into the foster care system,” he said.
The Cohens are still unsure how big their family will grow. When asked if he would like his father to adopt more kids, Avshalom said, “Yes. Definitely.”
“We have to put light into this world and I believe that these children are lights,” Cohen said.
Jennifer Doering, a mother living in Wisconsin, was struggling to find a unique Christmas present for her adopted daughter, Audrey, when she made quite the discovery: Audrey has a twin sister. Doering had been going through some newspapers from when Audrey was adopted when she found two separate finding ads which were put in the paper around the time the girls were adopted.
“We just happened to stumble upon an extra picture, and from there, we were able to find that there were two of them,” Doering said. “She’s always wanted a sister.”
Audrey and her sister, Gracie Rainsberry, were separated at fifteen months old when they were adopted by two different families in the United States. Audrey lives in Wisconsin while Gracie lives in Washington.
Since reuniting, the twins have talked via FaceTime often.
“Our laugh is the same, our mannerisms. We talk the same,” said Audrey. The girls also like the same foods and both have had cardiac defects that have required open-heart surgery.
The Doering and Rainsberry families plan on spending time together in 2017. The twins plan to spend spring break in California and Audrey hopes to visit her sister in Washington next summer.
Brandon Bakke, an 11-year-old from Fargo, North Dakota, spent his summer mowing lawns to raise money to purchase a gravestone for his biological father, whom he never met.
After talking to his adoptive mother about his biological family earlier this year, Brandon wanted to see if he could find his father, Terrence. He and his adoptive mother, Brandy, took to social media.
This June, Brandon and Brandy found Terrence’s sister, who told them that Terrence had passed away in Chicago last year. She also mentioned that Terrence’s grave was unmarked because the family could not afford a monument. Brandon was devastated and decided to buy Terrence a gravestone.
“I don’t think anyone should go unknown,” Brandon said. “I felt like I should do this for him, and that he’d be proud of me.”
In addition to mowing lawns, Brandon also sold lemonade. Brandon originally planned to use that money to buy a hoverboard but when he told Brandy he wanted to buy a grave marker she told him it would cost much more than the $175 he had saved. Brandon then said, “I’ll do what I have to do.”
As he continued doing yard work, Brandon contacted Dakota Monument, a cemetery memorial company in South Fargo, and told them about his situation. He began working with the company to design the monument, which he wanted to personalize to show Terrence’s generous nature.
Brandon and Brandy went to Dakota Memorial on Sept. 27 to see the finished stone with the $325 he had saved in hand.
“Oh my goodness, I was a mess,” Brandy said when recalling when she first saw the stone. “I knew it was so important to him. And to see his creation, I bawled my eyes out.”
Dakota Monument decided to donate the gravestone to them and to use Brandon’s money to set up a fund to help families who need assistance paying for memorials. Brandon will continue to mow lawns and donate money to this fund.
The Bakke family plans to travel to Chicago to place the stone on Terrence’s grave. Brandon is happy that he is honoring his father’s memory.
“I think he’s looking down and saying, ‘That’s my boy,’” Brandon said.