We will be celebrating NAC’s 40 years of service at its 2012 Celebration of Family: the Art of Adoption Gala on April 25th. One of the most anticipated features of the gala is the reveal and auctioning off of ten masterpieces, all inspired by adoption, but each one created by a different renowned Philadelphia artist. These artists range in their media anywhere from paintings, to prints, to sculptures, and even mosaics. All artists have had the opportunity to meet with adoptive families and their children, who are now out of foster care; an opportunity that has become essential to the inspiration of each work.
Some artists, like Perry Milou are pulling from other sources of influence too. This pop artist, who has been praised for his vibrancy, forward-thinking, and glamorous pop art, has had some personal experience with the world of adoption himself. Having known the hardships of growing up with a single parent, Milou was later fortunate enough to be adopted, thus thoroughly appreciating the stability and love of a forever family. He is thrilled to be a part of this celebration of adoption.
|Perry Milou’s portrait of his daughter Francesca|
Milou recently met up with the Thomas family to learn about their adoption story as inspiration for his upcoming piece. Jonathan, 14, Alaina, 17, and Isaiah, 18, were adopted together by Jane and John Thomas only a few years ago, and the family is thriving. . . but it wasn’t easy. The teens had to overcome many past traumas of their foster care lives, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But now, with the support and guidance of their forever family, the three are as close to their adoptive parents as any biological child would be. And they’re happy! Alaina is always ecstatic about reporting the daily happenings of school to her mom each day, while Jonathan and Isaiah enjoy the typical brotherly rough-housing, especially with a new addition to the family, their baby brother Jordan.
Seeing these siblings begin to dream about the potential of their futures, Perry Milou is also dreaming up a work of art that could possibly capture and celebrate the extraordinary success of adoption stories that happen each and every day.
|The Thomas family|
To learn about NAC’s gala and all of the participating artists go to the Gala's online home.
Some lawmakers certainly think LGBT adoption is controversial. For example, our last blog post described Virginia’s “conscience clause” which allows any adoption agency, including state-funded agencies, to turn away qualified adoptive parents based on an individual’s sexual orientation.
(More on that specific case can be found here.)
The Christian Post reported that White House spokesman Shin Inouye released a statement about the Virginia bill from President Obama. The statement read: "While the president does not weigh in on every single action taken by legislative bodies in our country, he has long believed that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals based on their interest in offering a loving home, not based on discriminatory and irrelevant factors."
We agree. When children are raised by loving, supportive individuals, they typically thrive – no matter what the parent's sexual orientation might be.
This upcoming weekend we are inviting the LGBT community to an adoption educational event – the LGBT Adoption café. This FREE informational event on Saturday, March 31, 2012 from 10am – 1pm will be located at the Collingswood Community Center, 30 Collings Ave., Collingswood, NJ.
Join us if you have ever considered adoption. Learn about the adoption process, listen to a panel discussion with adoptive parents from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, talk with adoption agency staff to learn more about children waiting for families. Complimentary light brunch.
Virginia’s General Assembly recently passed a state law which allows any adoption agency, including state-funded agencies, to turn away qualified adoptive parents based on religious and moral beliefs, including sexual orientation. The legislation codifies last year’s State Board of Social Services regulation to allow faith-based organizations to reject prospective parents based on gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and family status. While the prevailing debate mainly focuses on faith-based convictions to join children with gay parents, the sweeping language leaves room for further discrimination by private agencies on the basis of religious and moral criteria of their choosing. Governor Robert McDonnell signed this anti-gay adoption bill when it reached his desk. Virginia now joins North Dakota as the only two states having what is termed a “conscience clause” in law. This is in contrast to nine states which explicitly prohibit this kind of discrimination in adoption. Virginia state law already prohibits unmarried couples to adopt, but does allow single people to adopt, regardless of sexual orientation.
There are approximately 1,300 children in Virginia waiting to be adopted and this law further limits the number of safe, loving and permanent caregivers that are available to them. The National Adoption Center STRONGLY rejects the premise that any prospective parent(s) should be rejected based on race, gender, religion and sexual orientation. What do you think?
- We have found homes for 23,000 children since 1972
- We are currently working hard on behalf of children like 11 year old Aphrodite who wants a loving home to call her own
- We helped provide holiday gifts for children in foster care through the generous partnership with local Wendy’s franchises
- Due to our weekly WednesdayChild features on NBC10, 12 year old Nadir had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be on the court while the Philadelphia 76er’s held their practice, throw some hoops with host Vai Sikahema, and meet some of his favorite players including Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, and Louis Williams!
With just over 2 months to go to file 2011 taxes, we wanted to remind you about the Adoption Tax Credit. Information provided by Voice For Adoption.
- Since 2003, families who adopted a U.S. child with special needs from foster care could claim a federal adoption tax credit even if they had no adoption expenses (as long as they met the fairly generous income requirements).
- Children who receive adoption assistance/subsidy benefits are considered children with special needs. Even families who receive a deferred subsidy ($0 per month but medical coverage through the subsidy program) are eligible.
- All adoptive families (except those who adopted a step-child) are eligible for the credit, but those who adopt children other than those with special needs must have—and be able to document, if requested by the IRS—qualified adoption expenses.
- For 2010 and 2011 the credit was made refundable. If parents who adopted as long ago as 2005 had credit to carry forward into 2010, that amount of the credit also became refundable. In 2010 and 2011, parents can claim the credit even if they don’t have income or any tax liability.
- The amount of the credit for 2011 is $13,360 per child.
IRS Form 8839 Instructions: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8839.pdf
IRS Form 8839: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8839.pdf
IRS – adoption tax credit FAQ’s:http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=231663,00.html
There are about 500,000 American children in the foster-care system on any given day. Of these, 100,000 will be or already are available for adoption. Few are orphans. In fact, most still have at least one birth parent. However the parent is unable to care for his/her children through circumstance, such as having a tough addiction problem. Or maybe the parents neglect the children or, worst of all, maybe the children were abused - leaving social workers and the courts no choice but to place them with foster parents who can provide a safe haven and genuine, though temporary, care. Many of these kids have "special needs." They may be older or paired with a brother or sister. Some may be physically or emotionally fragile. But no child is "unadoptable."
There are many great parents out there who are eager to open their homes and their hearts to these wonderful boys and girls. How can we bring these parents and kids together? What will it take to help the thousands of American children in foster care? There's no easy answer, and each child in each state presents unique challenges because, unfortunately, adoption laws vary from state to state. We can, however, do a lot to make it easier for waiting kids and parents to connect and build families. Every child deserves a home and a loving family. By improving adoption process, we help the children find the permanence they need.
Holiday tunes bounce along nearly every airwave. Snowstorms have crippled our airports and thanks to freezing temps from Florida to the Dakotas, people are shivering! We have nearly turned the page of 2010 and find ourselves smack dab in the season of The Holidays! Hope, joy, light and delight permeate big and small screens with the magic of family—whether depicted through wonderful lives, bee-bee gun dreams, miracles on 34th street or a snowman who moves over the hills of snow!
It’s festive at the National Adoption Center these days. Some of our most dedicated corporate partners have collected personalized (long!) gift wish lists for the children on our adoption coordinators caseloads. Multiple gifts for each child were then purchased, wrapped and delivered to our offices at the ready for our coordinators to load their cars and deliver this bounty to children who are incredibly appreciative. And worthy of mention is that these corporations, with their broad vision and heart, do this every year!
Surrounded by generous people who embody the message of hope we at the Adoption Center experience this season of giving most directly. I can only imagine that throughout small and large cities the world around, similar loving gestures abound. While many charities help homeless families or those in economic hardship, the children who receive presents, though needy, are blessed to have their family. It’s not that kids in foster care are forgotten. But it’s a whole different story to be waiting for gifts than it is to be waiting for a family.
I am not suggesting that kids in foster care don’t have happy holidays. Gestures of those aware that this population is underserved give generously which most definitely makes a difference. And many loving foster parents and caring directors of foster group homes extend themselves to bring the children in their care happy holidays, happy birthdays, and wonderful lives.
But think about it. Kids are kids. Kids who live in foster homes just want to be like other kids: to receive gifts or observe traditions for Hanukkah, or Christmas, and/or Kwanza with their family. To be honored during a time when a good part of the world celebrates each other and the importance of family.
Our website (under the Video Center) hosts a 30 second “must see” message. It features a girl who wants a bike, a boy who wants a new video game, but the soulful message of one youth, in particular, is haunting: “Me? I just want a family.” Look into this boy’s eyes and catch the real meaning: this is not just a seasonal longing. This is an everyday dream.
What can be done to fulfill this “other” wish list of waiting children? The one not verbalized or written down. Or able to be contained in a gift box topped with a bow. Consider what the holiday season of 2011 will look like if, from this moment, more people have the vision to adopt and follow through. I bet that next year extra places would need to be set at holiday feast tables and more people would play Dreidel or read “The Night Before Christmas” together. Perhaps more sibling groups would be adopted, allowing more brothers and sisters to grow up together. If more people would offer something that has eluded waiting children—their very own place in a permanent, caring home—that everyday dream you saw in the eyes of that child in the video would become reality.
We know there are lots of newly formed adoptive families since this time last year. Congratulations! Give Frosty some company and dance through this season! In line with that famous song, find a meadow and build a snowman or a beach and build a sandman, or do whatever will make lasting family memories and create traditions for the next generations.
My wish: more people will choose the option of adoption. That by this time next year many more (at-this-moment) “unfound families” will find their very wanted child who will, by this time next year, finally “dream by the fire, to face unafraid, the plans that they made…” …together as family!
13 year old Carlos has a passion for football. This teen loves to play and is a great player for his local school team. Carlos also enjoys watching wrestling, reading books, and helping others. In the 7th grade, he does good in school and gets along well with his teachers and peers. Carlos can be shy and reserved when first meeting new people, but will soon open up after he feels safe and comfortable.
Because Carlos has dreams of playing professional football when he grows up, he met up with Wednesday’s Child host Vai Sikahema at University of Delaware-Blue Hens football for a look into how to actually get there. The two met with defensive lineman Siddiq Haynes. Siddiq took the two on a tour of the athletics dept., field, and finally into the weight room. On the field, the trio couldn’t help but throw balls around. Carlos was able to show Vai and Siddiq his skills. They then rang the team’s touchdown bell, which was VERY loud. “The weight room was fun”, said Carlos. Siddiq showed him some of the equipment and tested his strength on several of them.
Overall, the day was a great success! Vai sat with Carlos during lunch to talk about family. Carlos says family is important. He would like a family that would allow him to play sports and stay active. Contact with his sibling is important to him. Carlos needs a loving and caring family that will show support at his football games. At this point in his life, he dreams of not only scoring for his team, but scoring with a family! Will you be that family for Carlos?