Thursday, January 11, 2024

Making Adoption Affordable 2024

Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC
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Ashburn, VA 20147
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Making Adoption Affordable

Federal Tax Credit

There is help available.  The adoption tax credit is adjusted each year based upon the cost-of-living allowance.  The maximum credit for 2024 is $16,810.  The adoption tax credit is fully available in the amount of $16,810 if your modified adjusted gross income is equal or less than $214,520.  If your modified adjusted gross income is more than $214,520 but less than $254,520, you will receive a reduced tax credit. No tax credit is available for those earning more than $254,520.

Documentation is important.  The form you submit to claim the credit is 8839.  The IRS web-site has additional helpful information:, including what you will need to document the amount available for your credit. Generally, if you adopt a special needs child, you are eligible for the full amount of the credit, regardless of the costs you incurred.  If your adoption does not qualify as special needs, you must keep receipts of your expenditures, which you can claim up to the full credit amount.

Corporate Matching Gifts

Further, many large employers offer adoption assistance.  See htttp:// for a list of employers.  Those payments may qualify for exclusion from your income for tax purposes in addition to the federal tax credit.  You may exclude up to $16,810 from your income in 2024.  So, for example, if your employer offers adoption assistance payments of $5,000 and your total adoption related expenses were $20,950, you could claim $16,810 as a tax credit AND exclude $5,000 from your income.  However, if your total expenses were $16,810, you could not take the credit and the exclusion-the same expenses cannot be counted twice.  The income limits for the tax credit also apply to the exclusion.

Adoption Loans and Grants

Adoption Loans can be obtained from Americas Christian Credit Union or Entrust Financial Credit Union, among other financial service providers.  Additionally, a number of foundations provide grants with specific eligibility criteria.

Adoption Subsidies and Financial Aid for Adopting an Older Child

If you adopt a special needs child or a child from foster care, the cost is usually less.  A monthly adoption subsidy is often available to help pay for everyday expenses and special services such as remedial educational services, physical therapy and medical care.  You may also take the entire amount of the federal tax credit even if you don’t incur those costs.

Prepared by Alyssa Howes, Paralegal, and Karen S. Law, Esquire, of Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC © 2024


    This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this blog are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2024.

Adopting as a Foster Parent

Within the realm of adoption, there are stories that stand out for their unique challenges and triumphs. In this article, we present an insightful interview with a single father who defied conventional expectations by adopting three teenagers from foster care. Through his experiences, we aim to provide practical insights and valuable lessons for foster parents considering the significant step of adopting their foster children. Join us as we explore the complexities and realities of foster care adoption in this informative account.

John's journey into foster parenting began when he welcomed a 17-year-old from El Salvador into his home. The teenager had faced neglect and struggled to form connections, making the fostering experience challenging yet deeply rewarding for John. This initial encounter sparked a commitment within him to continue working with foster children, particularly teenagers. Over time, John earned the moniker of the "teenage guru" due to his exceptional rapport and success in guiding older foster children. Despite the increased difficulty in finding foster homes for teenagers, John opened his heart and home to them, striving to be a mentor and life coach.

As a high school teacher, John's natural affinity for helping teenagers smoothly translated into his role as a foster parent. His dedication deepened when he received a call about fostering three siblings. Over the course of a year, John cultivated a strong and nurturing relationship with all three, becoming a stabilizing force in their lives. When the Department of Social Services approached him with the idea of adoption, John's unequivocal response was "absolutely yes." For him, the decision was grounded in an unwavering belief that these siblings belonged with him, and he couldn't fathom them anywhere else. In embracing the challenge of adopting three teenagers, John seamlessly blended his roles as an educator and a devoted father, providing a beacon of hope for others contemplating a similar path.

Navigating the intricate balance of being a single parent to three teenagers and working as a high school teacher required a strategic approach for John. Central to his success was a support system that extended beyond family to his workplace. Both his family and work colleagues played pivotal roles in ensuring John could manage his responsibilities effectively. The understanding and support he received from the school's principal and work family allowed him the flexibility needed for foster parenting. John's family, too, actively contributed to the well-being of the kids, engaging in various activities and fostering a sense of inclusion.

            John's adept scheduling skills proved invaluable in juggling the busy lives of teenagers. As he notes, managing time efficiently became a cornerstone of maintaining order and ensuring that all aspects of his life could fit together. Trust formed the foundation of John's relationship with his kids, instilling a sense of responsibility in them. This mutual trust facilitated a structured routine, with the confidence that the teenagers would adhere to their schedules and fulfill their commitments. In balancing his parenting and professional life, John's ability to build strong connections and establish trust became essential pillars in creating a harmonious family dynamic.

For John, navigating the legal terrain of adopting his foster children proved to be a journey more characterized by patience than challenges. Although the process spanned over a year, the anticipation of officially becoming a family overshadowed the duration. Contrary to initial expectations, the legal proceedings unfolded smoothly without any unexpected hurdles. During the waiting period, both John and the kids eagerly anticipated the day when they would officially become a family.

Home studies, an integral component of the adoption process, brought a level of scrutiny that foster parents should be prepared for. John emphasized the necessity of enduring personal questions, acknowledging the intrusive nature of these inquiries. Social workers, he noted, conducted thorough investigations, ensuring that prospective parents met the required standards. John recognized the importance of this step in ensuring the well-being of the children.

Throughout the legal journey, having a reliable and transparent attorney was instrumental. John’s lawyer, Karen S. Law, played a crucial role by providing guidance and information at every step. John emphasized the significance of finding legal counsel that not only navigates the complexities of adoption but also keeps the adoptive parents informed and involved. Additionally, social workers played a pivotal role, regularly checking in with both John and the children. John appreciated their holistic approach, ensuring that adoption was the right decision for everyone involved. By giving the teenagers a platform to express their feelings and provide feedback, social workers not only facilitated the legal process but also granted the adolescents a sense of autonomy in a significant life decision.

John's advice for those contemplating fostering or adopting teenagers revolves around building a strong support network. He underscores the importance of surrounding oneself with people genuinely committed to being hands-on in the children's lives; individuals who are ready to offer love, support, and assistance when needed. For John, this network comprised of family, friends, and his work family at the school where he teaches. In times of challenge or uncertainty, these supportive connections became a pillar of strength.

Scheduling, according to John, is another critical element for both parents and teenagers. Establishing a daily routine not only provides structure but also helps the children understand and meet expectations on a day-to-day basis. This sense of predictability fosters a stable environment, contributing to the well-being of both the parent and the adopted teens. Furthermore, John emphasizes the value of open communication and dialogue within the family. Regular family meetings create a means for checking in with each other, ensuring that everyone's concerns are heard and fostering a sense of unity within the family unit.

Besides the practicalities of daily life, John offered advice on creating a nurturing environment and having shared experiences. His adopted family is built on a foundation of shared adventures and memories, especially enjoying traveling together. John believes in providing his children with experiences outside their norm, exposing them to possibilities they might never have imagined. In doing so, he emphasizes the transformative power of offering new opportunities and resources to foster children, allowing them to grow and evolve as individuals.

For John, the key is to evolve alongside your children, actively creating experiences and cultivating a sense of anticipation for the future. This dynamic approach not only strengthens the familial bond but also instills a sense of possibility and optimism in the lives of the adopted teenagers. Additionally, he highlights the importance of building an environment and lifestyle conducive to the social, emotional, and mental well-being of the children. By prioritizing these aspects, John has witnessed the positive impact on his children's growth, creating a family dynamic that is not only supportive but also rich in opportunities for personal development.

In concluding John's remarkable journey into fostering and adopting teenagers, it becomes evident that his story is one of resilience, love, and shared growth. From the initial challenge of connecting with a neglected 17-year-old to becoming the parent of three siblings, John's path was marked by unwavering support, meticulous scheduling, and open communication. The legal process, though lengthy, unfolded smoothly, with social workers and a dedicated attorney playing pivotal roles. John's advice echoes the importance of building a strong support network, maintaining a structured routine, and fostering open dialogue within the family.

As we reflect on John's experiences, a heartfelt message emerges for those considering a similar path. To fellow foster parents contemplating adoption, John extends the wisdom of creating a family built on shared experiences and memories, expanding horizons through travel, and offering new possibilities to the children in their care. He encourages parents to evolve alongside their children, actively creating meaningful experiences and fostering a lifestyle that nurtures social, emotional, and mental well-being. In John's words, "evolve with your children, create experiences, have things to look forward to." The journey may be challenging, but it is, above all, a journey of transformation, love, and the boundless potential that emerges when hearts open to the possibilities of creating a forever family.

Prepared by Alyssa Howes, Paralegal, and Karen S. Law, Esquire, of Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC © 2024


    This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this blog are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2024.