Adoptive Family Birth Father Birth Mother Blog

2023 Adoption Tax Credit

2023 Adoption Tax Credit

The 2023 tax filing season is upon us! The Internal Revenue Service recommends taxpayers take time to determine if they are eligible for important tax credits. Many of our adoptive families will be applying for the Adoption Tax Credit. With that in mind, we have compiled some basic information about the 2023 adoption tax credit.

Adoption Tax Credit 101 – for 2023 adoptions (claimed in early 2024)

If you have done any research into adoption financing, you’ve probably heard about the Federal Adoption Tax Credit. But what exactly is this credit, and how does it work?

The Federal Adoption Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit that helps families offset the costs of qualifying adoption expenses. Families who paid qualifying adoption expenses in 2023, and owe taxes, may be eligible to benefit from this credit. For adoptions finalized in 2023, there is a federal adoption tax credit of up to $15,950 per child. The 2023 adoption tax credit is NOT refundable, which means taxpayers can only use the credit if they have federal income tax liability.

Parents who are adopting from the U.S. and claiming qualified adoption expenses can claim the credit the year of finalization or the year after they spent the funds. Parents who adopt a child with special needs and are not basing their request on expenses should claim the credit the year of finalization. Parents who adopt internationally cannot claim the credit until the year of finalization.

The credit applies one time for each adopted child and should be claimed when taxpayers file taxes for 2023.

To be eligible for the credit, parents must:

  • Have adopted a child other than a stepchild — A child must be either under 18 or be physically or mentally unable to take care of him or herself.
  • Be within the income limits — Income affects how much of the credit parents can claim. For 2023, the adoption tax credit is fully available in the amount of $15,950 if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is equal to or less than $239,230. If your modified adjusted gross income is more than $239,230 but less than $279,230, you will receive a reduced tax credit. If your modified adjusted gross income is $279,230 or more for the year, you are not eligible for the tax credit.

According to the IRS, “qualified adoption expenses” can include items like:

  • Reasonable and necessary adoption fees
  • Court costs and attorney fees
  • Traveling expenses related to adoption
  • Other expenses that are directly related to and for the principal purpose of the legal adoption of an eligible child

If you’re not sure whether you are eligible to use the adoption tax credit or if you paid qualifying adoption expenses in 2023, a tax professional will be able to provide more information.

How Much is the 2023 Adoption Tax Credit?

The amount families are eligible to receive from the Federal Adoption Tax Credit depends on a number of factors and will vary based on their unique situation. Families who finalize the adoption of a child with special needs in 2023 and fulfill the eligibility requirements above, can claim the full credit of $15,950 whether or not they had any expenses.

Other adopters can claim a credit based on their qualified adoption expenses, which are the reasonable and necessary expenses paid to complete the adoption that have not been reimbursed by anyone else. If the expenses are less than $15,950, the adopters claim only the amount of those expenses. However, if the expenses exceed $15,950, the adopters can claim up to, but no more than, $15,950, per child.

The Adoption Tax Credit limit is based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and is recalculated each year based on current cost of living. Income affects how much of the credit parents can claim. For the 2023 Adoption Tax Credit, families with a MAGI is equal to or below $239,230 can claim full credit. If your modified adjusted gross income is more than $239,230 but less than $279,230, you will receive a reduced tax credit. If your modified adjusted gross income is $279,230 or more for the year, you are not eligible for the tax credit.

Adoption and taxes can be complicated, and you will likely have questions about the tax benefits available in your specific situation. While we hope you find the information in this post helpful, keep in mind that Adoption Choices does not offer tax advice. Talk to a tax professional for more specific information about how the Adoption Tax Credit can benefit your family.

Future: 2024 Adoption Tax Credit – If you adopt a child in 2024, the credit maximum amount will be $16,810 with an AGI phaseout threshold of $252,150 to $292,150.

Present: 2023 Adoption Tax Credit – If you adopt a child in 2023, the credit maximum amount will be $15,950 with an AGI phaseout threshold of $239,230 to $279,230.

Past: 2022 Adoption Tax Credit – for the past tax year 2022, the maximum adoption credit was $14,890 per child with a phaseout range of $223,410 – $263,410.

Interaction with the Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit changed in 2018, there was also a temporary change in 2021. The amount is now $2,000 per child, but only $1,400 of it can become the refundable additional child tax credit (dependent on the family’s earned income), with the remaining $600 a non-refundable Child Tax Credit. This credit will supersede the adoption tax credit when reducing the tax liability.

To determine the amount of the Child Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit a family uses, a family must complete the Child Tax Credit Worksheet in IRS Publication 972. Software and tax preparers will automatically calculate these amounts.

Taxpayers who can answer “Yes” on the last line of the Child Tax Credit Worksheet may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit, which is a refundable credit (meaning they can claim the credit regardless of their tax liability). To claim the Additional Child Tax Credit, parents must complete IRS Schedule 8812.

How Much Taxpayers Will Benefit

How much, if any, of the adoption tax credit a parent will receive depends on their federal income tax liability in 2023 (and the next five years). In one year, taxpayers can use as much of the credit as the full amount of their federal income tax liability, which is the amount on line 11 of the Form 1040 less certain other credits (see Child Tax Credit above). Even those who normally get a refund may still have tax liability and could get a larger refund with the adoption tax credit. Taxpayers have six years (the year they first claimed the credit plus five additional years) to use the credit.

People who do not have federal income tax liability will not benefit this year. We encourage them to claim the credit and carry it forward to future years since the credit may become refundable again in the future.

Claiming the Adoption Tax Credit

To claim the credit, taxpayers will complete a 2023 version of IRS Form 8839 (available at irs.gov) and submit it with their Form 1040 when they file their 2023 taxes. Most tax software will create this form for you. Before filing, taxpayers should review 2023 Form 8839 instructions (will also be available at www.irs.gov) very carefully to be sure that they apply for the credit correctly and to see if anything has changed. The instructions are needed to calculate how much of the credit will be used.

When claiming the adoption tax credit, you’ll want to be ready with documents such as:

  • The final adoption decree
  • A placement agreement from an authorized agency
  • Court documents
  • A state’s determination for special-needs children, if applicable
When Can I Claim The Adoption Tax Credit?

If the child is born in the United States or is a resident alien, you may claim the adoption tax credit in the year after you incurred the expenses. However, if you completed the adoption process in the same year you incurred the expenses, you may claim the adoption tax credit in that year. Also, if you incur expenses in the year after the adoption is finalized, you may take the tax credit in the year you incurred the expenses. In an international adoption, the adoption tax credit can be claimed only after the adoption is finalized.

Other Adoption Tax Credit Questions:

What If The Adoption Is Unsuccessful?

One of the amazing things about the federal adoption tax credit is that eligibility does not depend on whether an adoption attempt was successful. Indeed, expenses incurred with an adoption attempt of a specific child, whether successful or not, may be reimbursed through the credit. The IRS allows you to treat these adoption expenses in the same manner as expenses you paid for an adoption that was not finalized by the end of the year. However, in an international adoption, the adoption tax credit can be claimed only if the adoption is successfully finalized.

What If My Qualified Adoption Expenses Are Greater Than My Tax Liability?

In its current form, Congress rejected the lobbyists’ plea to make the credit refundable. This would have meant that an adoptive parent would receive a check for the full credit whether or not they owed that amount in taxes for that year. Instead, Congress chose to treat the credit as a true “credit” meaning that the credit can only offset actual tax liability for that given year. If the adoption tax credit exceeds the amount of your tax liability for the year, the good news is that the excess amount of the tax credit can be carried forward for up to five years.

What Type Of Proof Must I Submit To Take The Adoption Tax Credit?

To take the adoption tax credit, you must be prepared to provide documentation to the IRS showing that your expenses are “qualified adoption expenses.” Therefore, during the adoption process, you should keep all of your receipts, invoices, and financial documents relating to the adoption so that you are prepared to submit these documents to the IRS.

What If My Employer Reimburses Me For Certain Adoption Expenses?

It is important to know that if your employer reimburses you for certain adoption expenses, you are permitted to exclude the amount of the reimbursement from your income. In other words, employee adoption benefit programs are tax deductible. You should inquire into whether your employer offers an adoption benefit program. A typical employer contribution is between $5,000 and $25,000.

In addition to this exclusion, you also are permitted to claim the adoption tax credit for the remaining amount of adoption expenses. The thing to remember is that you are not allowed to claim the tax credit and the exclusion for the same expenses. Again, you should consult with a tax professional to determine the extent of the adoption tax credit and exclusion available to you.

Since The Tax Credit Is A Federal Program, Does My State Offer Similar Types Of Tax Credits Or Deductions For Adoptive Parents?

Some states do and some do not. Since every state is different, you should consult with a tax professional to determine the extent of the adoption tax credit available in your state.

Talk to a Tax Professional about Adoption Tax Credit 2023

This is a lot of information, and you probably have more questions about the tax credit for adopting a child in your specific situation. Remember, Adoption Choices does not offer tax advice and recommends that you talk to your tax professional for specific information on how the Adoption Tax Credit can benefit your family.

Birth Mother Blog

Positive Adoption Language: Does it Matter Which Phrase I Use?

Positive Adoption Language: Does it Matter Which Phrase I Use?

 By Talia Washington

Can rephrasing a sentence change someone’s life? You may think this a dramatic statement. No way switching a couple of words around could make a significant change to anyone? Positive Adoption Language (PAL) is one of the ways to show respect to people pregnant and considering adoption and everyone involved in the adoption process. PAL is proof that switching negative terminology can change someone’s life. Read for more information about positive adoption language and why the phrases you use matter.

What is Positive Adoption Language?

Positive Adoption Language (PAL) refers to the choice of expressions and terminology concerning adoption. Incorporating positive language requires refraining from phrases like ‘give up’ when referring to the child. Using positive language is vital during the adoption process. The lack of PAL unknowingly projects stigma that causes mothers to move away from considering adoption.

 

Therefore simply saying place instead of giving up could be the deciding factor when speaking to someone dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.

Incorporating positive adoption language can sound like:

  • Speaking with adoptive parents: “I understand you’re hoping to adopt a child.”
  • Talking to the child: “We chose to take you home with us.”
  • Speaking with the birth mother: “Adoption is one of many options when dealing with an unplanned pregnancy which can be challenging and emotional.

Replacing Negative Adoption Language

Some believe phrases like giving a child up for adoption and considering adoption for my baby are interchangeable. If you mentioned both two phrases, people would know that they meant the same thing.

Using positive language in place of negatively connotated phrasing makes everyone involved in the adoption process feel recognized and acknowledged.

Positive examples when talking about adoption include phrases like place, adoptive parents, birth parents etc. You would not say things like ‘real’ or ‘fake’ parents. As you would avoid referring to an adopted child as an orphan unless completely relevant and could not be rephrased

 

Negative Adoption Language – “Put up” or Place?

What is the difference between using put up or place? The two phrases mean the same thing in this context. If used in the context of adoption “put up” has a negative connotation that implies the child is being put away. Adoption is a complicated and sensitive subject, so it’s best to try and judge the scenario and context of the sentence.

Here is an example of put-up being used positively vs. negatively:

  • “You’re just putting up/placing the kid?” vs. “You’re thinking of putting/placing your child up for adoption?”

Placing a child for adoption is not the same scenario as putting up or placing a ketchup bottle on the table. Adoption Choices of Missouri understand the importance and how much is at stake. The importance of this decision makes it harmful to use words like “put up” when referring to adoption.

Tips & Tricks –  Help with Positive Adoption Language

  1. The use of the phrases like “give up” insinuates that the woman is giving up something. Do your very best to avoid making the birth mother feel judged. Adoption Choices of Missouri understands that birth mothers are people working through unplanned pregnancies.
  2.  Listen to the phrasing other people use in the conversation. If you’re unsure of what is appropriate, listen to the others. Does the birth mother use phrases like ‘give up’ or ‘adopted parents’ while speaking?
  3. Learn more about positive adoption language and how word choice could affect others. Think about the connotation (how the word/phrase sounds) vs. the denotation (what the word/phrase means).
  4. Think about the stereotypes surrounding adoption in Missouri. Acknowledge the stigma surrounding adoption, are the words you’re using spreading or aligning with negative stereotypes? If so, rethink your choice of words!
  5. Using place or put up instead of ‘give up’ when referring to the adoption process may be the difference between a birth mother deciding to place a child for adoption. Use discretion and empathy when dealing with anyone during the adoption process.
  6. Understand that language is incredibly important and try your best! No one is perfect – become educated on the proper terms and put them to use.
  7. Educating yourself on positive adoption language is a process. It takes time to unlearn harmful or unhelpful lessons. Be patient with yourself and refrain from being rude or disrespectful to birth mothers at all times.
  8. Positive adoption language benefits everyone involved in the adoption process including the adoption agency, adoptive parents, and birth mothers.

Impact of PAL

It is possible to change someone’s life by using PAL. In fact, you may be changing a child’s life by rephrasing your initial thoughts. Making someone feel uncomfortable or disrespected while discussing adoption plans or the adoption process could mean a completely different life for an innocent child.

Adoption Choices of Missouri handles situations without judgment. If you or someone you know is struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, contact us. You and your adoption agency will work to ensure the best adoption plan for you and your baby.

Blog

Why Does Adoption in Missouri Still Carry So Much Stigma?

Why Does Adoption in Missouri Still Carry So Much Stigma?

By Vidya Rajesh

If you are seeking adoption, you will be overwhelmed with loads of information. The information can be good, bad, or maybe even something you never expected. The thing that strikes you the most is the stigma surrounding adoption. Adoption stigmas affect many different people in many different ways. Only you can decide what is right for you and your baby. Adoption Choices in Missouri has recognized some of the stigmas/taboos and will help you deal with them.

Here are some common adoption stigmas that you can encounter:

1. Women Giving Away the Baby for Adoption are Too Lazy to Raise Their Child

 

Women who are thinking about giving a child up for adoption do so for various reasons. Maybe you are not financially strong enough to take care of a child in your present living situation. Or, because of an unplanned pregnancy, you are not mentally ready to raise a child. Whatever your reason is, it doesn’t mean that you do not love your child. In fact, you are seeking adoption because you care immensely for the child’s future.

Adoption means you are looking to find a good home for your child. And places like our adoption agencies in Missouri are here to help you find good homes and provide you with a full range of services to ensure safety, support and care.

2. Open Adoption in Missouri can Cause Complications

Open adoption is a type of adoption in which the birth and adoptive families are in contact with one another. After the adoption process, you may interact in various ways with the adoptive parents, as well as with your child. Interacting is not co-parenting. You are not trying to be the parent, but you are kept in the loop because you both love your child. Open adoption is a relationship built on trust and mutual love for a child. These roles aren’t clearly defined in society.

In an open adoption, there are more people to love your child. Your child won’t have to search for their biological relatives.

3. Fear of Having No Control Over the Adoption Process

When you decide to give a child up for adoption, the process is typically a lot longer than just dropping the child off at an adoption agency near you. A great deal of stress usually comes if you feel you will have no say in the adoption process. In those situations, Adoption Choices of Missouri approaches you with an adoption plan to make the journey go smoothly.

The adoption process also usually goes on throughout your entire or remaining pregnancy. It is a very meticulous process where factors like your adoption options, your needs, and who the adoptive family is will be decided.

4. The Adopted Child Grows Up Feeling Ashamed

This can happen when the child doesn’t know their birth parents, which is the case of a closed adoption. Children who grow up without any knowledge of their birth parents usually wonder why their birth parents decided to do so. This can lead to confusion and low self-esteem. Now adoption agencies encourage open adoption in Missouri, where birth parents and their children know each other. Adopted children can talk with their birth parents and get the answers to their questions.

It is important to know that the adoptive child will likely not grow up feeling ashamed. Their adoptive parents will give them all the love they need. However, if you are having an open adoption, it can be beneficial for you and the adoptive parents to talk to the child at an early age and let them know they are adopted. This ensures that adoption is normal. Being honest strengthens the bond between the adopted child and the adoptive parents. Therefore it can be very important to let the child know about you and normalize the situation. If you and the adoptive parents work together, the child will grow up to be confident and have a unique sense of identity. However, each adoption is different. If you feel it is better not to be involved, then you should do just that.

5. The Adoption Process can be Exhausting

There is a stigma about adoption being too complicated and not worth the effort. The truth is, adoption is not an easy process. But It doesn’t necessarily drain you of all your emotional energy.

Do not worry. Adoption in Missouri is not a solo ride. Our adoption agencies in Missouri will support you throughout the journey. They offer you many adoption options to help pair you with an ideal family for your child.

6. “Considering Adoption for My Baby” Means You Do Not Love Your Baby

This general stigma is that birth mothers are giving up a child for adoption because they do not love them. This is so far from the truth. Contrary to this belief, birth mothers love their unborn children so much that they sacrifice the joy of parenting for the sake of a better home for their children. If you are unable to provide the necessary parental care, you turn to an adoption agency near you for assistance.

Stay positive and never give in to guilt or regret. Adoption Choices of Missouri offers all the options that will help you make the best decision in the interest of your child. Look up Adoption agencies near me and you will find assistance.

7. Who is Fit to Adopt My Child? What is the Adoption Process?

Another stigma is that only the ‘ideal’ couple can adopt a child. This is false as there is no such thing as the ‘ideal’ couple. Practically everyone has the potential to adopt a child. It really doesn’t matter if they are a single parent wanting to raise a child or an LGBTQ+ couple that wants to start a family or an old person as long as they can provide for the child.

Adoption Choices of Missouri will carefully select from the prospective adoptive parents and pair them with the birth parents. As long as they have the capacity to support and provide for the child, anyone can be an adoptive parent.

Do Not Let These Stigmas Intimidate You, Create an Adoption Plan with Us!

Every human comes with their own mindset of what is good and bad for them. We all should evolve and improve as a community. If you are pregnant and considering adoption, you can get a lot of support from adoption agencies. Adoption Choices of Missouri addresses the stigmas and taboos associated with the adoption process. By discussing the fears, showing empathy, respecting one another, and tackling the stigmas surrounding adoption, we can work towards creating better spaces for everyone.

Birth Mother Blog

Misconceptions About Missouri Birth Fathers

Misconceptions About Missouri Birth Fathers

By Alexis Diamond

Though integral to the adoption process, birth fathers are often slighted when it comes to being properly recognized. We primarily hear of the struggles endured by the birth mother, but there is little heard of the birth father, which leads to stereotyping and harmful assumptions being created to fill in those cognitive gaps. While little is known about the truth of birth fathers’ experiences, resources exist to boost the public’s awareness. If you are pregnant considering adoption and want to learn more about the truth regarding birth fathers, then continue reading as adoption agencies such as Adoption Choices of Missouri are here to debunk these myths and misconceptions.

5 Misconceptions About Missouri Birth Fathers

For any person, giving a child up for adoption can be stressful, so if you are a woman considering adoption in Missouri and have worries regarding pre-existing misconceptions, continue reading to understand why these stereotypes hold no merits.

  • Birth Fathers Want No Involvement in the Adoption Process
  • Birth Fathers Are Uninvolved with Missouri Birth Mothers
  • Birth Fathers Provide No Support in the Missouri Adoption Process
  • Birth Fathers Are Unimportant in the Missouri Adoption Process
  • Birth Fathers Don’t Need the Same Support as the Birth Mother

Birth Father Misconception 1-2

  1. Birth Fathers Want No Involvement in the Adoption Process      

Though there are those who do not want involvement, all birth father’s are given the right to be involved in the adoption process. Options are available for the inclusion of all parties, which can include an open adoption, meaning that the birth father is granted the right to remain in the child’s life. It is important to recognize that though this stereotype exists, it should not affect the birth fathers who want to be a part of it. For those concerned, adoption agencies in Missouri will ensure that both the birth mother and father are aware of the rights they have and are well-informed through each step of the process.

  1. Birth Fathers Are Uninvolved with Missouri Birth Mothers

It is a common misconception that following an adoption, the birth father and mother separate. While there is the possibility of this happening, the decision lies between both partners, and does not always result in separation. Keeping this in mind is important when considering adoption options, especially in regards to open adoption in Missouri.

Birth Father Misconception 3-4

  1. Birth Fathers Provide No Support in the Missouri Adoption Process

Those considering adoption for my baby can understand the stress that can go into the adoption process. However, though it may be worrisome, it is essential that those involved are given the proper support needed through each step of their journey. It is commonly perceived that birth fathers do not support the birth mothers; however, this does not characterize all of them. There are many birth fathers who recognize that their responsibility is to care for the birth mother alongside themselves, and while there are those who choose not to provide support, there are plenty who do.

  1. Birth Fathers Are Unimportant in the Missouri Adoption Process

Referring back to the previous misconception, it is noteworthy that birth fathers are often tasked with caring and supporting the birth mother. This alone is a greatly important responsibility for birth fathers to take on. Alongside this, they also have the job of choosing adoption agencies and adoption families to avoid all of the stress being placed on the birth mother. Therefore, birth fathers are essential to the adoption process.

Birth Father Misconception 5

  1. Birth Fathers Don’t Need the Same Support as the Birth Mother

Emotionally, the adoption process can be very tasking. Though the birth mother needs counseling following the adoption, birth fathers also require the same care, but are often neglected. Unfortunately, they begin to feel that their emotions might need to take a backseat, which could contribute to this misconception; however, it’s important to recognize that both the birth father and mother both need counseling through the process.

Understanding the Truth About Missouri Birth Fathers and Dismissing the Misconceptions

Misconceptions that are widely spread can be hard to dismiss. It is unfortunate that they exist; however, resources such as those provided by Adoption Choices of Missouri work to inform others of the truth when faced with difficult situations such as an unplanned pregnancy. It’s important to keep in mind that many birth fathers would like to be involved in the adoption process, and though exceptions to this situation exist, they should not apply to all birth fathers.

If you are a birth mother who is pregnant considering adoption, reach out to Adoption Choices of Missouri to help you through this process. We can assist through every step, and aid in the creation of an adoption plan. We can inform you of all options you have, and make the adoption process much easier. Contact us early at your earliest convenience if you have an unplanned pregnancy and we can help you discover the options you have moving forward.

Birth Mother Blog

Finalizing Adoption Steps and Responsibilities

Finalizing Adoption Steps and Responsibilities

By: Talia Washington

You are nearing the closing of a life-changing process. After a careful guided review of the adoption plan your unplanned pregnancy will be in the care of a loving, like-minded adoptive family. You have made a courageous and selfless decision, but the adoption process does not end with selecting the adoptive parents. Let’s discuss adoption finalization: finalizing adoption steps and responsibilities for adoption in Missouri.

Adoption Finalization for Birth Mothers

Birth mothers, you are essentially near the end of the adoption process.

Your last tasks include acquiring the consent of both birth parents to terminate parental rights. This is legally required before the child can be adopted. It is important to note that parental rights cannot legally be released before the child is two days (48 hours old).

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is enforced to keep the child safe while traveling throughout different states. Safety regulations such as ICPC ensure the adoption is legal with the systems that are put in place.

The final steps of the adoption process are legitimizing the adoption. A judge will conduct the final hearing and sign the adoption decree. The adoptive family as well as the birth mother are expected to attend. After the hearing, the adoptive family will be granted legal custody of the child.

There are processes placed to keep your child safe and the adoption process legal. The court hearing will be the final step before taking the child home for the adoptive parents. It is the judge’s decision that will determine whether or not to sign the child will be adopted. The judge will then sign the adoption decree if they find the family appropriate.

Counseling and emotional support will be accessible during and after the adoption finalization. Financial support may be provided based on need and resources.

What Adoptive Parents Need to Know

The birth mother signing over parental rights is not adoption finalization for adoptive parents. Adoptive parents will be present during the final hearing. When the finalization process ends they will be allowed to take the child home.

Here is a list of some things adoptive parents may need during the adoption finalization process. Adoptive parents need to know:

  • Your court appearance may call need for a finalizing attorney and your adoption agency. Adoption Choices of Missouri will be present in court in order to speak with the judge.
  • The judge will swear in everyone present from the adoptive family. The questioning will involve parenting and commitment. If the judge has a speech or other concerns, then it will be spoken.
  • The judge determines whether the adoption takes place. If the decision is in the adoptive parents’ favor they will be issued a Missouri certificate of adoption. At the end, the judge will issue your Missouri certificate of adoption.
  • Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) ensures that adopted children are safe traveling throughout states. 50 states have been contracted on this agreement. These rules must be abided by, even if they are adopting in-state.
  • Adoptive parents will be required to be present for home visits up to six times a month after the adoption. These are mandatory visits to check in on the health and safety of the child.

The Final Steps Summary – Adoption Agencies in Missouri

  • Terminating parental rights
  • Court proceedings
  • Adoption decree
  • Post-placement visitation
  • Counsel and support for birth mothers

Ultimately, after these are complete the adoption is complete. The adoptive parents can begin the journey of parenthood. You can know that you made the best decision for your child and (if decided in the adoption plan) contact the child. Giving a child up for adoption can be an emotional, upsetting, exciting, and somewhat demanding process for all parties. You have reached the end now, and the child is now placed in a loving, stable, and growth-inspiring home.

We understand that this can be an emotional and challenging journey, and our goal is to ensure that you feel empowered, informed, and supported throughout this important step. Our full-service Missouri adoption agency will guide you through the legal procedures, answer your questions, and connect you with resources to assist you in making the best decision for yourself and your child. We believe that every birth mother deserves a smooth and respectful adoption finalization experience, and we are here to help you achieve just that.

If you have questions or are considering adoption for my baby please contact Adoption Choices of Missouri. Adoption Choices of Missouri is here to answer any questions or concerns.

Birth Mother Blog

What Does the Finalization Process Look Like for Birth Mothers and Adoptive Parents in Missouri? 

What Does the Finalization Process Look Like for Birth Mothers and Adoptive Parents in Missouri? 

By Nicole Cunningham

There has been much to do up to this point. For an adoption in Missouri, as the birth mother, you have decided to go through with creating an adoption plan. You have chosen the family that will take your baby home to complete their family. Now what is left to do? What does this process look like in its final form when everything is said and done? As the birth mother and the adoptive family, it looks different for each of you. What does adoption finalization process look like?

The adoption process can be long and overwhelming. Giving up your baby for adoption is not an easy process. It is almost time for the end of your adoption plan. The finalization process for adoption can be different for everyone, just as the adoption process is different for everyone. Similar steps are taken for each birth mother and the adoptive family. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we can help you with the whole adoption process, including the finalization steps.

What is Adoption Finalization? 

Adoption finalization process is what the adoption process looks like for you post-placement. Everything that happens after you give birth to the baby at the hospital and the adoptive family is able to take their new child home with them.  

The Finalization Process of Adoption for the Birth Parents 

The process of adoption finalization for the birth mother includes, after you give birth in the hospital, the adoptive parents and you have already discussed the birth hospital plan. This plan will determine when the adoptive parents are able to take the child home with them. When you are at the hospital, this is where you will give your final consent for them to adopt your baby and sign the final forms. These forms will show that you are terminating your parental rights over the child for the adoptive parents to take full responsibility and gain their parental rights.They will be able to leave the hospital with the baby. You should start the recovery process, getting plenty of rest and allowing yourself to heal. After this, you may need to look into support or counseling post-placement, which we can help assist you with. 

The Finalization Process of Adoption for the Adoptive Parents 

The process of adoption finalization for the adoptive family includes having to wait for their new family member to be born. After the baby is born, the birth mother still wants to go through with the adoption. They will have to fill out the paperwork that you both will sign. This signs over the parental rights to them and allows them to be able to leave with the baby. After they have done everything they need to at the hospital, they will have to go through a court hearing. The birth mother does not need to be there at the hearing. Then they will be able to start adjusting to life with their new child. 

Adoption Post-Placement Communication

Depending on the type of adoption you and the adoptive parents have agreed on determines how much post-placement communication there is. Post-placement communication can look different for everyone. If you choose to do an open adoption, that level of communication will look different than if you and your adoptive parents decide to go with a semi-open or closed adoption.

If you choose to do an open adoption during the adoption process, then you and the adoptive parents will have a higher level of communication- you may even be able to have visits with the child. The semi-open adoption usually involves the exchanging of photos, emails, but there is usually not any face-to-face visit post-placement. With a closed adoption, both birth mother and adoptive family rarely have any in person contact with one another. 

Adoption Post-Placement Self-Care

As the birth mother, you will need to make sure you are taking care of yourself, both physically and mentally, after you deliver the baby, try to take time for yourself. Your body will be in recovery, so taking it easy is essential and getting plenty of rest. It can be difficult for you mentally as well. Giving a child up for adoption is not easy, it can cause quite a bit of stress or depression.

Even though you know that adoption can be a hard choice, that doesn’t make it the wrong one. After the permanent placement and legal termination of parental rights have gone through, the process might never be easy on you. Adoption Choices of Missouri can offer you counseling and emotional support as you may need.

Adoption Finalization with Missouri Adoption Agencies

We know that the adoption process can be difficult for the birth mother and the adoptive family. If you are considering adoption for my baby, just know that you’re doing what is best for the child, and that’s what’s important. We here at Adoption Choices of Missouri can help answer any questions you may still have regarding the adoption process and the finalization steps you will be taking or if you are pregnant considering adoption or have an unplanned pregnancy

Birth Mother Blog Putting baby up for adoption

Putting a Baby Up for Adoption Today in Missouri

Putting a Baby Up for Adoption Today in Missouri

Putting a baby up for adoption through private adoption has been a significant part of the adoption landscape for many years. It involves the placement of a child with adoptive parents through a private agency or attorney, rather than through the foster care system. Over the past two decades, the private adoption process has gone through many notable changes. These changes reflect evolving societal attitudes, advancements in technology, and improvements in adoption practices. Many people have an outdated understanding of what private adoption looks like. If you are pregnant and considering adoption for your baby, you may not know how private adoption has changed. In this article, we will delve into the private adoption process and see how it has transformed in the past two decades. 

Adoption Choices of Missouri is a licensed adoption agency that has been providing adoption services for many years. We’ve seen firsthand how private adoption has changed, and have incorporated those improvements into our own organization. We here at Adoption Choices are here to provide all the information and support you need to navigate adoption in Missouri. As you consider your adoption options, keep us in mind. 

Focus on Birth Parent Support and Counseling

Our society as a whole has come to understand and prioritize mental health far more than in the past. This has impacted adoption practices and brought more attention to the mental health of birth mothers. In the past, birth parent support and counseling services were not as widely available as they are today. Adoption Choices recognizes the importance of emotional support for birth parents throughout the adoption journey. We prioritize birth parent counseling, offering resources and guidance to help birth parents navigate the complex emotions and challenges that arise during the adoption process. These counseling services are not limited to the pre-adoption phase, they extend to the recovery period as well. This ensures that birth parents have ongoing support and access to resources to cope with their feelings and experiences after placement. Adoption can be a mental and emotional challenge, but there are resources available to birth parents that can help.

Embracing Technology and Online Adoption Resources

In the past, the adoption process heavily relied on paper documents, phone calls, and in-person meetings. Today, technology has revolutionized the way adoptive parents and birth parents connect and navigate the process. Adoption websites and online platforms such as ours have become valuable resources for prospective adoptive parents and birth parents. Adoptive parents can create profiles, share their stories, and express their desire to adopt, and birth parents can now explore adoptive family profiles at their convenience, gaining insight into potential matches. Now by simply searching “adoption agencies near me”, you have instant access to information and resources that are specific to your area. 

The digital era has made communication more efficient, enabling adoptive families and birth parents to maintain contact through emails, video calls, and social media platforms. These advancements have not only expedited the matching process but have also enhanced transparency and empowered birth parents to take an active role in selecting the perfect family for their child. Technology has made increased communication and birth parent involvement possible. More information and resources for birth parents looking into adoption is readily available to anyone with questions about adoption. It is now possible to immediately get in contact with nearby adoption agencies to receive guidance that is specifically tailored to you. 

Shift Towards Openness and Ongoing Contact

Two decades ago, closed adoptions were more common, and birth parents often had limited or no contact with their child after placement. In recent years, there has been a significant shift towards openness in adoption, and taking into consideration the choice of the birth mother. Many private adoptions now involve varying degrees of ongoing contact between birth parents and adoptive families. 

Open adoptions can offer benefits to all parties involved. Birth parents can gain reassurance that their child is thriving in a loving environment, while adoptive families can provide their child with information about their birth family. Open communication between birth parents and adoptive families can create a more seamless and emotionally healthy experience for the child as they grow and develop a sense of identity. As a birth mother, you are now able to choose between open, semi-open, or closed adoption, a choice that previously was unavailable. This improvement in adoption practices ensures that you can make your adoption experience just right for you. 

Improving and Modernizing Private Adoption: An Ongoing Effort for Putting a Baby Up for Adoption

The private adoption process has evolved significantly over the past several years. Technology, openness, support services, and birth parent involvement have played pivotal roles in shaping modern adoption practices. Today, the private adoption process is more accessible, transparent, and focused on the well-being of all involved parties. These changes reflect society’s growing appreciation for the importance of honoring birth parents’ choices. They also reflect society supporting birth parent emotional well-being. And ensuring adoptive families are prepared for the lifelong commitment of adopting a child. 

As the private adoption process continues to evolve, it will continue to adapt. This ongoing process ensures we can continue to improve. We have provided support for many pregnant women in Missouri through all of these changes. And we continue to do so. If you are pregnant and considering adoption, reach out to Adoption Choices of Missouri today, we are here to help.

 

Birth Mother Blog

5 Facts about Adoption: What to Know as a Birth Mother in Missouri

5 Facts about Adoption: What to Know as a Birth Mother in Missouri

By Samara Wiley Updated By Jan Douglas

Adoption has significantly changed in the last decade. Adoptions in the past were most likely wholly confidential. The adoption agency did not share any information between the birth mother and the adoptive parents. This method of handling adoption left a stigma around adoption. If you are pregnant and considering adoption, here are some facts to help you better understand the adoption process today.

1. Giving a Child Up For Adoption Is Not “Giving Up”

It is a selfless, loving, and brave choice to place your baby with kind and caring adoptive parents. Doing so means imagining a better life for your unborn baby. A life with the best opportunities, which you may not be in a place to give right now. Choosing adoption means you want what’s best for your child and are doing everything you can to make sure they get that. Adoption can be a beautiful decision for an unplanned pregnancy. Choosing adoption gives your child a chance at a better and brighter future.

2. Various Types of Assistance are Available With Adoption in Missouri

At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we take pride in providing all birth mothers with the necessary resources. These include:

  • Financial assistance – such as help with rent, transportation, groceries, and more
  • Safe housing – we can help you find and afford proper housing so you can find rest
  • Medical care access – prenatal care is important; we can help you apply for Medicaid and also make sure you receive proper medical care throughout your pregnancy
  • Counseling and Support – your birth mother specialist is always there for you. You will receive post-placement help following the birth and adoption finalization.

3. You Will Have the Opportunity to Select the Adoptive Family

As a birth mom, you can have peace of mind knowing that the adoptive family has gone through a rigorous background check. Additionally, all the families have undergone a home study by one of our adoption specialists. Here is what is involved in a home study checklist. Our adoption agency does not place any limits on age, race, or sexual orientation. We will provide you with several family profiles to review. These profiles contain family photos and a “Dear Birth Mother” letter. The letter details the likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc., of the parents. It gives detailed information about the family. 

4. There are Three Types of Adoption 

When making your adoption plan, you have adoption options. There is no one right way when it comes to present-day adoptions. Adoptions today are flexible, unique, and personalized. The birth mother chooses the type of adoption and will create a plan she feels comfortable with. 

  • Open Adoption – This is the best choice if you want to have a direct relationship with the adoptive family and child. You and the adoptive family will agree to have ongoing communication after placement. This type of adoption can include in-person visits. Often you can be a part of the child’s life as they grow up–being there for birthdays, graduations, and other milestones. After selecting the adoptive family, you may invite them to attend your prenatal doctor appointments and even be present for the delivery. The guidelines can change over time. The birth mother and adoptive parents may wish to change things as the child grows up. Nothing is “set in stone,” and you or the adoptive family can alter the adoption plan.
  • Closed Adoption – A closed adoption involves complete confidentiality. The only information shared between the birth parent and the adoptive family is the birth mother’s medical history. There are many reasons someone would decide on a closed adoption–the mental health of the birth mother or the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy, such as rape.
  • Semi-open Adoption – a birth mother who does not want an open relationship with the child may choose this type of adoption. She wants to be informed about the child and to receive pictures and updates as they grow up. The adoption agency often mediates a semi-open adoption. This option may be suitable for a woman who finds it difficult to move on after the adoption.

5. Working with a Local, Licensed, and Private Adoption Agency is Beneficial

Adoption can be challenging. It takes courage and determination. It can be comforting to have your birth mother specialist nearby. A licensed adoption agency understands Missouri adoption requirements. They will know the birth mother benefits you are eligible for in your state. If you are wondering how to give a baby up for adoption, we are a local and licensed adoption agency. We are private and unique, assisting and supporting around 100 women a year with adoption.

Adoptive Family Birth Father Birth Mother Blog

2022 Adoption Tax Credit

2022 Adoption Tax Credit

The 2022 tax filing season is upon us! The Internal Revenue Service recommends taxpayers take time to determine if they are eligible for important tax credits. Many of our adoptive families will be applying for the Adoption Tax Credit. With that in mind, we have compiled some basic information about the 2022 adoption tax credit.

Adoption Tax Credit 101 – for 2022 adoptions (claimed in early 2023)

If you have done any research into adoption financing, you’ve probably heard about the Federal Adoption Tax Credit. But what exactly is this credit, and how does it work?

The Federal Adoption Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit that helps families offset the costs of qualifying adoption expenses. Families who paid qualifying adoption expenses in 2022, and owe taxes, may be eligible to benefit from this credit. For adoptions finalized in 2022, there is a federal adoption tax credit of up to $14,890 per child. The 2022 adoption tax credit is NOT refundable, which means taxpayers can only use the credit if they have federal income tax liability.

Parents who are adopting from the U.S. and claiming qualified adoption expenses can claim the credit the year of finalization or the year after they spent the funds. Parents who adopt a child with special needs and are not basing their request on expenses should claim the credit the year of finalization. Parents who adopt internationally cannot claim the credit until the year of finalization.

The credit applies one time for each adopted child and should be claimed when taxpayers file taxes for 2022.

To be eligible for the credit, parents must:

  • Have adopted a child other than a stepchild — A child must be either under 18 or be physically or mentally unable to take care of him or herself.
  • Be within the income limits — Income affects how much of the credit parents can claim. The credit begins to phase out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) in excess of $223,410, and it’s completely phased out at $263,410 or more.

According to the IRS, “qualified adoption expenses” can include items like:

  • Reasonable and necessary adoption fees
  • Court costs and attorney fees
  • Traveling expenses related to adoption
  • Other expenses that are directly related to and for the principal purpose of the legal adoption of an eligible child

If you’re not sure whether you are eligible to use the adoption tax credit or if you paid qualifying adoption expenses in 2022, a tax professional will be able to provide more information.

How Much is the 2022 Adoption Tax Credit?

The amount families are eligible to receive from the Federal Adoption Tax Credit depends on a number of factors and will vary based on their unique situation. Families who finalize the adoption of a child with special needs in 2022 and fulfill the eligibility requirements above, can claim the full credit of $14,890 whether or not they had any expenses.

Other adopters can claim a credit based on their qualified adoption expenses, which are the reasonable and necessary expenses paid to complete the adoption that have not been reimbursed by anyone else. If the expenses are less than $14,890, the adopters claim only the amount of those expenses. However, if the expenses exceed $14,890, the adopters can claim up to, but no more than, $14,890, per child.

The Adoption Tax Credit limit is based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and is recalculated each year based on current cost of living. Income affects how much of the credit parents can claim. For the 2022 Adoption Tax Credit, families with a MAGI below $223,410 can claim full credit. The credit begins to phase out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) in excess of $223,410, and it’s completely phased out at $263,410 or more.

Adoption and taxes can be complicated, and you will likely have questions about the tax benefits available in your specific situation. While we hope you find the information in this post helpful, keep in mind that Adoption Choices does not offer tax advice. Talk to a tax professional for more specific information about how the Adoption Tax Credit can benefit your family.

Future: 2023 Adoption Tax Credit – If you adopt a child in 2023, the credit maximum amount will be $15,950 with an AGI phaseout threshold of $239,230 to $279,230.

Present: 2022 Adoption Tax Credit – If you adopt a child in 2022, the credit maximum amount will be $14,890 with an AGI phaseout threshold of $223,410 to $263,410.

Past: 2021 Adoption Tax Credit – for the past tax year 2021, the maximum adoption credit was $14,440 per child with a phaseout range of $216,660 – $256,660.

Interaction with the Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit changed in 2018, there was also a temporary change in 2021. The amount is now $2,000 per child, but only $1,400 of it can become the refundable additional child tax credit (dependent on the family’s earned income), with the remaining $600 a non-refundable Child Tax Credit.  This credit will supersede the adoption tax credit when reducing the tax liability.

To determine the amount of the Child Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit a family uses, a family must complete the Child Tax Credit Worksheet in IRS Publication 972.  Software and tax preparers will automatically calculate these amounts.

Taxpayers who can answer “Yes” on the last line of the Child Tax Credit Worksheet may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit, which is a refundable credit (meaning they can claim the credit regardless of their tax liability). To claim the Additional Child Tax Credit, parents must complete IRS Schedule 8812.

How Much Taxpayers Will Benefit

How much, if any, of the adoption tax credit a parent will receive depends on their federal income tax liability in 2022 (and the next five years). In one year, taxpayers can use as much of the credit as the full amount of their federal income tax liability, which is the amount on line 11 of the Form 1040 less certain other credits (see Child Tax Credit above). Even those who normally get a refund may still have tax liability and could get a larger refund with the adoption tax credit. Taxpayers have six years (the year they first claimed the credit plus five additional years) to use the credit.

People who do not have federal income tax liability will not benefit this year. We encourage them to claim the credit and carry it forward to future years since the credit may become refundable again in the future.

Claiming the Adoption Tax Credit

To claim the credit, taxpayers will complete a 2022 version of IRS Form 8839 (available at irs.gov) and submit it with their Form 1040 when they file their 2022 taxes. Most tax software will create this form for you. Before filing, taxpayers should review 2022 Form 8839 instructions (will also be available at www.irs.gov) very carefully to be sure that they apply for the credit correctly and to see if anything has changed. The instructions are needed to calculate how much of the credit will be used.

When claiming the adoption tax credit, you’ll want to be ready with documents such as:

  • The final adoption decree
  • A placement agreement from an authorized agency
  • Court documents
  • A state’s determination for special-needs children, if applicable

This is a lot of information, and you probably have more questions about the tax credit for adopting a child in your specific situation. Adoption Choices does not offer tax advice and recommends that you talk to your tax professional for specific information on how the Adoption Tax Credit can benefit your family.

Birth Mother Blog

Support After My Adoption Journey

Support After My Adoption Journey

By Blessing E. Ikhimokpa

You’re looking for support after you’ve placed your birth child up for adoption. But you don’t know where to look. That’s okay. Some birth mothers find themselves lost after they’ve placed their birth child up for adoption. They don’t know what to do next. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we have counselors who can help you find your footing. All you need to do is ask, and you shall receive. 

What Adoption Support is Available to Me in Missouri?

Birth mothers can choose counseling, financial, and medical support. Whenever the birth mother needs counseling throughout the adoption process or after, it’s available to them. Counseling isn’t just for birth mothers. It’s for the birth fathers as well. Some people tend to forget about the birth father during the adoption process. So that’s why the counseling is catered towards both birth parents. 

If the birth mother or birth parents find themselves struggling with money. Depending on how much is allowed to give. Our agency will help them. Not every birth mother’s situation is the same. So we break down what is needed so we can help cater to them. 

Medical care is expensive, and not everyone can afford it. This is why we help birth mothers with their medical bills during pregnancy and birth. Our agency will cover any hospital bills that pop up. Throughout the pregnancy, the birth mother shouldn’t have anything that will cause them stress. 

Our agency is a private adoption service. Any information that is shared with us will not be posted online. For others to see. We’re here to help birth mothers with everyday tasks. They find themselves unable to do. 

Is Counseling Available After My Adoption Placement?

Counseling is available to birth mothers who:

  • Have just decided they want to place their child up for adoption
  • We are currently going through the adoption process
  • Have finalized the adoption papers and are going through the adoption placement

All in all, counseling is available to any birth mother who needs it. It’s available to the birth fathers as well. So if you’re pregnant and considering adoption, you’re eligible to receive counseling, whether it’s for what to do next. Or what your options are going forward.

Why Do I Feel Lost After My Adoption Placement?

Some birth mothers feel lost after their adoption placement because they look at adoption as “giving the child up.” Adoption isn’t “giving the child up.” It’s giving the birth child a better opportunity at life. 

Most of the time, birth mothers place their birth child up for adoption. It’s because it was an unplanned pregnancy. But they decided to keep the baby and place them up for adoption. 

Another factor is why some birth mothers feel lost. Is that their thinking about what the birth child will think of them? So it brings on some conflicting feelings of guilt and shame. Guilt because they think they’ve “given” the birth child up. While shame is surrounded by what they think the birth child will think of them. 

What Can I Do to Get My Mind Off of My Adoption Placement?

Ways to get your mind off the adoption placement are by:

  • Seeking out counseling/therapy
  • Going to support groups 
  • Traveling with friends or family, or by yourself
  • Yoga or meditating 

All ways that will get your mind off the adoption placement. While putting you at peace and ease at the same time. Suppose you’re looking for ways to get your mind off the adoption process. You can search for “adoption agencies near me” and talk to their agents.

What are the Different Kinds of Emotions Birth Mothers Go Through After the Adoption Placement?

With the adoption process and the adoption placement. Some birth mothers tend to feel:

  • Guilt
  • Sadness
  • Shame
  • Regret 

Without having the birth child in front of them. Some birth mothers tend to make up ideas in their heads. Of what the birth child is thinking of them. By not having the birth child with them, they’re thinking of the birth child:

  • Doesn’t think kindly of them
  • Doesn’t want to meet them
  • If given the opportunity, I won’t want to speak to them

Is Adoption the Last Time I’ll See My Birth Child?

When doing Adoption in Missouri, there are three different kinds of adoptions to choose from. In an open adoption, you want to keep in contact with the birth child. Have a relationship with the adoptive parent (s). So, they can inform you about the birth child. You’d like to be able to send them messages to have a relationship with them if this is something you’d like to do. Then you can choose open adoption. 

In an open adoption, birth mothers can share contact information with the adoptive parent (s). To keep in touch and have tabs on the birth child. But that’s not for everyone. Some birth mothers would rather the adoption agency handle any communication with the birth parent (s). If you don’t want to have a relationship with the adoptive parent (s). Or share contact information with them. Then you can choose semi-open adoption. 

You found yourself wanting the adoption agency to handle everything during the adoption process. When asked if you wanted to choose the adoptive parent (s), you said you’d rather the adoption agency choose for you. For example, having a relationship with the birth child after they’ve been adopted. If this is you, then you can choose a closed adoption.

If you’ve gone through the adoption process and are looking for support. Adoption Choices of Missouri serves birth parents statewide and beyond. Please call us or text us to learn more! Call us toll-free at 877-903-4488 or, in Missouri, call or text us at 816-527-9800