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By Ruth Graham March 1, 2021

One of the country’s largest adoption and foster care agencies, Bethany Christian Services, announced on Monday that it would begin providing services to L.G.B.T.Q. parents nationwide effective immediately, a major inflection point in the fraught battle over many faith-based agencies’ longstanding opposition to working with same-sex couples. Bethany, a Michigan-based evangelical organization, announced the change in an email to about 1,500 staff members that was signed by Chris Palusky, the organization’s president and chief executive. “We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today,” Mr. Palusky wrote. “We’re taking an all hands on deck’ approach where all are welcome.”

The announcement is a significant departure for the 77-year-old organization, which is the largest Protestant adoption and foster agency in the United States. Bethany facilitated 3,406 foster placements and 1,123 adoptions in 2019, and has offices in 32 states. (The organization also works in refugee placement, and offers other services related to child and family welfare.) Previously, openly gay prospective foster and adoptive parents in most states were referred to other agencies. The decision comes amid a high-stakes cultural and legal battle that features questions about sexuality, religious freedom, parenthood, family structure and theology.


Adoption is a potent issue in both conservative Christian and gay communities. Faith-based agencies play a substantial role in placing children in new families. Meanwhile, more than 20 percent of same-sex couples with children have an adopted child, compared to 3 percent of straight couples, according to a 2016 report from the Williams Institute at U.C.L.A. School of Law. Gay couples are also significantly likelier to have a foster child.


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Updated: Jun 8

How often adoption is represented in movies and TV affects all adoptive families. The way adoption is seen by the general public determines how most people feel about the topic, especially those with no direct experience.

Horror movies that depict adopted children as evil or possessed by demons are obviously using the storyline to tell a very negative narrative. It's more comfortable for most parents to accept that an adoptive child could inherently be evil due to the fact that it wasn't their biological child and that has fueled the use of this narrative in horror movies for decades. Popular examples include: The Omen, Orphan.

Children's movies often depict adoptive parents as cruel and abusive. Sometimes the adoptive parents in this type of genre are direct or indirect family members. This storyline is intended to set up the main character for a happy ending but that happy ending rarely includes any reconciliation with the adoptive parents.

Popular examples include: Cinderella, Harry Potter.

There are rarely honest representations of adoption in the media. In general, I feel that the media needs to DO BETTER in their adaptation and usage of the adoption narrative.

The media uses this concept freely to add complex family stories and emotions to their programs but they don't think about how it affects our community when they exaggerate the negative or positive reality of adoption.

Personal Favorites: Big Daddy, The Blindside, Maleficent, The Secret Garden, This is Us.


Recommended reading:

http://www.adoptionlcsw.com


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Updated: Jun 8


Qualifying child example: We took our baby into our home last year in October. that means she lived with us less than 6 months of the year but she was born last year so under the IRS rules she is considered living with us for 6 months because it was the year of her birth.


Adoption Tax Problem #1 we don't know her birth name or SSN. to solve this problem we need to file form W7-A to the IRS to get a temporary SSN (ATIN) to claim her as a dependent on our taxes. This takes 4-8 weeks to process. Do this as soon as you bring your baby home!


2018- Your child does NOT qualify as a dependent with an ATIN because it is not a government SSN. Never mind if your child was born in this country and is already a US citizen. Your child is now an OTHER DEPENDENT and only qualifies for a $500 refund instead of the $2000 refund for children with SSN's. You CANNOT back-file with a 1040x after you obtain your child's SSN at a later time to claim the credit.

Thank the Trump administration for this one!


2017- Your child qualifies as a dependent with an ATIN. Claiming a child as dependent using an ATIN means that you reduce your taxable income by an additional standard deduction of $4050. ex: instead of reducing your AGI (taxable income) by 2x4050 for you and your husband, you will reduce by 3x4050. in our case this adds up to an actual savings of (approximately $1,000 in 2017)


DON'T FORGET: As soon as your adoption is final, you need to apply for a NEW SSN for your child. When you receive the SSN in the mail you can claim your child as a dependent on your federal taxes without being subjugated to any further penalty.

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