A network of adoptive families, birth families, and adoption professionals which exists to improve the lives of children and others touched by adoption through support and education. UFA is actively engaged in community outreach and advocacy to raise awareness of adoption as a loving option.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Matching Mondays ~ Sweet Brothers Hoping for a Family.

Jadien age 5 and Kadien age 4 are brothers who hope to stay together forever in a loving family.
Helpful and active are the two words that best describe Jadien! His energetic personality has the ability to put a smile on the face of others and bring laughter to his little brother, Kadien. He channels his energy and uses it to play sports like soccer or to go on bike rides and spend his time outdoors. He enjoys participating in other activities with children his age.

Jadien would benefit from an academically supportive family as he begins his schooling career.
Kadien is a very happy and lovable child! He is active and enjoys playing with his brother and children his age. He gets along well with others and likes being outside riding bikes and also enjoys coloring. Being a pleasant child makes it easy for him to get along with children and adults. When he is not outside he likes to watch TV and play video games as well as play with action figures and engage in other games with the people around him!

Jadien and Kadien are attending counseling, which would need to continue after placement. These endearing kids are looking for a family who is patient and will show them lots of love and keep them together. Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related services.
For Utah children, only home studied families from all states are encouraged to inquire.

 You can inquire about these children by clicking on their names above to go to their profile page or you can contact The Utah Adoption Exchange by calling:  801.265.0444

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

UFA Special Announcement: Job Opportunity


United For Adoption is growing and we are looking for a website developer/designer who can us tweak our website to meet our expanding needs.
Please contact us if you are interested in working for us.
unitedforadoption@gmail.com

Refundable Tax Credit Needed....find out why.

A Refundable Adoption Tax Credit
*Information taken from NCFA
What is the need?
The adoption tax credit, which can be claimed for eligible adoption-related expenses, has helped offset the high cost of adoption since the credit was established in 1997. The credit has made adoption a more viable option for many parents who might not otherwise have been able to afford adoptions, allowing them to provide children with loving, permanent families. Unfortunately, many low to moderate income families – who need it the most –do not benefit from the adoption tax credit because it is no longer a refundable tax credit as it was in 2010 and 2011.
What is the law now?
In January of 2013, we celebrated that Congress made the adoption tax credit a permanent part of the tax code, showing their commitment to supporting adoption and permanency for children. In 2010 and 2011 the credit was made refundable, allowing families to receive the full benefit of the credit regardless of their tax liability. However, refundability was not continued after 2011. Without refundability, otherwise eligible families with low to moderate incomes and accordingly low to moderate tax liability receive little or no benefit from the adoption tax credit. These are the very families who may need this support the most.
What does refundable mean?
A non-refundable credit is one in which taxpayers receive a refund of federal income taxes, but only up to the amount of taxes they otherwise had due. A refundable credit is one that a person can receive regardless of their tax liability.It is treated as a payment so the family can receive the benefit regardless of the amount of their tax liability in that year.
What will solve the problem?
The Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act, S. 1056 and H.R. 2144, if passed, would make the adoption tax credit refundable.Restoring refundability to the adoption tax credit would ensure that low to moderate income families will receive the full benefit of the adoption tax credit. Refundability will help allow more willing families to bring children to the permanent, nurturing families they need and deserve. This one-time tax credit actually offers government cost savings in many cases. For example, providing this one-time credit to adoptive families is much less expensive than the high annual costs of maintaining a child in need of a family in foster care.
Who will this change help?
Making the adoption tax credit refundable will help:
• Children in need of permanent homes will find their way more quickly to adoptive families.
• Adoptive parents, particularly those with low to moderate incomes, will bear less financial burden when expanding their families through adoption.
Resources
• Save the Adoption Tax Credit: www.adoptiontaxcredit.org
• Adoption Advocate #21 Tax Benefits for Adoption: The Adoption Tax Credit:
https://www.adoptioncouncil.org/images/stories/documents/ncfa_adoption_advocate_no21.pdf
• North American Council On Adoptable Children, Federal Adoption Tax Credit:
http://www.nacac.org/taxcredit/taxcredit.html
For more information contact: Megan Lindsey, Director of Public Policy & Education
National Council For Adoption
mlindsey@adoptioncouncil.org
703-299-6633

Visit NCFA to find out what YOU can do to help make the Adoption Tax Credit Refundable.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Matching Mondays ~ Darling Brothers Hoping for a Family.


Jeremy J.
Jeremy
Jeremy is described as being bright and likes to be social! He also loves playing games with his brother and just laughing and having a good time! He likes to read (Percy Jackson is his favorite author) and be active. His favorite thing to watch on TV is sports.

In third grade, he enjoys school and does his best with his schoolwork! He benefits from counseling, which will need to continue after placement.
Jakob
This loving and caring kiddo thrives on being with others. Jakob loves to play at the park with his brother! He is intelligent and is very good at following directions. When he is not outside he likes to be inside playing video games or watching cartoons!

Jakob is currently in the first grade and would benefit from an academically supportive family. He also benefits from counseling, which will need to continue after placement. 

 These brothers are in need of a loving and supportive home. If your family is interested in these, we urge you to inquire. Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related services.

For Utah children, only home studied families from all states are encouraged to inquire.

 You can inquire about these children by clicking on their names above to go to their profile page or you can contact The Utah Adoption Exchange by calling:  801.265.0444

Friday, September 20, 2013

Important Legislation that needs OUR Attention and Action.

The Children in Families First Act of 2013 is game-changing legislation that will refocus the United States Government on the critical work of ensuring that all children grow up in families and better aligns the right Federal agencies toward achieving this objective.  Leaders in international children’s services will explain the Children in Families First Act of 2013, why it is important and how you can help.
*Information taken from NCFA.

Enlisting Your Support:
The Children in Families First Act of 2013
Join us for a Webinar on September 24th
Register Now
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/188337433

You can learn more about Children in Families FIRST by going here.
You can read NCFA's post about this legislation by going here.



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Why Aren't You a Foster Parent?" Series: Post 1 of 3.



Today we welcome our newest UFA Blog team member.
Here name is Laurieann Thorpe.
We are so excited to have her on our committee and look forward to many more "tell it like it is" posts from her!
We share her bio below and you can also find out more about her by visiting her blog at openbookopenheart.com

~
Something strange happens whenever I tell people I am a foster parent.  The words must get all mixed up because what they hear is, “Why aren’t you a foster parent?”  I know because what usually follows is an explanation about why whomever I am speaking with could never, ever be a foster parent.

Well, since I never asked, let’s talk about the real reasons you won’t. 

1 - “I could never give up a child I love – especially when it means giving them back to their no-good, dirty, rotten, stinking, biological parents.”

2 - “Children in foster care pose a threat to the children already in my home.”

3 - “People just do foster care for the money.”

I’m about to get very wordy so how about if we do this in three posts, one per reason?  Let’s focus on concern #1 today.

The very best parents are those who put their child’s needs ahead of their own.  Parenting is a crash course in selflessness.  You can TOO love a child and let them go.  Chances are pretty good you’ll get to do that whether or not you ever foster a child.  Instead of thinking about what you don’t think you can do, think about what a child really needs.  When you parent that way, you’d never keep a child away from someone they love even if you’d miss them, even if it is sad.

Let’s talk about those dirty, rotten, stinking parents.  First, if you are child-centered parenting, you would never think that way about a child’s parents because it would be a tremendous disservice to the child.  Second, yes, they have made serious mistakes to have their children removed from their home but if they are getting them back, it means they chose their child over whatever demon they are fighting and the State thinks they are winning the fight.  It is something to celebrate, not disdain.  The real tragedy is when the demons win, when parents can no longer make their children their priority because they are in over their heads with something else that is winning.

When that happens and when the child is old enough to understand, you will see that tragedy in their eyes.  They will know their parents weren’t strong enough to fight for them.  That is where the real sad belongs.  Your sadness when they return home is a sadness built around your love for and missing of them.  It is a good sad, a sad that is happy, not heartbreaking.   

For one second, take a deep breath and be glad you don’t have to be the real judge of whether or not someone has done enough bad that their children should be removed from their home.  Be glad you don’t have to be the real judge of whether or not someone has done enough good to earn the return of their children.  Be glad that job belongs to someone else, and let them have it.

You have the warm blanket job, the job that means you get to wrap a child in the warm blanket of your arms, stuff them to the gills with your love, and then throw them back into the deep end where the swimming will be easier for the knowledge that a warm blanket exists.  Now that’s a job you want isn’t it?

Opening your heart and home to children, knowing it may only be for a while, is not beyond your capacity.  I promise.

Stay tuned for my take on concerns 2 and 3.

Laurieann Thorpe loves other people’s children.  She has worked professionally in child welfare, overseeing education programs for children in foster care.  She and her husband David adopted their oldest son through a private agency when he was two days old.  Later, they became foster parents.  Some children have bounced into and out of their home.  Others have come to stay.  They will adopt a two-year-old little boy this year and anticipate his little sister will join their family any day. 

Laurieann is a passionate adoption and foster care advocate.  She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and has a unique perspective, having worked in child welfare for many years.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Matching Mondays: Featuring Sibling Group of FIVE!



Today we are featuring a sibling group of five.
Please take a moment and learn about each of these darling children.   Please share this post with your friends online! 
Happy and fun-loving Danny loves spending time with his siblings and friends. Jumping at any chance he gets to help others, Danny is a great listener and is quick to make friends. This funny and self-confident young man also relishes playing Pokemon and munching on candy. Danny always tries his best and works hard until any task is done. Danny is attending the fifth grade and is doing very well in school. This quick-learner enjoys his class and is very smart.
 

Nathaniel age 9.
Quick to follow directions or pull his nearest companion into a fun game, Nathaniel is one compassionate and caring kiddo. His happy, playful and friendly nature make sure that he is always surrounded by family, friends and playmates. Creative and outgoing, Nathaniel enjoys playing Pokemon and eating pizza, hamburgers and spaghetti. He describes himself as crazy and fun, and many others agree!
Nathaniel is attending the fourth grade and is doing very well. His teacher says he is a smart, quick kid who loves to learn!

Tristan age 7.
Outgoing and active, Tristan can get even the most stoic person moving and laughing! With his loving and social nature, Tristan enjoys playing and interacting with others. When he’s not hopping or moving around on his own, this great guy loves taking a ride on anything with wheels! He enjoys playing Bey Blades and Pokemon, and his favorite foods are hamburgers, pizza, and smores.
Tristan is attending the second grade and would benefit from an academically supportive environment. He currently benefits from an IEP (Individualized Education Plan).


Alisha age 5.
Sweet and outgoing, Alisha shows love and affection for everyone she meets! With a smile always on her face and a willingness to help out in any situation, Alisha maintains her role as a peacekeeper. She has a great talent for making friends and is incredibly creative, inventive and smart. This young lass loves to sing and count, and her favorite aspect of herself is her smile. Alisha is extremely excited to attend kindergarten! She would benefit from an academically supportive household.


Jamie age 2.
Jamie is a sweet, loving toddler who enjoys independent play as well as interacting with others. An early girly-girl, Jamie loves shoes and playing with baby dolls. This snugly little girl has an adorable smile and an infectious giggle. She has shown great interest in playing games on any electronic within reach.
Jamie isn’t in school yet, but this smart little one is very interested in learning games!

Alisha and Jamie are attending counseling, which would need to continue after placement. These loving kids are looking for a forever family who is patient and will show them lots of love and keep them and their three older brothers together.

You can inquire about these children by clicking on their names above to go to their profile page or you can contact The Utah Adoption Exchange by calling:  801.265.0444

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Foster Parenting: One Mom's View.

Herron Family
I read a book once where a foster mom states that most of being a foster parent is doing extra laundry and cooking. Ha! Not in this day and age. Being a foster parent in this day and age requires training, patience, education, love and a ton of energy to just plugging along.

We went into foster care like most of you: wanting to help kids and family. We have two girls, surely we can handle a few more kiddos right – what’s a little more laundry?

Well, it turned out that it’s not just about putting supper on the table and washing underpants. You are a non-trusted parent, an emotional coach, therapist, peacemaker, life coach and more.

We spent several weekends doing respite care for a sibling group of four, all under the age of 5. What sounded like a long-term babysitting job turned into a 72 hour marathon of feeding, wiping, chaperoning, containing and calming. Giving a caring foster family time to re-group was an uplifting feeling and good goal.

But after two hours, I remembered about the real-life, down-and-dirty hard work of parenting children that have no idea about: home rules, regular eating patterns, socializing or sleeping all night,

It’s not to say that it isn’t worth it. It is a worthy work. And if you are even considering being a foster parent, you know the call and feel the urge to help those who are at a low point in their lives. Good foster parenting is desperately needed. Diligent and caring foster parents will always be in demand.

It’s not about playing with happy children and creating strong bonds. It is about saying ‘no’ and then being willing to stand up and enforce the house rule. It’s about getting up six times with a scared child that can’t tell you what is wrong and what would help. It’s about doing a job that you know is not recognized but is vital to a family, to our community and our nation.

There is more laundry. There is way more cooking and planning. But there is also a feeling that can’t be duplicated. That is sort of addictive. That lets you know your sacrifice is making a difference.

Wash on. Nurture on. Know your work really is making the world better for others.  

Post Written by:  Ann Herron

Monday, September 9, 2013

Matching Mondays ~ LDS Family Needed!

Darling Freyja age 9 is hoping for a family.
Freyja, an adventurous young girl , is always up for trying new things! She is a fan of sports and enjoys playing soccer and basketball. She loves anything outdoors including camping, hiking, and especially fishing! Freyja enjoys playing in the water either outside or at a water park. She is passionate about animals and aspires to become a veterinarian one day! Most importantly, this sweet kiddo wants a family to call her own and would like to be baptized in the LDS church.
A third grader this year, Freyja is a making positive strides and progress in school. She benefits from counseling, which will need to continue after placement.

This outgoing sweetheart is anxiously awaiting a loving and permanent home. If your family can offer Freyja the caring and supportive environment that she needs, we urge you to inquire. Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related services.

For Utah children, only home studied families from all states are encouraged to inquire.
You can inquire about Freyja by clicking on her name above to go to her profile page or you can contact The Utah Adoption Exchange by calling:  801.265.0444

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Foster Fathers: Helping to maintain a healthy relationship.

father & son          As I write this, my wife and I are adjusting to nine children, all living in our home.  The addition of three more children from foster care, as well as my three biological and three adoptive children, makes for a crowded, busy, and often times, noisy home.  The ages of the children are 16, 13, 13, 12, 10, 7, 6, 3, and 1.  To be sure, there is not a dull moment in my house, and my wife and I are having to truly work together, as a team, in order to ensure that no child feels left out, that all children feel important, loved, and heard.  Indeed, as a foster father, there are of responsibilities and expectations that I have on my plate if I wish to be a successful foster dad.  One of these responsibilities is ensuring that my wife does not become “burned out,” or too exhausted.

                Being a foster parent is a difficult task; perhaps one of the hardest things you will ever do.  The hours are long, the emotional toils are burdensome, the housework never ends, and the point of complete exhaustion seems to always be around the next corner.  Strong foster fathers appreciate this, and recognize that if his family is to remain intact, healthy, and strong, he must take steps to see that his own wife/partner has not reached that stage of exhaustion.  Indeed, a foster dad is one who places his marriage as a priority.  If not, the family will no longer be able to function as a foster family.  For me, the partnership with my wife is essential in so many ways, and I would not be a good foster parent if not for her. 

            Although it may be difficult to schedule, foster dads need to try and have a Date Night with their spouse on a regular basis. I understand that this can be quite difficult, and I struggle to do this, as well.  Yet, whether this is once every two weeks once a month, or a similar example, spouses need to have time alone to re-charge their foster batteries, have time to talk without the constant interruption of children, and simply to re-connect with each other and listen to the wishes and frustrations each has.  If the partnership is to remain healthy, and the foster family a stable one, foster dads need to communicate daily with their spouse, if only for five minutes a day.  Anniversaries, birthdays, and other important dates should not be forgotten by the foster father, as this usually leads2 to some heavy apologizing afterwards.   Indeed, foster dads should make a commitment to their marriage and make time for it each day in some way.  Express appreciation for all the work your partner does.  Maintain a positive sense of humor.  Learn the fine art of compromise; practice forgiveness and learn to fight fair.  These are all practices a healthy foster father should employ.  Remember, there should be no shame in seeing a marriage counselor with your spouse.  Sometimes, a listening ear and a helpful word can aid in creating a healthier marriage.  There may be times when your spouse simply needs a break from the demands of being a foster parent.  A strong and wise foster father is one who allows the foster to spend some time by herself, or with her friends.  Shopping, a trip to the movie theatre, out to dinner with friends, or just some personal time by herself are necessary for her own well being.

            To be sure, your role as a foster father is an important one, and one that should not be taken lightly.  We are all an example for not just this child in need, but for his biological family members, our friends and colleagues, members of our community that we live in, and those in our own household.   As noted before, you may be the first and only positive male role model the child has ever had, and maybe the only one in his lifetime.  As foster dads, we need to step up and embrace this responsibility and not leave it to our wives and partners.

Dr. John DeGarmo has been a foster parent for 11 years, now, and he and his wife have had over 40 children come through their home.   He is a speaker and trainer on many topics about the foster care system, and travels around the nation delivering passionate, dynamic, energetic, and informative presentations.  Dr. DeGarmo is the author of Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Story, and the new book The Foster Parenting Manual: A Practical Guide to Creating a Loving, Safe and Stable Home.  He also writes for a number of publications and newsletters, both here in the United States, and overseas.  Dr. DeGarmo can be contacted at drjohndegarmo@gmail, through his Facebook page, Dr. John DeGarmo, or at his website, www.drejohndegarmo.com.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Matching Mondays ~ Sweet 2 year old boy needs a forever family!

Orion age 2 needs a loving family!
Let's help him shall we??!!!
Please share Orion's information and profile page with others!
Orion is a sweet little guy that is always on the move! Happy, loving, and active, he is a joy to be around. Orion thrives on spending time with others—adults and peers. This cute kiddo loves to cuddle and is always smiling!

Orion is a quick learner and has learned how to walk with the assistance of his walker. It is not expected that Orion will live independently as an adult, but he can have a wonderful future! He benefits from physical, speech and occupational therapy, which will need to continue after placement.

If you can offer Orion with the stability and love he needs, we urge you to inquire. Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related services.
For Utah children, only homestudied families from all states are encouraged to inquire.

You can inquire about Orion by clicking on his name above to go to his profile page or you can contact The Utah Adoption Exchange by calling:  801.265.0444

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