You won’t want to miss the Olivia and R Family 2nd annual LGBT Family & Friends vacation. This time Club Med’s Ixtapa Mexico Resort, rated the #1 family resort in Mexico by Trip Advisor, will be the destination! Everyone is invited: lesbian moms, gay dads, kids, grandparents, singles, couples, straight friends & family, and the entire LGBT community at this ALL-INCLUSIVE family resort. Kids are not required, but very welcome! All-inclusive means your accommodations, food, beverages (including alcohol), games, most activities, and special Olivia & R Family programming and entertainment are included in the price. You’re in for a special treat with the Kids’ Club, which provides all-day activities for children of all ages (we hear the kids have so much fun they can’t wait for the next day’s activities to begin). The wide-open beach is perfect for sunbathing while watching the kids boogie board, and you won’t go hungry with an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring Mexican specialties like handmade tacos and fresh tropical fruit. Best of all, the energy from the G.O.’s, Club Med’s enthusiastic staff, combined with the Olivia & R Family team creates a unique atmosphere and a very special vacation experience you won’t soon forget.

​Spend 8 days and 7 nights at the ALL-INCLUSIVE Club Med Ixtapa resort. Located on an untouched region of Mexico, sitting between the waves of the Pacific Ocean and the peaks of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the resort offers breathtaking ocean views and stunning sunsets. Enjoy cuisine from three delicious restaurants, relax at any of the three bars, swim in the ocean or in the centralized pool, plus pamper yourself at the spa. Club Med also offers a childcare program for children ages 4 months to 3 years (with an extra charge) and a customized program for children ages 4-17 will be available so they’ll always be entertained throughout the day with activities.

RaiseAChild families receive a $100 discount (per booking) with discount code RAC17. Additionally, a $100 donation will be made to RaiseAChild.

Book Now

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Por primera vez, el pasado 21 de junio, el Departamento de Niños y Familias del Condado de Los Angeles (DCFS) tuvo su junta de orientación para familias de habla Hispana que están buscando ser padres adoptivos y de crianza, en la oficina de RaiseAChild.  “¡Este evento en colaboración con la comunidad Latina fue todo un éxito! definitivamente está en nuestros planes invitar al condado y a las otras agencias con quienes nos asociamos, a que tengan sus orientaciones en español aquí en nuestra oficina,” dice Deyanira Contreras, Apoyo para Padres, Bilingüe.

Contamos con bastante estacionamiento gratuito y acceso fácil a las líneas Roja y Morada del Metro, por lo tanto, la ubicación de la oficina de RaiseAChild tiene sus ventajas. Pero hay razones mas significativas para la colaboración.  “Disfruto trabajar directamente con nuestras familias; asistirlos en el proceso de crianza y adopción,” explica Ivonne Crescioni, del Departamento de Niños y Familias. “RaiseAChild provee un apoyo adicional para ellos, de guía y amistad.”

Si estas interesado en saber cómo convertirte en padre adoptivo o de crianza, llama al (323) 417-1440 o visita www.ShareYourHeartLA.org

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Please note: The adoption tax credit is a one-time credit per child. If you have received your adoption tax credit for an adoption, you do not apply for an additional adoption tax credit in future years.

Since 2003, families who adopted a child with special needs from foster care could claim a federal adoption tax credit even if they had no adoption expenses. Children who receive adoption assistance/subsidy benefits are considered children with special needs. Other adoptive families are also eligible for the credit, but must have (and be able to document, if requested by the IRS) qualified adoption expenses.

The tax credit was refundable for 2010 and 2011, but not for 2012 or future years. A refundable tax credit is one you get back regardless of what you owe or paid in taxes for the year. When the credit is not refundable, you receive only what you have in federal income tax liability.

As of October 16, 2015, those who adopted in 2011 or earlier will not benefit.

The amount of the credit is based on the year the adoption finalized:

2017 $13,570
2016 $13,460
2015 $13,400
2014 $13,190
2013 $12,970
2012 $12,650

The credit is claimed one time for each adopted child with special needs. Below, we explain the basics of the adoption tax credit.

To be eligible for the credit, you must:

  • Have adopted a child other than a stepchild — Children who receive a monthly adoption subsidy payment have been determined by the state to have special needs, so these children are eligible for the full tax credit without documenting expenses. Families who adopted children without special needs are also eligible, but need to have (and be able to document, if asked) qualified adoption expenses.
  • And be within the income limits — How much of the credit you can claim is based on income. For 2015, families with a federal modified adjusted gross income above $241,010 cannot claim the credit; families with incomes above $201,010 can claim part credit. Anyone with incomes below the lower amount should be able to claim the full credit. (Adoptions from previous years had different income limits; 2016 income limits will be $241,920 and $201,920.)

If You Adopted in 2016

You will claim the credit when you file your 2016 taxes next year. Read our fact sheet for more information.

If You Adopted in 2015

You need to amend your 2015 taxes. Read our fact sheet for more information.

If You Adopted in 2014

You need to amend your 2014 taxes. Read our fact sheet for more information.

If You Adopted in 2013

You need to amend your 2013 taxes. Read our fact sheet for more information.

If You Adopted in 2012

Even though federal tax year 2012 is closed, you will need to amend your 2012 taxes in order to claim the adoption tax credit and determine what amount would carry forward to 2013. Any benefit you would have received with 2012 taxes you will lose. Read our fact sheet for more information.

If You Adopted in 2011 or earlier

The tax year 2011 is closed for everyone, even those who filed an extension on their 2011 taxes. So any adoptions that finalized in 2011 or earlier are no longer able to file for a refund

Below are links to a number of resources for adoptive families.

NACAC’s resources focus on adoptions of children with special needs from foster care, but may also be of use to other adoptive families.

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When Craig Peterson, now 57, became the first openly gay man in Indiana to adopt children through foster care in 1998, he knew there would be scrutiny and he was prepared. But he could never have imagined the journey he was about to embark on, the headlines he’d make, and the doors he would open for others. And most importantly, the role he would take on as an advocate of greater understanding and support for foster care children who may arrive into their adoptive homes with special needs and carry the weight of a traumatic past.

“It’s a journey,” Craig said. “That’s oftentimes the word that I use. I don’t know exactly what the path is gonna be and you’ve gotta be prepared for when something comes up. You just never know.”

Growing up in Montana, Craig’s parents taught him to see beyond what others looked like and to respect and appreciate their differences.

“That was a real part of my fabric growing up,” he said. “There was never any room for trash talk in our house, so I learned a lot of empathy.”

Continue reading The Path to Parenthood Led to Advocacy

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Photo by Marjorie Salvaterra

Meet Crystal a sweet, kind-hearted, intelligent girl who knows what she wants in life and a top priority for her is to have a forever family! Crystal is a well grounded young lady who can engage in a deep conversation, but is also light spirited and playful.

She likes to be active and is a sports lover by nature, she enjoys playing and watching any sport. Crystal’s favorite subjects in school are math and science and her dream is to one day become a veterinarian so that she could be surrounded by animals all day long! Her love for animals is obvious as her eyes lit up when she saw dogs at the photo shoot.

Although Crystal has been through a lot of grief and loss, her resiliency shines through and the hopes of having a forever family that can help her achieve her full potential!

Special thanks to the Children’s Action Network and the Heart Gallery LA for use of their photos. CAN uses the power of the entertainment community to increase awareness about children’s issues and to make them a top priority in everyday life.

If you’re interested in fostering Helen or other kids like her, please Contact Us.

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Jasmin, Josie, Jennifer and Emmanuel are very attached to one another and share an undeniable sibling bond.

Jasmin (2005) is very outgoing, has strong communication skills and can easily express herself. She is extremely personable and makes friends easily. In school, Jasmin performs well and has made average academic progress. She is strong-willed and is learning to follow instructions and with supportive services she is learning to manage her behaviors appropriately. Jasmin likes to play handball, hula hoop and jump rope. She also likes a competitive game of soccer. Jasmine’s love for nature is exhibited in the delight she receives from a nice walk or hike.

Josie (2007) is a very friendly, pleasant and kind kid. She plays nicely with her friends and gets along with others well. She is very talkative and will wow you with her broad vocabulary. Josie is quite artistic and loves to paint and color. She takes pride in her artwork and loves to have it on display. She also likes to read, tell jokes, dance and sing.

Jennifer (2010) is active, full of energy and can be very affectionate. She is very inquisitive and eager to learn new things. Jennifer is learning to trust others with information and at times can be quiet and reserved. However once she feels comfortable, she will easily engage. Jennifer loves to play with all kinds of toys and seems particularly attached to her stuffed animals.

Emmanuel (2012) is an active, happy and energetic little boy. Emmanuel is learning self-help skills and loves to do things independently. He is also learning to be a better listener and manage his feelings and emotions when things do not go his way. Although he has some delays in speech, he is eager to talk and is able to say three to four word sentences. Emmanuel loves to play with his toy cars, trucks, and balls and enjoys being outdoors! He also likes Sponge Bob and Thomas the Train.

If you’re interested in fostering Jasmin, Josie, Jennifer, and Emmanuel or other kids like them, please Contact Us.

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Photo by Anne Richardson-Daniel

Helen (2003) is a very sweet and loving little girl. Despite the losses she has experienced, she is determined and resilient. Helen is well behaved, outgoing and likes having fun with her friends. She also enjoys playing her violin and listening to music. Helen’s favorite singer is Ariana Grande and her favorite sport is basketball. She enjoys playing and watching a good game.

Helen attends middle school and recently completed 6th grade. Despite the new challenges that middle school has to offer, she enjoyed it and did well academically. Helen is benefiting from therapeutic services and has a very clear understanding of why she is in foster care. Helen wants a loving family that will nurture and provide her a safe and stable environment.

Special thanks to the Children’s Action Network and the Heart Gallery LA for use of their photos. CAN uses the power of the entertainment community to increase awareness about children’s issues and to make them a top priority in everyday life.

If you’re interested in fostering Helen or other kids like her, please Contact Us.

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In the backyard, Jackson is putting the finishing touches on his army fort made of sticks and leaves while his brother, Peyton, sits nearby flipping through his new favorite book. Dad keeps an eye on his kids through the kitchen window as he is preparing dinner. A typical evening in a suburban New Jersey town.

In 2017, each family is unique in its structure and its beginning, and for the Edge household, it all started on a spring day in Iowa in 2002. Daniel was in veterinary medical school in Ames and had just met a guy online, gone on a few dates, and soon he and A.J. began dreaming of their future together.

“During our first year of dating, a lot of our early conversations were about kids,” Daniel revealed. “We both had a desire to be Dads, and A.J. was pretty adamant about only wanting one child. But life often has other plans, and it is a pretty great story on how we became the parents of our two boys.”

That story really starts in 2005, when in anticipation for starting their family, A.J. legally changed his name and took Daniels’ last name, Edge. According to A.J., “It was four years before we could legally marry in Iowa, and we reasoned that when we adopted a child it would be easier if we all had the same name. That was the first step in our journey to become a family.” The two would eventually marry in 2009.

Continue reading These Two Dads Would, “do whatever it takes to build our family.”

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A letter from Southern California Grantmakers:

With racial, ethnic, religious, and political divisiveness rising across America, organizations across the country, prompted by an effort by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, are calling for a National Day of Healing on Tuesday, January 17. The goal is to spur efforts to heal the wounds created by racial and other biases and to build an equitable and just society in which all people thrive.

Building off of recent conversations at our Annual Conference and other programs, Southern California Grantmakers is proud to announce support for this effort and invite people to participate in whatever ways you choose—both on the day itself and in the days and months to follow.

10 Things You Can Do to Help Heal Southern California

  1. On January 17, join Community Coalition for an open forum with colleagues from a diverse group of organizations focused on racial healing. This conversation will take place 10:00 am to 11:30 am at 8101 S. Vermont Avenue.
  2. Get to know someone of a different racial, ethnic, or religious background. Ask them to share something about their history and culture and share something about yours.
  3. Start a thought provoking conversation or share inspiring resources through your social media posts with questions like “What does racial healing look like to you?” or “How can racial healing help our country become more vibrant?”. Post a short video addressing why racial healing is important to you. Use the hashtags #TRHT (Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation), #TheDayToHeal, and #DayOfRacialHealing.
  4. Recognize your own biases – we all have them! Try taking the Harvard Implicit Bias Test. Once you know your biases, you’ll be better equipped to resist stereotyping and look for the good in each person.
  5. Visit a local museum to explore the diversity around us. Check out the Annenberg Space for Photography’s IDENTITY exhibit (through 2/26) and lectures and exhibits at the Museum of Tolerance, Chinese American Museum, Japanese American National Museum, California African American Museum, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes; and the Dream Resource Center, among others.
  6. Watch a film about the impacts of racism and discrimination in our country and our modern world. Consider Hidden Figures, Defamation, Loving, 13th, Dreamer, A Better Life, He Named Me Malala, Breathin: The Eddy Zheng Story, Grab, Moonlight, The Case Against 8, and evenZootopia (to spark discussion with children). We also recommend reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario, Trustbuilding by Rob Corcoran.
  7. Explore how race and racism have shaped Southern California specifically. Consider reading Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s by Gerald Horne, The Changs Next Door to the Díazes: Remapping Race in Suburban California by Wendy Cheng, Mendez v. Westminster: School Desegregation and Mexican-American Rights by Philippa Strum, Southland by Nina Revoyr, and Twilight: Los Angeles ,1992 by Anna Deavere Smith. You can also attend a performance of the upcoming production of Zoot Suit at the Mark Taper Forum to experience the cultural and political context of Chicano life in 1940s.
  8. Be a tourist in your own community: visit some lesser known sites of local civil rights history with the alternative guidebook, A People’s Guide to Los Angeles by Laura Barraclough. You can also visit the Harada House in Riverside County.
  9. Think about the diversity within your neighborhood, workplace, local school, house of worship, etc., and initiate conversations about where and why there might be a lack of inclusion.
  10. Imagine what a healed Southern California community would look like and commit personally to work for racial healing and equity; volunteer with or support organizations that focus on healing and equity.

Our region is fortunate to have many groups committed to justice and reconciliation. Next Tuesday’s National Day of Healing, which follows the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and precedes the presidential inauguration, is an opportunity to broaden and deepen our personal and joint commitments, and begin our own journeys toward healing the wounds that divide us. You are encouraged to reach out to Southern California Grantmakers and share other resources and opportunities for community healing. SCG is committed to this endeavor and will continue to weave this critical issue into our ongoing programming and initiatives.

If there is one thing that I have learned from the tremendous power, wisdom, and caring of the SCG family, it’s the truth of these words from Maya Angelou: “When you do nothing you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

Thank you for taking the time to consider how you—together with your fellow SCG members and so many others nationwide—can help bring healing to our communities.


Christine Essel
President and CEO
Southern California Grantmakers

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Lontho is one of those people that everyone wants to be around. He is full of energy and optimism that fill any room he enters. Your initial impression of him is that he doesn’t have a care in the world and that life has been good for this young man of 18 years. As is most often the case, first impressions can be deceiving.

Born in Pennsylvania, as an infant Lontho went to live with his grandmother in Sierra Leone. Never fully bonding with his family or community in the African country, he returned to his birth family in Philadelphia as a young boy, only to face physical and emotional abuse. Shortly thereafter, he entered the foster care system where he was moved through numerous foster families, never truly feeling like he belonged anywhere.

The older he became, the less likely it would be for Lontho to join a permanent, forever family. But this teenager never lost hope in himself or his situation. He had recently confided in friends that he was gay, and even reached out to his birth parents to tell them. Lontho remembers they were not supportive, stating, “They definitely were not cool with it, and I think that if I had actually been living with them, they would have kicked me out.”

Continue reading Older Foster Youth Find Hope In Life Skills Program

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