To mark National Foster Care Awareness Month in this RaiseAChild “Let Love Define Family®” series installment for Huffington Post Queer Voices, contributing writer Danielle Lescure shares the story of one family’s path to parenthood.

“It’s all in the timing,” as the saying goes. For Anna and Monique Barvir-Boone of Orange County, California timing was indeed everything in the creation of their family and could not have been more perfect, even when it seemed otherwise.

“I look back at how painful it was when we lost our first placement, but if we hadn’t met and parented her that little bit of time we wouldn’t have known her social worker,” Anna shared. “Her social worker wouldn’t have gotten to know us and realized the kind of parents we would be. And we wouldn’t have gotten Willow. So it turned out that our baby was out there, we just had to wait and be ready for her.” Continue reading Persistence Made Perfect For These Moms

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Fulfilling her heart’s desire to create a family was a personal odyssey for Natasha King, 46, of Saskatchewan, Canada. In this RaiseAChild “Let Love Define Family®” series installment for Huffington Post Queer Voices, contributing writer, Danielle Lescure shares Natasha’s very personal story of a 20-year trek that led to a 10-month-old girl finding a loving home in her arms.

“I found the daughter of my soul in foster care,” Natasha King admitted. “Adoption is a beautiful process that contains both joy and grief. My hope is that by openly celebrating our family’s intentional journey-into-being, my daughter will have the pride and foundation that can pull her through any challenge.” Continue reading This Lesbian Mom Shares An Amazing Story About Her Journey To Creating Her Family

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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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Foster Parent Self-Assessment Quiz

Whether you are an older adult or a younger adult, single, or married, a working or a stay-at-home-parent, a home owner or renter, adoption or foster care may be a good option for you. The questionnaire below will help you determine if foster or adopting is the best choice for you now. If you answer Yes to the statements below, you are ready to begin the process of becoming a foster/adoptive parent.

I am 21 years old or older
Foster/adoptive parents must be 21 years old or older; single or legally married and must have a valid driver’s license (you may be divorced or widowed).

Am I in good health?
Being a parent can be demanding. You must be healthy and emotionally stable to care for foster/adoptive children. All those living in your home must have a health statement completed by a physician showing that you are free of communicable diseases.

My home is safe
During the home study, a safety inspection of your home will be conducted. You must have working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher.

I am open to working with children who have moderate behaviors
Many children have experienced trauma and loss and can react by running away, stealing, lying, or with physical and verbal aggression.

I am open to working with biological families
Typically, foster-to-adopt children have visits with their biological siblings, biological parents, and relatives. Sometimes foster parents may need to supervise visits.

I have not had a case of child abuse or neglect
All potential foster/adoptive parents are required to submit to background checks prior to certification including other states where an applicant has resided.

I have adequate income
You do not have to be wealthy to become a foster/adoptive parent. However, you must have enough income to meet your own family’s needs and be able to demonstrate that you can financially support an additional child for up to 6 weeks without financial reimbursement. During the certification process you will be asked to provide proof of income and to review family expenses.

I am able to attend training
Foster/adoptive parents must complete training and all required paper work. Parents must commit to continuing training and workshops. Additional training is important to making the relationship a success.

No adult in my home has been convicted of a crime
If you or any adult living in your home has been convicted of certain criminal offenses, you cannot become a foster/adoptive parent. Each adult member in your household over age 18 will be fingerprinted.

I am ready to begin a home study now
You are ready to begin the home study if your life and home are stable. “Stable” means that you are not about to move and are not having financial, marital or emotional difficulties or making any major life changes in the near future.

Who can I talk to about the next steps?
You can contact us at 323-417-1440 or email us to find out about becoming a foster parent.

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When husbands Robert and Tony, (pictured above in photo by chrisjamesmedia.com), began researching their family building options, they quickly began to feel a little overwhelmed by all of their options. In addition, the men had their concerns about whether they would even be welcomed to build a family. Then a friend suggested they consider fostering to adopt and put them touch with The Village Family Services, a RaiseAChild partner agency located on North Hollywood.

“The Village Family Services staff made us feel very comfortable from the very beginning,” explained Robert. “The agency had no issues with us being a gay couple and we trusted them with making the biggest decision of our lives.” According to Tony, “It would be difficult to imagine going through the family building process any other way. The best part is there is no cost for their services, but the rewards have been tremendous.”

Cristina Bostanian-Quezada, Adoptions Program Manager at The Village Family Services explained, “Our goal is to meet the critical needs of children throughout Southern California. There are over 13,000 children in our foster care system that are waiting for a forever family. Our job is to assist in creating families to nurture and heal these kids.”

Continue reading Preconceived Notions Disappeared for these Foster Parents

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Friends,

Many have been blessed with loving parents in their lives. Some have been luckier than others and have had more time to share, learn and grow under their parents’ wings. Others, like me, lost our parents earlier than we had hoped, but still were given the gift of feeling unconditionally loved and cherished by our parents as children. I had shoulders to cry on, teachers to explain school (and life) to me and cheerleaders to pick me up when I fell. Losing my mom when I was just 15 years old was not easy, but I feel lucky to have shared more than 700 Sundays of family time and at least 500 Saturdays of soccer with her. Losing my dad when I was just 27 years old was also not easy, but I feel lucky to have shared more than 600 Wednesday night tutoring sessions and at least 500 Friday evening walks with our dog, Shasta.

Sadly, there are so many children in Los Angeles who do not know what the aforementioned feels like. It is for them that I have decided to serve on the Board of Directors of RaiseAChild, a foster care and adoption organization that helps young people find loving parents, as Co-Chair.

I also have decided to run the LA Marathon on March 19th in honor of my parents and the extraordinary people – extended family and close friends – who have watched over me since I lost my parents and meaningfully contributed to the person I have become. I have committed to raising $5,000 for Raise A Child by race day so that other young people in LA can have people to thank when they find a place to call home.

I hope you will contribute on the RaiseAChild website today. Please put my name in the tribute box so I can share my appreciation.

Thank you so much for your love and support – today and always,
Julie Munjack
RaiseAChild Board of Directors, Co-Chair

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Now in its’ fifth year, HONORS is our largest fundraising event of the year. Held at the quaint and historic Jim Henson Company Lot on Saturday, June 10th, our gala has been called the most inspiring event of the season and features celebrity guests, food, mixology, entertainment and exciting auctions.

Several sponsorship options are still available, download the RAC HONORS 2017 Sponsorship Packet for more information.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!

 

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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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