Christian Family Adoptions Austin K. Vincent Attorney At Law - Logo

Licensed by the Kansas Supreme Court

Couple

We can assist you whether or not you have been matched with a possible adoption in starting and going through the adoption process.

Information for Adoptive Parents

Independent placement adoptions are direct, private, non-agency situations in which the birthparent/s decide to place a child for adoption directly with a chosen adoptive family. The parent may know and contact an adoptive family directly or obtain assistance in selecting the family. The primary distinction between agency and independent adoption is that in an independent adoption, the birthparent/s select and consent directly to the adoption by a particular couple rather than relinquish rights to an agency. The adoptive family will usually take custody of a newborn child directly from the hospital without intervening foster care. Some private placements are with other family members or acquaintances of the birthparents; however, most independent placements are with persons previously unknown to the birthparents.

What is an Independent or Private Placement Adoption?

This is an explanation of some of the more common facets of adoption in the State of Kansas. The information below does not constitute legal advice. For direction in a specific adoption or answers to your questions about adoption, you should contact an attorney who works in the adoption area.

Birthparents and potential adoptive families have numerous sources from which to start the process of independent adoption. These may include some doctors, attorneys, crisis pregnancy centers, social workers and often-times friends or "friends of friends" will become aware of an adoption situation.

How can one interested in private adoption get started?

The main difference is that legally, in an agency adoption the birthparent relinquishes her and/or his rights to the agency, which then stands in the place of those parent/s. The agency then has the final authority to place the child and eventually consent to the adoption. Otherwise, the process is much the same as in private adoption, including the need for termination of rights of any parent who does not consent and finalization with the court. Practically, most agencies in Kansas will give the birthparents a choice in the adoptive family just like in private adoptions.

 

Usually a couple adopting through an agency will come to the attorney when they have been notified by the agency that a child is available for adoption. The attorney is able to ensure that the legal requirements for adoption are or will be met in time for the placement. The attorney may need to terminate the rights of the father (Please see the discussion about "Contested Adoptions" under OTHER SERVICES).

How does an agency adoption differ?

There is no such thing under Kansas law as an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ adoption. However, openness in adoptions is quite common. Many years ago, adoptions were often more "closed." There would be no contact and only essential information shared between the parties to an adoption. Today, only a very few birthparents still desire to avoid all contact with the adoptive family.

 

Birthparents are taking more responsibility for their decisions and want to be sure that they are making the right one. Adoptive families are wanting more information about the birthparents to share with their child at an appropriate age. Personal contact following adoption is still less common, but certainly not unheard of.

 

Today the typical adoption involves one or more pre-placement face-to-face meetings during and after the selection process and usually at the hospital at the time of placement. Following placement, many birthparents want to have the option to request pictures and updates occasionally from the adoptive family, usually through the agency, attorney or other intermediary. Some like to write a letter to the child expressing their love for the child and the reason for the decision. Some birthparents do not desire any contact or communication after the adoption.

 

Contact or communication should never be forced, as an occasional birthparent simply does not wish to have any. However, if future communication is desired, there should be a clear under-standing before the placement of what is expected of the parties to avoid later misunderstandings. We always advise birthparents that promises to communicate generally cannot be legally enforced in court and, therefore, if there is any serious doubt whether she can trust the adoptive family to honor reasonable requests, she should not place with them. We also advise birthparents that adoptive parents are the legal parents and have the right and responsibility to do what is best for the child, not the birthparent. One great advantages of openness is the further development of trust between the parties, which fosters the emotional security of all involved.

What is the difference between an “open” and a “closed”

adoption?

Generally, a current home study (completed within the last year before filing) is required for finalization of all independent and agency adoptions except that the court may waive the home study if a relative is adopting the child. All home studies must meet the requirements of K.S.A. 59-2132 as amended.

In addition, regulations covering Kansas agency adoptions require additional post-placement reports be made.

Is an adoptive home study required in adoptions?

When a petition for adoption is filed, the attorney for the petitioners must file a signed accounting of all money that has or is expected to exchange hands in the adoption process. The law sets out the categories of payments that are allowed for an adoption. That list, includes:

 

a. Reasonable legal and professional fees, not to exceed the customary fees for similar services by professionals of equivalent experience and reputation as judged by Kansas standards;

b. Reasonable fees in the state of Kansas of a licensed child-placing agency;

c. Actual and necessary expenses, based on expenses in Kansas, incident to the placement;

d. Actual medical expenses of the mother attributable to the pregnancy and birth; and,

e. Actual medical expenses of the child.

What kinds of adoption expenses are allowed and should be expected?

Yes, with limitations. Under the same Kansas statute, an adoptive family may agree to provide reasonable living expenses of the mother that are incurred during or as a result of the pregnancy. Any funds paid beyond expenses related to the pregnancy could put the mother at risk for criminal liability.

 

For a birthparent to knowingly and intentionally receive or accept fees, expenses or money that is clearly excessive or is not covered by the categories in the statute is a felony.

 

For adoptive petitioners to knowingly fail to report all consideration or disbursements in their accounting is also a crime.

 

All financial requests should be given to the attorney for a determination of legality and so that those payments can be reported to and approved by the court. Usually, the expenses are paid directly to providers, such as landlords, healthcare and utility providers. Food is usually provided using a pre-paid card for the store.

May a mother legally receive assistance related to the

pregnancy?

The United States Congress has enacted legislation that allows a credit and exclusion from income. Starting in 2013, the maximum possible adoption credit and exclusion is $12,970 per child. For purposes of the tax credit, there is no limitation on the number of children you can adopt. The amount of the credit is supposed to increase to keep pace with inflation.

 

This is a tax credit, not a refund, so families can benefit only if they have federal income tax liability. You will not receive a check in the mail; rather, your income tax liability (not

withholding taxes) will be reduced by the amount of the credit allowed for "qualified adoption expenses." These expenses include reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging while away from home) and other expenses (1) which are incurred directly related to, and the principal purpose of which is for, the legal adoption of an eligible child by the taxpayer (2) which are not incurred in violation of State or Federal law or in carrying out any surrogate parenting arrangement, and (3) which are not for a step-parent adoption. The credit may also be available for actual expenditures for a failed adoption.

 

An eligible child must be under 18 years old, or be physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself. The adoption credit or exclusion cannot be taken for a child who is not a United States citizen or resident unless the adoption becomes final. A taxpayer also may be eligible to take an increased credit or exclusion for expenses related to the adoption of a child with special needs if the child otherwise meets the definition of qualifying child, is a United States citizen or resident and a state determines that the child cannot or should not be returned to his or her parent's home and probably will not be adopted unless assistance is provided.

 

In addition, for adoption expenses reimbursed by an employer, the new law excludes that reimbursement from taxable income. The above credit and exclusion may apply to a lesser extent or not at all for taxpayers with higher incomes.

 

PLEASE CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS

ABOUT THE ADOPTION TAX CREDIT

 

IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or in promoting, marketing, or recommending to any other party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

 

To apply for the credit, go to the website, (irs.gov) and search for “adoption tax credit.” If you do not have a Social Security number for your child at the time you file your return, you may quickly obtain an Adoption Tax Identification number on the same website.

Is there any tax benefit available for adoptions?

For certain "hard to place" children, upon application and approval, the Kansas Department of Children and Families may pay for one-time expenses of an agency adoption up to $2,000 and some children may be eligible for a medical card and other assistance. Some employers and the military may provide benefits to cover some of the cost of adoption. Finally, if the adoptive family has health insurance, there may be coverage for the child's birth expenses and, in some cases, the birthmother's.

 

Kansas sources we can recommend:

 

The 35KCampaign

35Kcampaign.org

35Kcampaign@gmail.com

 

Hand In Hand Christian Adoption

913-248-5015

handinhandadopt.org

 

Mighty Families by Adoption

www.MightyFamiliesbyAdoption.com

 

Other private sources for adoption expenses (without endorsement), including the following:

 

Kingdom Kids Adoption Ministry

1417 North Lincoln Street Spokane, WA 99201

(509) 465-3520

http://kingdomkidsadoption.org

 

National Adoption Foundation

5 Shelter Rock Rd

Danbury, CT 06810

(203) 791-3811

http://www.nafadopt.org

 

Topeka Community Foundation

(Building Families Fund)

5431 SW 29th St., Ste 300

Topeka, KS 66614

785-272-4804

www.topekacommunityfoundation.org

 

Gift of Adoption Fund

(847) 205-2784 ext. 403

http://www.giftofadoption.org/

 

Lifesong for Orphans

309-747-4527

www.lifesongfororphans.org

 

Other funding options (without endorsement) can be found at:

 

Adoptwithoutdebt.com

Benefits.adoption.com

Davethomasfoundation.org

Chancetoadopt.org

Helpusadopt.org

Abbafund.org

GlobalOrphanFoundation.org

Showhope.org

Angelfire.com

Fundraisingalmanac.com

Fundraising-idea.org

Are there public or private resources to help pay the expenses of an adoption?

In most cases a family may adopt a child who resides in another state; however, the placement is subject to a law called the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children. This law is designed to prevent trafficking of children across state lines for wrong purposes. Both the ‘sending state’ and the ‘receiving state’ must insure compliance with their respective state laws. Ignoring or violating the Compact may result in penalties or, in some cases, invalidation of the adoption.

 

While each state has its own requirements, the basic requirements are that the once the ‘sending state’ confirms its requirements have been met, the ‘receiving state’ (where the adoptive family lives) must approve a current home assessment and verify other documents before the child may enter that state. Therefore, if a potential adoptive family believes an interstate placement is possible, it is wise to get legal advice as soon as possible and to keep the home assessment updated.

 

The Kansas Interstate Compact Office in Topeka has traditionally been very responsive and cooperative. On the other hand, offices of some other states have requirements in addition to those of Kansas or have sometimes been less responsive than the Kansas office; therefore, it is important that the attorney determine what the other state will require early on in the process and follow those procedures carefully.

 

Generally, you may finalize in either the ‘sending state’ or the ‘receiving state’. This decision requires a comparison of the laws of both states. However, some states will require you to finalize in that state and a few may not allow a non-resident to finalize in that state.

Is it possible to adopt from another state?

There is no minimum time before an adoption filed in Kansas can be finalized; however, all legal requirements must still be met prior to finalization. In addition, some judges are uncomfortable finalizing immediately after a placement even if all requirements have been met. However, uncontested adoptions in Kansas are usually finalized in three to six weeks after placement, a much shorter period than most other states require.

When can the adoption be finalized?

During the period before the final hearing, if not previously signed, the father's consent or relinquishment is obtained or a petition to terminate his rights is filed and adjudicated. Notices of the hearing are sent to the consenting parents, unless waived by those parents. In addition, a home study update may be required before the final hearing.

 

Depending on the individual judge, the final hearing for an uncontested adoption usually involves questions concerning the adoptive couple's understanding of the consequences of adoption, their willingness to assume the full responsibilities inherent to parenthood and the finality of the adoption. The new legal name for the child is ordered by the court at finalization.

 

If the adoption is granted, an adoption decree is signed by the judge and a report of adoption is sent to the Office of Vital Statistics in Topeka or to the appropriate office in the state of birth, which will issue a new certificate listing the adoptive couple as the parents. In Kansas, the original birth certificate showing the natural mother will be sealed to all until the child turns 18 years of age. However, a birthparent may request and receive a copy of that birth certificate before the finalization of the adoption.

What must happen before and after finalization?

After the finalization, the adoptive parents must obtain a new birth certificate before applying for a Social Security number for the child. That process takes approximately four to six weeks in Kansas. However, if the child was born in another state, the process could take longer. Once the state of birth issues a birth certificate, the adoptive parents may take their adoption decree and birth certificate to the nearest Social Security Administration office to apply for the issuance of a number for their child.

What is needed for adoptive parents to obtain a Social Security number for their adopted child?

If you have questions, please call at

785-234-0022