Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What About the Tax Credit?

One question I get a lot from folks considering adoption is, "what about the adoption tax credit?"  Well, the Christian Alliance for Orphans announced that the IRS issued guidance today on the current tax credit available for your 2010 return.  You can read CAO's article here, outlining some of the confusion and benefits of the current tax law.  Among the highlights of the Affordable Care Act, according to the article:

1)  The amount of the credit is up to $13,170.
2)  The credit is refundable.  This means that even if you don't have a tax obligation for the 2010 tax year, if you are otherwise eligible with eligible adoption expenses, you may still get the money back.
3)  Eligible creditable expenses include reasonable and necessary expenses of a legal adoption, including adoption fees, court costs, attorney's fees and travel.

Fine print:  I was not able to find the new guidance bulletin myself on the IRS site.  So I don't know exactly what it says.  I am not a tax attorney or tax professional, and nothing in this site should be construed as legal advice.  Please consult your tax professional of choice for advice in how you should make the most of available tax credits.  I know I will.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

We Yard Sold

We had our first yard sale on Saturday.  I'm not the yard sale type.  But as I stood outside Saturday morning getting an irregular sunburn with strangers in my driveway perusing mine and others' pre-loved goods, I thought that I might could be a yard sale type.  Because I think that being an adoption type is requiring that I should be a yard sale type.  I mean, people were coming to my house to take away stuff no one else wants, and they were paying me for it.  Really.

We knew we'd have to have a yard sale soon.  On the list of ways to raise adoption cash fast, yard selling (saleing?) is high up.  So when we received an email from our neighborhood association on Tuesday of last week that they were advertising for a huge neighborhood-wide yard sale, Curt and I decided via IM that we'd host a yard sale four days later.  Incidentally, this was perfect for me, because I'm the last-minute sort anyway, and any advance time would have been spent agonizing that I wasn't doing anything to prepare.  Because I do have a few other things on my plate.

So, the word went out on Tuesday afternoon.  And y'all gave!  By my count, 16 families donated their wares for our yard sale in a few short days.  And the Lord worked in those few days to encourage us that we are on the right track and have not yet thwarted His plan for our lives.  (I know.  We can't do that.)

But when our list of family woes grew exponentially in number and severity in the months since we decided to adopt, I confess that it has given me pause sometimes.  That's exactly what the Enemy of adoption and the author of fatherlessness wants.  But last week, our Champion showed Himself faithful to our family through the encouragement of our friends, the blessing of family, the gifts of generous folks who don't even know us and a joy that comes from obedience.

My mom swooped in unsolicited to help out for a few days and came bearing groceries and diapers, bless her heart!  Strangers called offering their yard sale donations.  Friends brought pizza and fed and watched our boys while we spent our date night making yard sale pick-ups.  We were offered items to auction off and sell (news of this in coming posts).  My dear friend Dana and her family came to our rescue, and Dana walked me through the yard sale.  She was here for everything.  She was at my house before 7am after staying late the night before.  That's a friend.  She also educated me about the book on Cake Wrecks.  I laughed so hard I cried.  She's also doing a half marathon next weekend.  Seriously.

The yard sale itself was even an encouragement to me.  We had been given quite a few large items by my dear friend Eli who wears amazing earrings.  Among her donations, a darling crib.  The crib caught the eye of another Summitteer preparing to open her home to our city's fatherless.  Do you see the sweet circle of blessings here?  One friend gives a fine piece of no longer needed furniture to another (me) who sells it at a great price to yet another opening her home to children in need.  And I loved that I had friends there supporting us.  Bless your hearts, friends!

And all this while our T-shirt sales continue.  We've got some crew L and XL and youth M & L left, by the way.

So, there's the update.  We decided on a moment's notice to have a yard sale.  People gave generously, and we raised just over $600.  Not bad for a few days' work.  Thanks folks!  We're that much closer to submitting a mountain of paperwork to our adoption agency.  We'd love to be able to do that at the end of six weeks, when our passports are expected to arrive.  At that point, it would be great if we had the money ready, so that we can turn in the next set of paperwork.  We're needing and expecting big things from the Lord in the next few weeks.

Please join us in praying for the completion of our application process, so that we can move on to the home study without delay.  Thanks folks for coming back here and for following our story.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Update-free Update

I wish I had time to write an update on all the encouraging ways things are coming together for us this week, but I don't.  I hope to update very soon with how we're coming closer each week to being able to submit a mountain of documents along with a sizable check to our adoption agency so that we can move on to our home study.

For now, we'd love for you to pray with us that our very first yard sale (ever in the history of our little family) will be successful tomorrow.  Thanks to those who have been donating for this impromptu event and who have encouraged us.

We're blessed.


Friday, September 3, 2010

A Milestone

As we head into the weekend, I want to share a message about how hopeful and encouraged we are.  Thank you, friends, for helping us hit an exciting milestone this past week:  $1000 in donations and T-shirt sales (and pickles, too)!  We actually passed $1000 at our small group, where yet another of our small group faithful donated for a shirt.

We're seeing God move in encouraging ways.  People in our community are noticing, and remembering, our shirts.  Perfect strangers are learning about the needs of orphans, they are supporting us in bringing home our baby, and most importantly, they are hearing and sharing the gospel.  The Lord has expanded our circle and helped us spread the Good News and that He cares for orphans.

I get chills when I think about a friend from our small group who was asked by the librarian last week whether she had been at that library the day before.  She had not, but the librarian remarked that she had seen that same T-shirt (our T-shirt!) worn there the day before.  Thank you, friends for supporting us.  For WEARING the shirts, and for sharing our exciting story.

This past Sunday morning at church, as I was updating a friend on recent events in the life of our family, I realized she had not heard we're adopting.  She mentioned that she had just seen a cute little girl walk by with an amazing adoption T-shirt that she had to have.  (It was the same little girl whose mom sported our tee at the library this past week, friends from our small group.)  The result?  Two more shirts sold and that much closer to bringing home our baby girl.  My generous friend with a huge heart for children and adoption herself, and her amazing daughter, reached into their pockets after church to support and join with us.  Thank you, friends!

Needing God to provide far more for us than He normally does to cover the cost of this adoption is humbling.  We are looking at raising around $30,000.  What a huge, impossible number for us, but so very easy for the Giver of all good gifts.  Receiving your gifts is such a blessing and an answer to our prayers.  Know that we appreciate you and praise God for how He is working for our family's good through the generous gifts of our friends and family.

So just know that when you support us and wear the shirts, people notice.  I'd love for those of you who have already received them to send in pictures of you or your family in our shirt.  I'll put together a little album here on the blog, with your permission, and share our shirts around town (or around the world).  And stay tuned for more exciting ways to partner with us in the coming months.

You can send your pictures to: whereourhopeis @ (take out the space).

With a grateful and encouraged heart,