Archive for the ‘adoption’ Category

Will Russians Adopt Russian Children?

It will be interesting to see if the Russian government comes up with a plan to replace the foreign adopters, but there likely won’t be one since a good number of children adopted by Americans were special needs kids.  These kids simply are not adopted or taken in by foster families because the Russian government doesn’t provide the financial support families would need to care for these kids.  Special needs kids will likely spend their lives bouncing from one orphanage to another.


The foster care system has improved a lot since its beginning in Russia.  As was pointed out, many foster families initially took in kids to get the financial incentives offered by the government, then they quickly returned the kids to the orphanages.  While that still occurs, it is less common than it once was.  The main reason kids are returned now is the fact that these families are ill-prepared to take care of a kid with the emotional issues that nearly every kid living in an orphanage has.  Most were abused by their parents, then they were shipped off to an orphanage.  Few foster parents have the experience and training to deal with the fallout from such things.  So, they feel overwhelmed, and they eventually send the kid back to the orphanage.  Americans who adopt these kids tend to have the financial resources to get additional help and services when problems occur.  Most foster families simply don’t have the financial resources or access to any support network.


But, there are some amazing foster parents out there.  I work with several during my summer program, and it truly is amazing how they’ve created real families for these kids.  The two I work with most often adopted 4 boys and the other adopted 6 boys and girls.  The kids call the foster parents grandma and grandpa since they are older, having raised their own biological kids.  All of the kids are thriving, but the parents do struggle financially because the kids’ needs exceed the limited amount the government provides, and the foster parents have limited incomes themselves.  In Russia, students are required to pay for all of their textbooks and other school supplies each year.  You can imagine the financial impact on foster parents who take in several kids.  Clothing is another issue.


I’ve directed more of our programs to focus on the foster families rather than just the orphanages over the past couple years because kids in foster families really do have a much better chance for a normal life, but those families do need more support than the government provides and they can provide themselves.  Hopefully other small charities will see the benefits of working with foster families rather than just focusing on capital projects at orphanages that would actually be financed in many cases by the Russian government (which has directed a substantial sum to improving the housing at orphanages, though many other needs still are underfunded).  A little additional assistance goes a very long way with foster families, and the results are immediate and tangible.  While small charities can only do so much, they can have a pretty dramatic impact on a couple families that have made the choice to take in kids and give them a real chance at a normal life.


My hope is that parents who have adopted from Russia don’t give up on the kids left behind despite the decisions made by the Russian government.  Many of us working to help these kids have seen donations reduced by folks who want to send a message to President Putin.  Unfortunately, it will only be the kids that receive that message.  Putin has no interest in what foreigners think of his policies.  The kids, the orphanage directors, the orphanage staffs, and the foster families really do appreciate everything that charities and individuals do for them, even more so when their government makes these decisions.  Hopefully things will change soon in regard to foreign adoptions, but until then, those kids still need our thoughts, our prayers, and our support.


Jody Payne

Director, Kostroma Kids Program

Ascent Russian Orphan Aid Foundation

Info sent by: Deborah Mumm, Everything For Adoption


Oh Happy Day!

Instead of asking the middle school class of kids what they did over summer vacation, my son’s teacher asked, ” What was the happiest day in your life?”  Good question.  This was bound to bring some interesting topics out of this bunch of 12 and 13 yr. olds. She was a bit surprised when my son decided to share his happiest day.

‘The happiest day of my life was when my family adopted me from Russia.  I am so happy to have a family.” Alex beamed while he told the teacher about how he used to live in an orphanage and how he waited for someone to come get him.  The teacher was a bit shocked that he was so willing to share this and emailed me about it. She added that he must really be happy to not be afraid to share this with a bunch of kids he really didn’t know very well yet.

I guess we talk about adoption openly in our home. We share with Alex how happy we are that we have him in our family.  I guess he is listening.

Oh happy day!

If only more kids waiting in orphanages could find families—

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach

When Love isn’t Enough

Almost 8 years ago we adopted an almost 11 yr. old girl and her 5 yr. old brother. They never told us in Russia about all the abuse our daughter had suffered for over 10 years. It came to haunt us 2 years ago.
We have tried everything. We sent her to Wilderness Therapy Camp followed by a year of intense therapy at a Therapeutic Boarding School. She was the model student there…picking up therapy and using it. She coached other girls while there. We had high hopes she would come home a different girl.
That didn’t happen. She came home 6 months ago and has been acting out since. (I won’t go into detail here all she has done as that really doesn’t matter.) She is a Senior in high school with only one semester left. This week she broke our family contract ( a contract with the simple rules of our home so she can benefit from all that we can give her). We had discussed with her that breaking the contract would mean moving out. She moved out on Wed.
I don’t think she truly understands how serious we are taking this. She texted me last night asking me to drive her to places to fill out job applications. I sent her the PACE bus schedule and told her that was no longer my responsibility.
This is TOUGH LOVE. And, I hate it. My four sons make loving them easy. They weren’t perfect, but they listened to us…and we always moved on. I love helping my kids and this is really hard not helping her anymore. Part of me wants to help her, but I realize we have put in 8 years of hard work with her and she is not trying to help us or herself.
I am a bit sad this warm spring day thinking of people at high school graduations, watching their kids go to prom…all those fun things I loved when my boys were at that age. I guess we will never see how those times are different with a girl.
We have put all our time, effort and most of our money into saving our daughter. It has been exhausting. The one thing I am still afraid of is knowing that she needs to hit bottom to realize how much she has with us as a family…and even though she is off living with her boyfriends family…broke, dropped out of school…and I don’t think she has hit bottom yet. I hope I am wrong. I am dreading that.  She is a strong willed girl and I know she can do a lot of wonderful things with her life if she tries. All I ask is that you help our family and our daughter by praying for us.

Deborah Mumm

International Adoption Yahoo Groups

Adopted Internationally? Or thinking of International Adoption?
Here are some online Yahoo groups worth checking into….

International Adoption Yahoo Groups
There are State based International Adoption yahoo groups for all 50 states
+ DC. These groups are a terrific way to find more parents who live near
you, to discuss therapists, pediatrician advice, re-adoption issues, state
law regarding adoption, learn about local USCIS timelines, form playgroups,






























New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota







West Virginia



Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption

Trauma and the Adopted Child

Whether adopted from birth or later in life, all adopted children have experienced some degree of trauma. Trauma is any stressful event which is prolonged, overwhelming, or unpredictable. Though we are familiar with events impacting children such as abuse, neglect, and domestic violence, until recently, the full impact of trauma on adopted children has not been understood.

Here is a great article on what Science is now showing us with trauma and children….

Trauma and the Adopted Child

In closing, never forget that you are a great parent. During times of stress you wont always feel like it, but both you and your child were meant to be together. Your child will teach you far more about yourself than you may have ever realized without him. Give yourself time to refuel, connect, and communicate. And finally, a secure parental relationship is the single greatest gift you can give your child. When the parental relationship is secure this will permit the child a foundation to grow from.

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach

Adopt from Which Country Poll

Take this poll so we can see where our readers wish they could adopt from. Click on it and a survey will pop up. Thanks.

Which country would you adopt a child from (if you could)?


Deborah Mumm
Everything for Adoption

Adoption Tax Credit Awareness Day 2/13/12

We are asking everyone in the adoption community to take part in the first grassroots Adoption Tax Credit Awareness Day. Unfortunately, many adoptive families are still not aware that this tax credit exists. It is our goal to help ensure that all adoptive families who are eligible to receive this benefit are informed about how to claim the credit.

We are asking everyone, including professionals, advocates, state agencies, families, and others to help broadcast the existence of the adoption tax credit on one given day—February 13. You can either copy this text into an e-mail or print flier you share with others or download a flier to distribute.

Save the Date: Plan now to be part of the Adoption Tax Credit Awareness Day on Monday, February 13, 2012—a national effort highlighting the federal tax credit available to adoptive families.

Play Your Part: Join with adoption organizations, state agencies, adoptive families, advocates, and other interested parties to raise visibility of the adoption tax credit. Help spread the word collectively, through website postings, e-mail blasts, newsletters, social media, and other informational outlets, so eligible families that may not be aware of this benefit can be sure to access the credit. Families who adopted as far back as 2005 may still benefit if they haven’t already. Be sure to include non-internet based strategies since some adoptive families do not have access to the internet.

The Facts:
• Since 2003, families who adopted a U.S. child with special needs from foster care could claim a federal adoption tax credit even if they had no adoption expenses (as long as their income was below the fairly generous income requirements).
• Children who receive adoption assistance/subsidy benefits are considered children with special needs. Even families who receive a deferred subsidy ($0 per month but medical coverage through the subsidy program) are eligible.
• All adoptive families (except those who adopted a step-child) are eligible for the credit, but those who adopt children other than those with special needs must have—and be able to document, if requested by the IRS—qualified adoption expenses.
• For 2010 and 2011 the credit was made refundable. If parents who adopted as long ago as 2005 had credit to carry forward into 2010, that amount of the credit also became refundable. In 2010 and 2011, parents can claim the credit even if they don’t have income or any tax liability.
The amount of the credit for 2011 is $13,360 per child.

The Information:
• NACAC Tools & Resources:
• IRS Form 8839 Instructions:
• IRS Form 8839:
• IRS adoption tax credit FAQs:,,id=231663,00.html
• Voice for Adoption’s distributable postcard:

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption