Monday, April 15, 2013
Do me a HUGE favor and contact your local Senators & Congress members urging them to make the Adoption Tax Credit permanent!
The awesome people at Save The Adoption Tax Credit have written the sample letter below (go ahead and just copy and paste it). I filled in my personal story in red. This is very important to families, like mine, who are hoping to adopt or who have already adopted. The tax credit, as it currently sits, doesn't do us much good. Please, please, help out!
(Find your Senators athttp://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm. Find your Representatives at http://www.house.gov/representatives/.)
Dear Senator ______ or Representative _________,
Thank you for making the Adoption Tax Credit permanent! When Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, it made the adoption tax credit permanent; as a result it helped children find forever families. The credit makes adoption a more viable option for parents who might not otherwise be able to afford adoption, allowing them to provide children with loving families. With more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care available for adoption, and countless millions of orphaned and abandoned children around the world, the continuation of the Adoption Tax Credit is vital to providing love, safety, and permanency to children.
We are so grateful for your support of the Adoption Tax Credit, but more must be done. The Adoption Tax Credit was made permanent, but it lost a key provision when it was renewed – it is no longer refundable. This is devastating to many low and middle-income adoptive parents. One-third of all adopted children live in families with annual household incomes at or below 200% of the poverty level, meaning many do not have a tax liability and cannot utilize a non-refundable tax credit. Nationally nearly half (46%) of families adopting from foster care are at or below 200% of poverty the level. A refundable Adoption Tax Credit makes an enormous difference in terms of which families are able to claim the credit. Many parents who provide loving homes to waiting children cannot use the non-refundable adoption tax credit at all – and these are among those who need it most.
We urge you to reinstate the refundable provision, which was in place in 2010 and 2011, so that all adopted children have the ability to benefit. It will encourage adoptions, particularly from foster care, and that will help ensure children have the permanent, loving family they need.
We have been waiting for a match with a birthmother for our domestic adoption for 1 year. We are a low-middle income family. My husband is a graphic designer and I stay at home with my 2 year old son. I am unable to bear more children. In 2011 I had cervical cancer and had to have a hysterectomy, 4 months after birthing my son. We are very excited to adopt and cannot wait until a birthmother chooses us to parent her child! However, with domestic adoptions averaging $30,000, this is a huge blow to our bank account. After our adoption, we will have little to no savings account. We realize that a child is more precious to us than money, and we will slowly rebuild our bank account. With the adoption tax credit being non-refundable ,as it now is, we will be able to claim $500 for 5 years for a total refund of around $2,500. It will definitely help, but it's a small dent in the bill! If the adoption tax credit were once again refundable, we would receive a refund of around $13,000. What a huge help that would be! We would once again have financial security and could start college funds for our children. We could even use the money towards another adoption, building the large family I've always dreamed of!
Please work with your colleagues this year to reinstate the refundable provision of the adoption tax credit – to ensure that children waiting to be adopted have the ability to thrive in a family of their own.
Monday, April 1, 2013
I've been seriously craving chocolate cake for almost 2 months. I needed a reason to make one, so I've been patiently waiting for Easter. And here it is...FINALLY...my scrumptious chocolate Easter cake! It was by far the best one I've ever made!
(original recipe found at delectabledeliciousness)
Scrumptious Chocolate Cake
1/3/4 C Flour
2 C Sugar
3/4 Cocoa Powder
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
1 C Buttermilk
1/2 C Vegetable Oil
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 C Freshly Brewed Coffee
1 - Preheat oven 350
- Butter & flour two 8 or 9 inch round pans
2 - Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, & salt. Set aside
3 - Mix buttermilk, oil, eggs, & vanilla
- Slowly add dry ingredients
- Slowly add coffee just until combined
4 - Bake 35-40 mins
1 C Butter (softened)
3 C Powder Sugar
1/2 C Cocoa Powder
1 TB Vanilla
3 TB Milk
- Cream butter until smooth
- Add remaining ingredients (add more powdered sugar for thicker & more milk for thinner)
So, are you wondering what this chocolate cake has to do with Easter? Haha, me too! Hmm...well, besides my cravings for a chocolate cake, and Easter being the nearest approaching holiday...We did make a big meal & had family over, so it seemed like the perfect dessert. From now on, I think it will be my traditional Easter cake. Besides, every celebration needs a cake, right?!
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Saturday, March 30, 2013
This morning we took Willie to his first Easter egg hunt! We walked downtown to the park, where there were lots of kids and lots of "hidden" eggs. By hidden, I mean they were just sitting on the grass, haha. Anyway, there was a special section for kids age 3 and under. Willie knew exactly what he was supposed to do, and was patiently waiting for the countdown!
Needless to say, Willie was very proud and protective (what 2 yr old isn't!?) of his eggs. When we got home he opened all the eggs, took out all the candy (ate more than he should have) and carried it around in his lunch box...All. Day.
He had to have his candy on the pillow next to him when he took a nap. Brad and I removed it while he was sleeping, and put it away for a while. The first thing he said when he woke up was, "where candy go?!", and subsequently started crying. He was obsessed! So, thank you Easter Bunny, because the rest of our Saturday was a complete disaster...ruled by the lunchbox full of candy and a hysterical-sugar-high 2 year old. Maybe next year the town should consider filling the eggs with baby carrots. ;)
Friday, March 29, 2013
Today is Good Friday. I woke up to this sunny, beautiful morning!
But, I didn't sleep well last night. I haven't all week. I've been doing a lot of thinking, praying, stressing, praying, thinking. On Wednesday afternoon, we received the results from my 3 month check up with the gyn/oncologist. The tests I had on Tuesday revealed some abnormal cells. The nurse stressed, "don't worry, it's not cancer"... they're just abnormal. The oncologist wants to see me again in 3 weeks.
My initial reaction was: of course, it's happening again, here we go. Ever since my initial cancer diagnoses 2 years ago, I've been waiting for this bad news. I have had good results every 3 months for 2 years. Every time it seems almost too good to be true. Could this nightmare really be over? A thing of the past? But then here's that pessimistic whisper in the back of my head, saying, just wait for it. It will come back to haunt you.
My second reaction was to lay on the kitchen floor and cry. I can't do this again, not again. It's going to ruin all our plans. This is it, this is my story, the end of me. I was finally beginning to feel like I could breathe again, and now this. Back to square one...I just can't...
But, I have to get up. How? Willie just woke up from his nap, he needs me. How? I can't even move. I've got to stand up. I've go to live my life. How?
Like a zombie? That's what I felt like Wednesday. I got up and I went through the motions. My mind was everywhere else...from my best case scenario to my worst case scenario and everything in between. Worrying, stressing, crying. Wondering about the Hows. And then I opened my email.
There in a daily devotional, was my answer. I can do this through Christ. That's How. We can do all things through Him, who gives us strength. I must surrender myself. Like really, really do it this time. Finally, do it. It's easy to say "I've surrendered". It's even easier to have the intentions of surrendering...down the road...when I'm not trying to get done what I want to get done in this life first. But, now here it is...looking right back at me. Saying, this is the answer, this is the time. It's not on our terms.
And, that's the hard part. It's not on our terms. It's on God's terms. Does that mean everything will be ok? Essentially, yes, that's exactly what it means. But...on my terms...everything being ok means that I'm healthy, that our family grows, and that this family remains together and that we are all healthy and safe. So, is this what God has in store for me and for us? I don't know. Here is where faith steps in....or should I say barges in. When a regular afternoon turns into sobbing on the kitchen floor, there's only one thing that can help you get back up. Faith. Faith in knowing that everything will be ok. It will. In the end, everything will fall into place and work perfectly. This may mean I get sick again, it may mean any number of other diseases or worldly disasters. But, there is a plan. And, I have faith in that.
There was a little prayer in this devotional email from Wednesday. After I read it, it's all I could think about. I need to surrender my life to God. For real this time. If it is His will, let me be healed...but if not, then I am part of a bigger plan, and I am ok with that. This little idea (or huge really) had me laying awake at night. It's a hard thing to think about and a hard thing to say out loud. But, the idea of saying it...or praying it...made me feel at peace...not so worried about the future. Because, in the end, it will be ok.
The devotional said:
“Father, if this problem, pain, sickness, or circumstance is needed to fulfill your purpose and glory in my life or in another’s life, please don’t take it away!"
Wow. I get it. I've been praying and begging all this time, "heal me, heal me, heal me". But, there's so much more than that! It shot straight to my core, I finally get it. So, I carried this prayer around in my pocket for 3 days. Literally. I left the email open on my phone and looked at it from time to time. The original message was about Jesus and the great sacrifice on the cross. Even though Jesus got scared, in the end, He gave himself for us. And, that's the most important lesson of all.
So, on this beautiful morning, I did it. I spent my time on my knees, as the warm sunshine fell in through the window, while Willie slept peacefully in bed and Brad was on his way to work. God and I had a little chat. And, I'm not gonna say that I'm not scared and that I don't wonder what the future holds, what I will find out from the oncologist in 3 weeks. But, I will say that I'm ok. I'm really ok now.
(The original devotional can be found here at PurposeDriven)