CCAI Releases Results of Survey on Intercountry Adoption

CCAI, working in collaboration with the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, the Center for Adoption Policy, Christian Alliance for Orphans, Equality for Adopted Children, Joint Council and the National Council for Adoption, just released the results of an online survey that asked U.S. Adoptive parents about their experiences working with the United States government during an intercountry adoption process. Results were received from 2,938 U.S. parents who adopted from 17 different countries.

Created in partnership with the above named organizations and circulated via email and listserv, CCAI administered and collected the results of the online sample survey that asked participants 37 multiple choice and five open-ended questions about their intercountry adoption experience, including the amount of time it took to complete their adoption process,  why individuals did not adopt from the country they originally intended to adopt from, how participants received updates from government and adoption agencies and the quality of communication with the U.S. Embassy.

Respondents provided specific recommendations to improve the experience working with the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the participant’s adopted child’s home country and the intercountry adoption experience in general. Among the main recommendations:

  • Strengthen the communication of updates to adoptive parents concerning their specific cases—increase the frequency, specificity, and honesty of communication.
  • Increase the efficiency of the adoption process, particularly for children with special needs.  Participants expressed concern over the extra time that their child spent in an institutionalized home due to the delays in finalizing the adoption.
  • Reshape the regulations regarding the issuance of children’s visas to ensure greater certainty and efficiency of receiving them prior to departure.
  • Treat birthmothers with the dignity and respect that they deserve.  Participants expressed concern over the interrogation practices used in birthmother interviews.
  • Consulate and Embassy staff should employ more courteous and sympathetic behavior in their interactions with adoptive parents.  They should also be informed of international adoption laws and updated on any changes that could impact the adoption process.

The full Survey Report is available at A summary of main themes that emerged in the open comments are included in Appendix A of the report.

How can the adoption tax credit help me?

Just recently CCAI released our inaugural ‘CCAI In Focus’ report on the Adoption Tax Credit.  While everyone was hastily working to click “submit” on the IRS website before 11:59pm on April 15th, we thought it would be a great idea to share some positive tax news.  The federal adoption tax credit has been around for some time, but considering there have been some changes, most recently by President Obama’s health care legislation, we wanted to clarify a misconceptions and raise considerations that still remain.

This report was written primarily to serve federal policymakers, but has also proven useful to the adoption community in informing adoptive parents and advocates about this adoption incentive.  The report includes the following information:

  1. a brief overview of the adoption tax credit
  2. a detailed legislative history
  3. policy considerations
  4. a list of adoption tax credit legislation that is currently pending on Congress

Despite that this credit has been around for 14 years, affordability of adoption continues to be an issue for some families.  Adoption Fees can range from $0-$2,500 for foster care adoptions, up to $25,000 for private domestic adoptions, and upwards of $40,000 for intercountry adoptions.  The below chart details data from a small sample of adoptive parents CCAI surveyed:

Responses from parents who attempted and/or completed an adoption
Responses from parents who attempted and/or completed an adoption

What is most shocking is that while the Adoption Tax Credit was initially created to encourage foster care adoptions, only 25% of all public adoptions took advantage of this incentive, whereas nearly all foreign adoptions were support by this credit.  Another interesting point is that families whose intercountry adoptions fail are not able to receive this tax credit, whereas all domestic adoptions–even if the adoption never finalizes–are able to receive this credit.

There are two main policy considerations that are a result of the new provisions in President Obama’s health care legislation that was signed into law last month.  This law 1) extends the Adoption Tax Credit through December 31, 2011, 2) increases the credit by $1,000 to $13,170, and 3) for the first time makes the tax credit refundable so that families who do not have tax liabilities will be able to take advantage of this incentive.  Please refer to the report for more detailed information, and stay tuned for additional CCAI In Focus reports on hot topics related to adoption and foster care.