2011 was a big year in the adoption field in general and Adoption STAR specifically. With another year closing and a lot to look forward to in 2012, we thought we’d look back at some of the biggest adoption stories of 2011.
At Adoption STAR we were blessed to see the placement of two sets of twins in 2011. We also expanded our Internet presence in 2011, updating our website with a new agency blog and grew our Facebook and Twitter communities.
During “National Adoption Month” in November, Adoption STAR held many great events and seminars. These included our Annual Shining STAR Fundraiser, which supports our Special Needs Adoption Program and our Hair and Skin Care Class. We also held our Birth Mother’s Day party in May, our Adoptive Family Summer Picnic in August and Birth Family Holiday Party in December.
2011 was the year the media picked up on social media’s effects on adoption and adoption reunions.
Social Media can be a great tool in the adoption journey, however there are also challenges with having public profiles that anyone can view. In May, Adoption STAR released its official recommendations on how to have a “healthy and ongoing” relationship via social media as a birth parent, adoptive parent or adoptee.
The Adoption Tax Credit was also a big story in 2011. The Tax Credit for adoptions finalized by December 31, 2011 increased to a maximum of $13,360, and for the second consecutive year, was a refundable credit. This means if your credit is more then what you owe in taxes, you will receive the rest as a cash-back. This will change for adoptions finalized in 2012 as the credit maximum will reduce to $12,650 and become non-refundable.
The other part of the Adoption Tax Credit story in 2011 was the delay that several adoptive parents waited to receive their credit. Some of these delays were due to errors by the I.R.S., and in a recent post on the Adoption STAR blog we focused on LGBTQ couples who were incorrectly denied their tax credit.
2011 saw the continuation of a trend in the declining number of international adoptions in the US. According to a report by the US Department of State, only 9,320 children were adopted in the US from foreign countries, which was a 15 percent decrease from 2010. These numbers have been declining since 2004 when over 22,000 foreign children were adopted in the US. The drop in international adoptions correlates with the increase in scandalous and fraudulent behavior in several countries, including China, where there are several reports of child trafficking.
New York State’s most controversial legal decision in 2011 was its legalization of same sex marriages. However, this did not have a radical effect on LGBTQ adoptions in the state, because New York State already allowed both partners in a same-sex couple to adopt a child. The biggest legal action in NYS in 2011 regarding adoption, was allowing newlywed couples to adopt. This amendment reversed a law that prohibited married couples from adopting during their first year of marriage. The reasoning for the amendment was that applicants do not need to be married in order to adopt, so the law was restricting newlyweds who could have adopted if they remained unmarried.
- One of the biggest overall news stories of 2011 was the death of Apple Founder, Steve Jobs. During Jobs’ reign as CEO, Apple became one of the most innovative and popular companies in the world. Jobs was adopted at birth and his death led many people to think about the prospects of “nature vs. nurture” and what Jobs would have become if he had not been placed for adoption. Obviously, this is a question that will forever be unanswered, but it is an interesting topic nonetheless.
- What do you think were the biggest adoption news stories in 2011?
- Stay tuned for future posts on what to expect in 2012 or visit us online to view our 2012 calendar of events. and see how you can become more involved with adoption in the New Year!