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Important Federal Adoption Legislation

While adoption law is primarily state law, there are some issues before Congress which relate to adoption and which are of great importance.

The Adoption Tax Credit is in jeopardy.  The credit is an important incentive intended to faciliatate and encourage adoptions.  The Adoption Tax Credit for qualified adoption expenses paid to adopt an eligible child for 2014 is $13,190.00 per child.  There is an exclusion for employer-provided adoption assistance. The credit is nonrefundable, which means it is limited to the tax payor's tax liability for the year.  Efforts in Congress to accomplish comprehensive tax reform could eliminate the tax credit.  The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys is working with other adoption proponents to keep the credit in place.

Senator Mary Landrieu, who was defeated in her bid for reelection, was the primary sponsor in the Senate of legislation to create the National Responsible Fathers Registry.  Putative father registries exist in many states, including Virginia, and help to streamline the adoption process.  Establishing a nationwide registry would make this important trend universal and most importantly would minimize the possibility of birth fathers not receiving appropriate notice because they are in another state, and the birth mother or adoptive parents do not know where they are.

There is also an effort to pass legislation called the Children in Families First Act which is intended to address issues which have greatly decreased adoptions of foreign born children in the United States.  Prior to the United States entering the Hague Convention in 2008, adoptions of foreign born children in the US had reached a high of 22,991.  The number had dropped to 7,092 in 2013.

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