e-Memo for March 2004

Use of federal adoption tax credit and exclusion

Beginning in 2003, the maximum adoption federal tax credit increased to $10,160. Also, the available exclusion for income benefits under an employer’s adoption assistance program increased to $10,160. For more information on the Internal Revenue Code requirements for using the tax credit and exclusion provisions, follow the link below.

Download a copy of Publication 968.

Senate considers bill to clarify the meaning of “natural born citizen,” as used in Article II of the US Constitution

Senator Don Nickles, Senator Mary Landrieu, and Senator James Inhofe have co-sponsored S2128, The Natural Born Citizen Act, to clarify that the term “natural born Citizen,” as used in Article II of the United States Constitution, includes persons born outside the United States who are adopted by 18 years of age by a US citizen parent or parents who are otherwise eligible to transmit citizenship to a biological child pursuant to an act of Congress. Article II of the US Constitution states that only a “natural born Citizen” is eligible to be President. The Constitution also requires that a person reside in the United States for at least 14 years to be eligible for the office of the President. Read the bill by logging on, and entering S2128 as “Bill Number.”

For a link to the bill, begin by clicking here.

New Hampshire House takes up bill that would undermine option of privacy in adoption

The New Hampshire House Children and Family Law Committee will be considering SB335, a bill that would allow adult adopted persons to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate, without birthparent knowledge or consent. The law would be retroactive, impacting not only birthmothers who place a child for adoption in the future but also those to whom privacy had been promised in the past. Read NCFA’s written analysis of “How SB335 Harms Adoption.” A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 6, at 10:00AM. The Senate passed SB335 by a vote of 12 to 11, on March 11, 2004.

Click here to read the New Hampshire bill.

Click here to read NCFA's statement.

Massachusetts Safe Haven bill moves to Senate Ways and Means Committee

The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed H4325, its infant Safe Haven bill, on March 15, 2004. The bill is now with the Senate Ways and Means Committee. For enactment, the bill still must be debated and passed by the Senate. As written, parents who place an infant seven days or younger with a designated Safe Haven may use the law as an affirmative defense. Stronger Safe Haven laws provide immunity from prosecution. In addition to Massachusetts, Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Vermont have yet to enact Safe Haven laws.

Louisiana to debate confidential intermediary bill

Louisiana state representative Glenn Ansardi introduced HB372, a bill that would undermine confidentiality in adoption in Louisiana, and disrupt the lives of birthparents, adopted persons, and birth siblings. HB372 would put in place a system whereby, upon receipt of a request from an adopted person for a copy of the original birth certificate, or a request of an adopted person, birthparent, or birth sibling for contact with another party to the adoption, a confidential intermediary would contact the person who is the subject of the search about his or her willingness to release identifying information.

Click here to read HB372.

Louisiana’s state legislature convened on March 29. The bill has been assigned to the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee.

To learn more about the bill, click here.

NCFA Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program public service awareness campaign receives media recognition

NCFA’s Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program has been honored with three Silver Angel awards from Hollywood-based Excellence in Media. The awards were presented to the Program for its “Thanks for Considering Adoption” public service campaign that has been used by media outlets throughout the country. The annual awards honor works of outstanding moral, ethical, and/or social impact. The recipients of the Silver Angels are those in various forms of media that have successfully contributed to the advancement of quality in life without the use of violence, profanity, or sexual content.

State Department delegation meets with Vietnamese government about bilateral agreement on adoption

A delegation from the US State Department met with a Government of Vietnam delegation in Hanoi, Vietnam, on March 11-12, to discuss a draft instrument on intercountry adoption. Vietnamese legislation requires that Vietnam sign bilateral agreements on adoption in order to permit intercountry adoptions between Vietnam and another country. Vietnam has not signed the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The discussions concluded without reaching a final agreement.

Read the State Department’s formal update.

Departments of State and Homeland Security visit Cambodia to gather information on current state of adoption

The US Embassy announced on March 4, 2004, that a team of officials from the Departments of State and Homeland Security visited Phnom Penh, Cambodia in March to gather information on the current state of adoption there. The United States imposed a suspension on adoptions in December 2001, amid allegations of fraud in the Cambodian adoption process. According to the State Department notice, the March 2004 trip was a fact-finding mission.

Read the State Department notice by clicking here.

Portugal is the forty-third country to ratify the Hague Convention

On March 19, 2004, Portugal became the 43rd country to ratify the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption. The Convention will enter into force there on July 1, 2004. The Convention will enter into force in Uruguay on April 1, 2004, which ratified the instrument on December 3, 2003. The United States remains one of six countries that have signed but not ratified the Convention, the others being China, the Russian Federation, Ireland, Belgium, and Turkey. For a list of all countries that are parties to the Convention and their status with respect to implementation of the Hague Convention, follow the link below.

For Hague Convention information, click here.

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National Council For Adoption

225 N. Washington Street Alexandria, VA 22314

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