National Adoption Month 2022

Written by Judy Sartain

Many people believe that adoption is a difficult, rare, and expensive process. For some families, this is true. However, adoption can be and is affordable for most families due to the many financial incentives intended to increase the number of adoptions and give children a permanent, loving home.

UNICEF estimates that 163 million children worldwide need an adoptive home. There are approximately 407,000 children in the United States who are waiting for an adoptive home. And in Georgia, there are 11,438 children available for adoption. These numbers don’t count the newborns who are placed for adoption, either through agency, independent, or relative placements.

The federal government and the state of Georgia offer financial incentives to make adoption more affordable. The Federal income tax credit (not a deduction) for 2022 is $14,890. This tax credit offsets qualified adoption-related expenses, defined as reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses which are directly related to the legal adoption of the child. The exceptions are expenses incurred through an illegal surrogate arrangement, a stepparent adoption, or those reimbursed via an employer program or otherwise.

Additionally, Georgia offers financial assistance for those who adopt through the state foster care system. In March 2021, House Bill 114 was passed benefiting families with children adopted who were previously in foster care with DFCS. In the past, Georgia has provided a $2,000 tax credit (not a deduction) per child per year until the child turned 18. The new law increases this amount to $6,000 for the first five years following adoption. Georgia also offers college assistance for those children adopted through foster care in Georgia.

Increasingly, adoption agencies locate mothers who are facing an untimely pregnancy and require financial assistance during their pregnancy and immediately after giving birth. These birth mothers also desire to have a decision-making ability in choosing with whom their baby is ultimately placed.

Many hopeful adoptive parents create physical books or an online presence in an attempt to reach a birth mother who is facing that untimely pregnancy. Oftentimes, infants are placed through “friends of friends of friends” who have been kind enough to spread the word about an available placement for a baby soon to be born.

There are still children available to adopt internationally. Although Russia is now closed to US adoptions, many countries welcome American families to adopt. I caution everyone who considers an international adoption to work with a reputable agency so that their adoption, which may be finalized in the foreign country, is recognized and legal in the US and their adopted children will be eligible for US citizenship.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, which placed the responsibility back on the individual states to decide about abortion, there may be more infants available for adoption in the US. In Georgia alone, more than 10,000 children remain waiting, some for years, for an adoptive home with a family.

These include children whose parents have had their rights terminated. Teenagers who have languished “in the system” are just as deserving of a loving adoptive home as a newborn. Those empty-nesters who have raised children should consider adopting a teen in foster care. This can be both challenging and rewarding.

National Adoption month is November, with National Adoption Day being November 19th this year. Many counties across the country celebrate the day by finalizing adoptions and inviting adoptive families to bring their children, regardless of age, to the celebration held in their county.

For the first year, I am pleased to announce that Hall and Dawson counties, through the Northeastern Judicial Circuit, are celebrating National Adoption Day on November 16th beginning at 3:30 in the Hall County Courthouse hosted and sponsored by Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor. My team will be there along with other adoption attorneys in the neighborhood to celebrate the wonder of adoption. If you are an adoptive family living in our area, no matter where or when your adoption was finalized, please join us for the celebration! You may RSVP at or by calling 770-426-1148.

Celebrate adoption because I’m certain that YOUR family has been touched by adoption through the years and is better for it!