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Adoption Phone Conference

I had a phone conference with our lawyer, Tiffany Palmer, yesterday. She's absolutely fantastic. She explained all of the components necessary for completing Avery's adoption and some additional estate planning matters.

While we live in Bucks County, PA, we are planning to give birth in New Jersey. "Why?" you may ask. It's simple, really. Aside from the fact that we want to deliver in a brand new, state of the art, hospital with the highest ranked NICU, an adoption in our county would require a series of three home studies and an additional $2,000. If we cross the river, New Jersey recognizes our marriage certificate (from Massachusetts) and therefore does not require a home study. They treat it the same as a step parent adoption. I would be the sole petitioner and Meg would just need to sign off saying that she agrees to the adoption. Oh, and get this...Both Meg's name and my name will appear on Avery's birth certificate. Pretty smart, right?

All we need to do is supply a copy of our marriage certificate (already done), get fingerprinted, complete a child abuse background check and a criminal background check, and supply affidavits from the doctor who performed the IUI and from the California Cryobank (to certify that we used an anonymous donor and that no rights have to be relinquished) Oh, and pay A LOT of money ($2,200 flat fee plus $350 filing costs).

As far as the estate planning goes, Ms. Palmer encouraged us to obtain a Medical Power of Attorney (so that I can make medical decisions for Meg) and a Will (Meg will nominate me as Avery's guardian) Both of these documents cost extra, but will protect our family should something happen before the adoption is finalized.

We're going to do the will and power of attorney immediately, but we have 90 days from the day Avery is born to file the adoption papers in New Jersey. (After that, we would have to file in Bucks County)

One more thing...she told me about the adoption tax credit. Provided we file the adoption before the year 2013 (which we will), it is 100% refundable!


  1. The adoption tax credit is really nice. I just filed my taxes for the first time as a parent. We went through a crazy adoption of our little boy in small town Texas. Anyways, I was the one to claim him because I can claim head of household and will be getting all of our adoption expenses (attorney, court costs, travel expenses, etc.) back in my refund. This doesn't include the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit that I'll be getting in my refund. It is a huge refund and I can't wait to actually get the check! We live in Texas and we were not able to amend our son's birth certificate with both of our names. Only my girlfriend's name is on his birth cert, but both of our names are on his social and his name is hyphenated with both of our names on his birth certificate. I couldn't be on there as the other parent because it has to be a mother and father. Turds! You guys are smart with the NJ idea! And thanks for sharing the medical power of attorney idea, we need to do that.

  2. I'm happy for you two. Wish we had the same ability. We cannot adopt period in this state. Infact we are having to pay close to 2k just for paperwork to protect me...and protect each other.

  3. Brooke, that's awesome about the refund! I'm sure I'll be loving it this time next year!

    I know it stinks that your name can't go on the birth certificate, but after reading Tommy's post, I guess we should just be glad that we are able to go through with an adoption. It's crazy how different state laws can be!

    I'm so glad that you were able to take something useful away from this post. How old is your son?

    Tommy, I can't believe you can't adopt at all. That's crazy. Where do you live again? What protection does the $2,000 buy you? So scary. I know you probably get this a lot, but have you ever considered moving?

  4. Ar. They just overturned a law here that prohibited any single cohabitating couples from adopting - it was meant to keep gays from adopting. Like I said it was overturned but there is no second parent adoption here.

    The 2k buys us: Wills for her and I, power of attorney for her and I and for myself and Thatcher (this is Natalie), HIPPAA stuff, paperwork for me to be able to get Thatcher from school or take him to the dr, paperwork saying I will be a guardian, paperwork so that IF something ever happened between Tommie and I, we BOTH had legal and financial responsibilities to him. We want this to be as normal as possible, both to have the same rights and responsibilities that come with having a child - we just have to do it in legal paperwork instead of adoption.

  5. Wow! I can't believe that. I'm glad that you are at least able to secure all of those documents! It's just a shame that they make you jump through hurdles to do so.

    Oh, and sorry I spelled Tommie's name wrong up above! :-)

    Are you girls getting excited? When are you due again?

  6. AAAHH! We need to do this. Like, seriously. I keep doing the easy paperwork that isn't necessary and ignoring the important stuff. So nice that you can go to NJ and have the birth certificate done correctly! And Tommie/Natalie--that sucks. We talk about maybe moving one day, but that kind of stuff makes me feel like our options are really limited. :(

  7. You'll get it done. Just breathe! :-)


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