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Category Archives: Adoption

Mingling Tears and Joy #VBS #DRC #RDC

Shouting for Joy

My youngest son, our wide-eyed Congolese-American son, worries when I cry at church or another event. He doesn’t quite get the crying for joy, crying for relief, crying with praise. This came to mind because I was reading:

And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid” [after years of exile in Babylon] “Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sounds of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away. (Ezra 3:11b-13)

On any given Sunday the loud (at our church) praise songs are going up while also there are those that weep.

How can I describe my joy, my thanksgiving when we brought our sons home from Africa. They were orphans no more. They are my children, those God brought to us as surely as any birthed child.

Yet there are many others living without in Congo. Without parents, or without daily food, or without education to rise above their circumstances. My son does not remember his times of weeping in a metal shack or on the mud street in front of it. My husband and I knew our work in Congo was not done. God gave me a great friend with a vision to help and serve her people, to lay a new foundation on the edge of a city with almost a million people. A city where there are no summer programs for children except what we offer through our education project. A city where at the end of this summer 160+ children will have the opportunity to sing and shout for joy during 2 weeks of Vacation Bible School.

I join my dear friend and our Congo team weeping both for what is not and for what is, for the children without and for those with. We shout for joy in praise. We pray for God’s provision as $2150 in donations has come for our Congo VBS, as another $2000 has been pledged toward our $7000 budget that includes renting a site, transporting our volunteers, a small breakfast and lunch for our 160 kids, and more. Perhaps you know someone who could help, someone known to weep for problems in our world, someone who wants to make a difference in the foundation and project we are building at Future Hope Africa knowing that

Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting (Psalm 126:5)

Please share our crowdfundraising info with people you know who care.

–Kristin

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Shocked by Life Insurance Offer

When my husband handed me the mail, he mentioned that he signed up to receive info about life insurance. Since he retired from the Army, his military coverage is going by the wayside. We do have some life insurance for both of us, but considering university costs for four children might be down the road, we were thinking of a term policy to cover that time.

I opened the large envelope and stilled–staring at the information page. “Monthly rates as low as $2.17 per month for Children’s Life Insurance.” Four age brackets were listed; 0-7, 8-15, 16-21, 22-25. Policy amounts listed as $5K, $10K, $15K, $20K, $25.

I couldn’t take it in really. My head was saying $5,000 might not cover a funeral. But a funeral for one of my children. Losing one of them, the thought of preparing for a possible loss is repugnant. Holding the paper in my hands turns my stomach.

Yet, so many people face the loss of a child. My thoughts ran rampant from the St. Jude’s solicitations in the post to the loss of my little cousin back before I had children of my own.Watching The Fault in Our Stars with my eldest son over school break.The 12 year old at our church killed in a car accident before Christmas.

I just cannot imagine.

Should we consider insuring our children? The advice my father, a man who spent his career in the insurance industry, gave when I first chose between full automobile coverage and liability-only was “You only insure what you can’t afford to lose.” What I can’t afford to lose?

Most insurance agents and advisors can agree, though, on one point: Other, more critical financial matters should come first before you even think about buying a life insurance policy on a child. Those include building an adequate emergency savings fund, making sure you and the child’s other parent have enough life insurance and disability insurance, building savings for the child’s college tuition, and getting your own retirement savings on track. (NerdWallet.com)

Gathering the insurance information in two hands to put it in recycling I say a prayer for those who have experienced this loss, at any age, and at the same time thank God we have not joined their ranks.

Heavy hearted-Kristin

 

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Does the IRS Pay Interest? #Taxes #Adoption

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Unless the envelope is orange-ish, most Americans don’t like seeing the IRS return address on a piece of mail. (The orange envelope contains a paper check for a refund.) Most folks know that if you don’t pay your tax bill by a certain date (or make arrangements for quarterly payments), the interest will begin to mount on what you owe. But does the IRS pay interest if they owe you money over a certain time?

Our family had some tax complications due to adopting children and moving around for my husband’s job with the military. Adopted children are initially assigned a temporary number, the ATIN, used on tax paperwork for up to two years while the parents sort out issues with Immigration & Naturalization, re-adoptions in home states (for international adoptions), and other paperwork that continues long after you’ve brought your precious child home. screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-1-43-57-pm

Unfortunately, we received bad information from an immigration official who told us our sons would have to live in the US for two years before we could apply for their citizenship. It just so happened that we were stationed in the US when we got this erroneous info, so we waited the two years. The ATIN numbers expired, we finally got citizenship for them and passports as the US Army moved us back overseas.

Problem, we were now living overseas and filing our 1040 with the IRS, but we did not have social security numbers for our younger two sons. The Social Security Administration would not accept Citizenship documents, or US passports–they wanted birth certificates from a US state. Federal stuff was no good.screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-1-46-16-pm

We tried registering foreign birth and had issues with our state of legal record because they wanted us to prove we were legal residents of that state at the time of the adoption. The state would not accept the letter from the US Army listing my husband’s legal address as also being my legal address as well. The fact that we both have drivers licenses from there, vehicles registered there, and even vote in elections there was not good enough proof.  Eventually we had to hire a lawyer in our home state and adopt our children again (which was very confusing to them. They’d been with us for over two years. “Aren’t you already our parents?” “Are we your children or not?”).

This all took another two years during which we dutifully filed our tax returns and continued to list the expired temporary identification number. After we filed, the IRS would send a letter adjusting our return because they removed our two youngest children from their equation.

Finally, we received those social security cards in the mail. Yay! It was a day to celebrate. It was also a day to begin our amended tax returns for the past two years. The most recent year we owed money because our book sales and one investment took us over the edge to pay for the first time. That amended return only showed us owing less.

For the year before that, however, the IRS owed us $2000, as shown on the amended return. We received a white envelope with the IRS return address and opened it to good news; the letter affirmed the amount owed was $2000. There was no indication any interest would be paid.

Did the IRS pay us interest on the amount they had owed us for two years?

Yes, they did. When our orange-ish envelope came, I am pleased to report the total amount on the check included interest.

Makes me wonder about that audit from so many years ago. Turns out, years of interest only accumulate if you owe the IRS, because you’ve only got three years to file that amended return.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way a tax professional, and this blog does not constitute advice on tax issues. If you have a situation, please consult the IRS or your own personal tax professional.)

Related Posts:

How My Audit Happened

How to Amend Your Federal Tax Return

Adoption Tax Credit 2016

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Kristin King is a paranormal fiction author, military spouse, and mother to four sons. She is contracting new covers for her vampire series, after which the first novel will become a free ebook. Rather than blogging about books and writing, which would make too much sense, she blogs about travel, food, living abroad, current events and other random topics.

 

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2017 in Adoption, In The News

 

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Mom’s of Adopted Children

Award winning title by Katy Lynn Harris

Award winning title by Katy Lynn Harris

The director of the agency we used for our last adoption sent this copied letter out for Mother’s Day, and it so touched my heart I had to share it with you here as well. To my delight I discovered the author of the letter is fellow indie author Kathy Lynn Harris. Her latest novel, “a good kind of knowing,” was the WINNER of the Colorado PW 2013 Writing Competition for Novel/Adult Readers.

Thanks to Kathy and Happy Mother’s Day to All Who Mother Children of their own and others!

Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,

I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.

It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.

Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them.

Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.

Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it?

….(continue at this link)

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Adoption

 

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Tiring of the Numbers

Sitting in the IRS Office at 31 Hopkins Plaza in Baltimore, MD, I wait. I peruse the documents, the ID’s. My babies’ faces before they knew they were mine. Eyes wide, droopy, glassy with, I surmise, fear, malnutrition, hopelessness.  I lay these African passport photos side by side with their U.S. Visa photos. (Passport Y0306009002 Visa KIN 201195900301) U.S. Visa photos from before my children met us, same big eyes, same fear, but perhaps, a little rounder faces. Our youngest sons have had better nutrition these last eight months.

I notice the numbers, the ever-increasing, never-ending numbers. I tire of the numbers.

Passport numbers times six–one for each family member. Visa numbers, permanent resident card numbers. A-file numbers, case number for ever call I’ve made to the IRS, the Social Security Administration, US Immigration and Naturalization, Department of Homeland Security, etc. Calls that represent forms like the 1040, the W-7, the 181-H, the I-600. The W-7 is the issue this day, here to apply for another number, the ITIN.

I am overwhelmed by the numbers. My husband and I began indie publishing last year. The numbers, ISBN, ASIN, Smashwords, CreateSpace ID’s, individual book ID’s, times 16 for fiction works and times 22 for nonfiction. There’s the publishing business numbers, EIN, new bank account, royalty tracking ID’s. What’s a DUNS number? I found out when I had to get one. Did I mention we’re co-founding a nonprofit? EIN, 501c, and every piece of paper federal and state has an application moniker, case #, final assigned ID. A quagmire of numbers threatens.

This day, though, the numbers are about the faces I examine as I wait. I carry U.S. ID’s taken only four months after we brought our youngest sons home. Eyes are slits, shoved together by round cheeks bulging above smiles that show every tooth. I sit in the Federal Building, tears brim.

The A-file, the W-7, the ITIN, the passport, the visa, the permanent resident card.

I love these numbers. These precious, precious numbers. They say, “This is my child. These are my boys. My babies.”  A million numbers can never express my joy. My grateful heart.

Thank you, God. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for the numbers.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Adoption

 

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