Adoptive Parenting

#AdoptionTalk: Taxes Revisited

Welcome to our second #AdoptionTalk Link Up!note to self

First things first, on the first Link Up, I promised to tell you Squirm’s adoption story this week. Well… you’ll have to come back next week for that.
(If you’d like, you can subscribe here to receive email updates whenever I publish a new post.)

This week, I want to revisit one of my most popular posts of all time – 

Can I Claim My Foster Child on My Tax Return?

You can find the original post at the link above. Some questions have come up several times since the post was published, so I thought I’d take a moment to address those. 

Full disclosure: Yes, I am a practicing CPA. Yes, I would be happy to do your taxes; our firm’s minimum fee is $450. No, I won’t do it for free. No, I won’t double-check the mistakes made by H&R Blech. And no, I won’t help your cousin Danny figure out to claim his cats. My goal is to help you understand the law, not how to get around it, but as with all internet advice, YMMV, please consult your tax preparer. 


#AdoptionTalk: Are they twins?

Our Twins
Did you know that there’s a term for “artificial twins” created by adoption?


There are lots of interpretations of the term, but in adoption circles, it typically refers to two (or more) siblings who are less than a year apart in age.

I belong to a Twiblings group on Facebook, but we don’t call our boys Twiblings.  They’re twins – just not biological. Seriously. The blonde is less than 7 hours older than the brunette. And they were born in the same hospital. And we get to keep both of them forever.

These two boys were meant to be brothers. Spend 5 minutes with them, and you’ll know it, too. If you need more proof, you can read the sequence of far-too-many-to-be-coincidence events that aligned and blessed us with two happy, boisterous, affectionate, spirited, funny, exasperating beautiful boys here and here.

When I wrote those posts, in November 2013, I was pretty confident that we would be finalizing their adoptions very soon.

But, foster care. (more…)

Adoption Talk Link Up

I am super excited to be one of the hosts for The Adoption Talk Link Up in 2015.  Starting next Thursday, January 22nd, and then  on the first and third Thursday of every month, please join us for The Adoption Talk Link Up.

Feel free to save the topic schedule for your reference. Just right click it and select the save option.#AdoptionTalk Link Up Schedule
Anyone involved with the adoption triad or foster care in any way is welcome to join (even if you are just starting the process). The first link up topic is hopefully an easy one, we would love for everyone to link up their adoption stories. If you’ve got thoughts to share, we want to hear them.

A few things to consider: (more…)

Guest Post: “Brown Family”

It’s hard not to start bawling when your six year old stops getting ready for school to tell you, “I wish a brown family adopted me.”

It was one of those parenting moments in which I had to take a breath, hide my emotions and proceed with caution.

“How come?”

“Because I want my family to look like me.”

“Well your little brother and sister look like you.”

“Yeah but not the whole family.”

I hugged him and apologized for not being brown. What else could I do? I mean, there was a time when I was small when I operated under the notion that I was part African-American, but the fact is I’m not. I distinctly remember when I found out the truth. I was playing Barbies with my older sister; I was probably about 4, making her around 9. I chose a White Barbie for the Mom and a Black Ken for the Dad for our game.

“You can’t do that,” my sister informed me.


“You can’t have a White one and a Black one be married!”

“Why not? Daddy’s Black.”

And with the whack my sister gave me for saying so, I thus learned my Portuguese-Italian father, while certainly the darkest man I saw in rural New Jersey where we lived, was not, in fact, Black. And therefore, neither was I.

That was the extent of my own childhood racial identity crisis. Of course there was no real crisis to be had. Even though my dad is dark and my Polish-German mother is fair, they are both Caucasian. There was no loss of birth parents or cultural heritage for me. There was no wondering about my ancestry or why all the other kids at school resembled their parents and each other.

I always knew a day would come when E would start to work through his own valid identity issues so I don’t know why I felt so blindsided by it. Maybe I thought he’d drop some hints first, or that he’d be a little older.

When I tucked him in that night, we talked some more. Or, more accurately, I talked while he mostly cried and nodded.

Was he still feeling sad?


Did someone say something recently that made him start feeling like this?


Does he know how much Mommy and Daddy love him?


And even though everyone talks about how happy adoption is and we ARE so, so happy he’s part of our family, did he know there’s sadness to adoption too?

There is???

Yes, E, because we love you so very much but if the world was perfect and there were never any problems at all, you probably would just have stayed with your birth mother, don’t you think?

And my boy sobbed when I said this. My sweet, sweet first grade boy, with pain more suited for an older person to deal with.

Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?


Well I want you to feel at least a little bit better. You might always have sad feelings about this, and that’s okay. But I want to help you…find peace about it. Do you understand what that means?


Would you like to spend more time with your birth family? Great Grandma and Auntie you just met and your sister that was adopted by another family? Would that help?


Then I will do my best to arrange it, my love. I promise to always do my best to keep you in touch with the brown family you long for.

Gina Sampaio likes to challenge the notion of what being a stay at home mom means by not only staying busy with her husband and five kids but also with acting, writing, social activism and rabble rousing in general. Gina blogs about her daily adventures with kids, crafts and cooking, navigating a post-foster care transracial open adoption and the ongoing journey of surviving a sexual assault under the name Sister Serendip (follow her on Facebook and Twitter).

#AdoptionTalk Link Up

Adoption Talk Linkup Hosts

This week’s topic: Anything Goes

Grab a button for your post and join ErinJenni, Jill, Madeleine, and me! New to linking up? We’d love to have you join us, here’s how.

Starfish Confidential #AdoptionTalk

And that’s it! We’re so excited that you are joining us!

Squirm’s Forever Day

After much drama and angst and consternation – and 800 days in foster care, Squirm is finally “forever”. On Friday, August 22nd, we made it official. I had terrible dreams leading up to finalization – from PFM demanding one last unsupervised visit, to her showing up at the ceremony and demanding to be present. But none of them came true. The day was completely drama-free (well, except for the ticket I got for not hanging my handicapped placard as we rushed into the courthouse) and SUCH a HUGE relief. We hit up Teddy Mountain for all the kids to pick out their Forever Day lovies (our family Forever Day tradition) and then had dinner with some of my best friends. We’re still kind of in that surreal-I-don’t-have-to-report-every-bruise phase, and I still need to return his redbook to his former case manager, but he’s really and truly ours. FINALLY.

In other news, Lil Bit finally figured out the mechanics of crawling. So we now have two 2-year-old boys and a mobile infant. We are well and truly screwed.

I love my life. 🙂

It has recently come to my attention that not all of my readers can easily tell when I’m being sarcastic. That is truly unfortunate, so finding a solution was imperative. ^Obviously, the easiest answer is to assume that if something can be read with sarcasm, it should be;^; but that’s not really workable, I guess. After reviewing several options for a “sarcasm font”, I’ve come up up with my own system. Whenever you see italics inside carrots (^snark^), that is my “sarcasm font”.

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