RAD is not so RAD

I’ve been sharing our heartbreaking problems with Huck. He’s in a vicious cycle of bad behavior and consequences with no relenting. He’s lying at home and at counseling. He’s being rude to his siblings and defiant to his parents. He’s throwing tantrums and having meltdowns at home and at counseling. He’s in an intensive program for trauma, but we’re not seeing any advantages right now. His new antidepressant seems to only make him more agitated. Hubby and I are at the end of our rope, trying to figure out what we can do to help him and make it better. We’ve not had this bad of behavior for a long time. It feels like it’s constantly escalating and we don’t know where it’s going to end up. I had a long conversation with him last night before bed. I was hopeful that we came to some sort of agreement on what is acceptable behavior and what he can do to let out negative feelings. Then this morning he went right back to where he was before. So I don’t know what to do!

Huck had his re-evaluation for counseling last week and the doctor added a rule-out of RAD. Right now his diagnosis is PTSD and he’s getting counseling under that diagnosis. But it doesn’t account for the behavior we’ve been seeing for the last couple of months. Huck’s psychiatrist was leaning toward ODD, or Oppositional Defiance Disorder, but the doctor at his trauma counseling was more apt to say RAD. Considering that most behavior is aimed at me, his primary caregiver. He doesn’t have all the symptoms, like lack of eye contact. This diagnosis doesn’t really change his therapy or medication. I’m not sure it’s even true. But it’s difficult to live with, whatever he’s going through!

New Social Security Numbers

Spent 2+ hours this morning at the local Social Security Administration office. I had hoped to have good news of new social security numbers for the kids. Apparently it is a federal law that if a child knows that they’ve been adopted you cannot change their social security number, even if you have concerns about identity theft and fraud. At least that is what grumpy and his grumpier manager told me today. If the child does not know that they were adopted, you can change their number readily (I really don’t understand this, as children that were adopted older from foster care are probably in more of a risk of having fraudulent activity on their ss number than those that were adopted before school age). I know people that have changed their adopted child’s social security number, our county attorney advised us to do so upon their adoption, and the sweet lady that I talked to at this specific Social Security Administration office about a month ago advised me to make sure their numbers were changed and not just their names.

So yes, I cried, pleaded and argued in the SS office trying to advocate for these kids. It is not acceptable for a child who languished in foster care for 5 years, was passed around to 11 different homes, suffered immeasurable trauma and neglect, to have some guy on a power trip at the Social Security office tell them that he can’t do anything to help and they’ll just have to monitor their credit, etc for the rest of their lives. It’s not okay. Hubby came to provide reinforcement and see the mess that these two men were making out of a very easily fixed situation. Boy, was the security guard on high alert with us two! The family genes of patience came out so Hubby had some choice words and of course I was crying because that’s what I do so we gave good entertainment to all the retirees waiting.

I found it highly ironic that I was sitting in the waiting room for 45 minutes patiently waiting my turn while studying for my graduate classes in public administration. It only cemented the fact that there are a lot of problems in this country with how foster children are treated. And believe me, none of the information I’ve been reading has been about the ego of individual government employees, it is about the public interest and the greater good. I should have left them some reading material!!

Let’s Talk: Taxes Take 2

Last I wrote about taxes was when we found out that we qualified for the Adoption Tax Credit. For some reason I never truly read through the information and thought that it only applied to private adoption. Here is that post:

https://fosteringourhope.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/lets-talk-federal-adoption-tax-credit/

We use an awesome accountant who does voodoo magic on our taxes. He is very knowledgeable about the codes, etc. He did our taxes this year and we were surprised about the Adoption Tax Credit because, again, we didn’t read the whole thing. The tax credit for Adoption can only give credit to the taxes that you owe that year, they cannot refund money. So in all intents and purposes you will not get the full amount unless you owe a lot in taxes! Here is a good explanation:

http://www.nacac.org/taxcredit/taxcredit2015.html

How much you benefit from this tax credit depends largely on your tax liability for the year in question.

So there’s that info for those of you, like us, who never read the whole code or did not understand. We will still benefit about $5,000 from this tax credit, but that is about one sixth of the amount of money we were expecting from this tax credit!

Secondly, let’s talk about natural parents claiming their children on their taxes. When our accountant went to file our taxes, someone else had already claimed the children. Yes, we will be changing their social security numbers. But we did not receive their new birth certificates or have the other necessary documents ready to change their social security numbers prior to tax season. So rest assured we will have them changed for next year! Anyway, we could not e-file for either the Federal or State taxes because we are claiming the children as our dependents. I have read a lot into this and most of the documents that the IRS wants stems on physical custody and residency for the year in question. The children never lived with or were in physical custody of their natural parents the year that we accepted placement and adopted them. I am hopeful that this fact alone will discredit their dependency claim and allow us to claim them on our taxes. It is also very possible that the IRS will not allow us to claim them on our taxes because they did not live with us for more than half of the year. But then any child born after June in 2014 wouldn’t be claimed by their parents because they didn’t live with them for more than half of the year. I am so interested to see how this plays out!

We are filing our taxes through the mail with a disclaimer and supporting documents to show why we are claiming them as dependents. I will let you all know how it goes!

Here are some of the links that I felt helped me in my research of the dependency tax laws. If we had only fostered the kids and not adopted them in 2014 then we would not be claiming them on our taxes.

IRS website:

http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc654.html

Tax Laws for Claiming Dependents:

http://taxes.about.com/od/dependents/a/Dependents.htm

What Qualifies a Dependent:

http://taxes.about.com/od/dependents/a/Dependents_2.htm

IRS Audit for Dependents:

http://taxes.about.com/od/dependents/qt/Dependents-Audits.htm

Lucy Found a Home

I got a call from our caseworker today that Lucy found a forever home (at least they hope). We had agreed to take her from the middle of July (after Family Day) until school started, with the understanding that the agency would be looking for and providing initial meetings with potential forever families. Today our caseworker said that they found someone permanent and that Lucy will move in tomorrow!!! So if you have any time for a quick prayer to or send her good thoughts, please give love to Lucy tomorrow that she loves her new home and that it’s a great fit for her!! I told our caseworker to please keep us updated on how it’s going!

Respite Girl

It’s about time that I come up with a pretend name for respite girl. We got the call today from our agency that her current foster family gave 30 days’ notice that they no longer want her in their home. While we all knew that they wouldn’t adopt her, we though they would at least keep her until a new family was found. The agency said this should happen before the school year. I talked to our caseworker today and she said if we will accept placement that they will move her asap. I made sure that they know we are not going to adopt, but that we could be available until the agency does find her the right home. I have to talk to hubby tonight but it looks like we will bring her home after the holiday weekend. We will be out of town this weekend for a wedding. The kids will be so excited!