24. October, 2012UncategorizedNo comments





Dear Friends & Supporter of Adoption:


As you probably know, if Congress does not act to extend the federal adoption tax credit (ATC) this year- the tax credit as we now know it – will expire on December 31, 2012.


Members of Congress are back in their home districts, now until November. We are encouraging you to use this opportunity to reach out to them about the Adoption Tax Credit. Right now it is important to engage your legislators about this issue, via a meeting, town hall, an email or a phone call, so that Members feel pressure to keep the ATC apart of any deal that moves in the lame duck session of Congress (after elections).


How cool & powerful would it be if Congress came back to Washington, D.C. and the Making Adoptions Affordable Act had 50 cosponsors on the Senate bill (S. 3616) and 50 cosponsors on the House bill (H.R. 4373)?  It would be pretty cool and more importantly it would send a strong message of support! This goal is possible, with your help!



TODAY we ask you to email or call or visit with your two Senators and one Representative. Ask all three of your federal legislators to become a cosponsor of S. 3616/H.R. 4373.


For a helpful factsheet and a sample letter for emailing your Senators please contact If you need to find your Senator’s contact information go to:


Please Email or Call:

  • Email your two Senators – urge them to cosponsor S. 3616
  • Email your one Representative – urge him/her to cosponsor H.R. 4373
  • Or call the Capitol Operator at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to his or her office. Then ask to speak to the legislative assistant that handles adoption or tax issues.
  • Then, let us know what response you receive from your legislators, email:



When will this be considered in Congress?

The Adoption Tax Credit is likely to be included in a package of other tax credits that need to be extended, and we expect such a package to be considered by Congress sometime after the election. At this time, it is uncertain whether Congress will consider including the refundable provision of the credit in an extension at the end of the year. We are working hard to get refundability included and need your help in showing Members of Congress that refundability helps foster care adoption and lower to middle income tax filers. One of the most effective ways to help is to highlight examples through sharing the personal stories of individual families and/or encouraging families to share their stories directly with their legislators. Another strategy to have the refundable provision be included in tax negotiations at the end of the year is to continue to build support for H.R. 4373 and S. 3616.


Thank you for taking a few minutes to contact your legislators on this important issue!


Additional Resources:



Thumbs Up for Ella!

19. October, 2012UncategorizedNo comments

All it took was one picture of two-year-old Ella, for David and Deanna Ballheim of Dearborn to fall in love with her.  The couple, who were eager to adopt Ella from China, had their wish come true when they became Ella’s parents in 2010. The Ballheim family adopted through West Sands Adoptions’ China Special Needs Program.

They love their daughter unconditionally and made it a priority when they arrived from China to have her evaluated by her local pediatrician.  Ella was born with a limb deformity and their local doctor recommended that Ella be seen at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan for a genetic evaluation and referral to Joseph Failla, MD, pediatric orthopaedic hand surgeon.  “Her right arm was shorter than her left arm and it is bent at a 45 degree angle making it almost nonfunctional,” explains Deanna. She also has a nubbin on her right thumb instead of a fully functioning thumb and did not have a thumb on her left hand.


Deanna says it was heartbreaking at times when Ella would ask in her toddler language why she couldn’t do some things that others could. “She would look at my hand or her dad’s hand and say “Why I not have a tumm?” “Why I not use snip snips (scissors)?” “Why I not pick tings up wike dis?” So, we explained to her the best we could and she said that she would like a “tumm.”


Although Dr. Failla suggested waiting until she was at least four-years-old to have surgery, he would soon make her wish come true when he suggested that a procedure called pollicization could dramatically improve her hand function on her left hand.  “The surgery is pretty involved but it makes such a difference in improving the function of the hand,” says Dr. Failla.  “It involves moving the index finger with its nerves and blood vessels attached to position it where the thumb should be, and rearranging the tendons and muscles and surrounding bone so the index finger would look and work like a thumb,” he says. Instead of having four fingers and no thumb, she would have three fingers and one thumb.


In May, 2012, the surgery was performed and the difference was profound according to Deanna.  Ella now has the ability to use her thumb like others as a pincher to grasp things.  This means she can pull things up, write and draw better and use the computer much more efficiently. “We are so thankful to Dr. Failla for his compassion and treatment that has made such a difference for our daughter.”


Dr. Failla, who received a pewter piece with small hands and thumbs as a special gift from Ella and the Ballheim family, says Ella may need follow up care as she grows, but the surgery was considered a success.


Ella now loves to dance and swim. “One of her favorite sayings is thumbs up”, says Deanna.  Truly an expression most take for granted, but certainly not the Ballheim family.



For further information on services available through the Orthopaedics Department at DMC Children’s Hospital ofMichigan, please call (313) 745-5227 or visit


Borrowed from: Children’s Hospital of Michigan

October Update

1. October, 2012UncategorizedNo comments

photo borrowed from

Dear Adoptive Families,

The month of October is here! We hope you are enjoying the beautiful fall weather while it lasts! In effort to increase efficiency we will be sending you an update once a month about our previous month’s events. At this time, the beginning of each month, you will also receive your current number on the list! We ask you wait to receive this number once a month.

We’d also like to take this time to make you aware of the waiting children we have at this time. Please help us spread the word and find these children’s forever families! They are ready to come home!

Healthy sibling boys, 8 & 5 years old
HIV+ boy, 9 years old
Healthy boy, 11 years old
HIV+ boy, 7 years old
Girl with Trisomy 21 (down syndrome), 6 years old
HIV+ girl, 9 years old
HIV+ boy, 9 years old
Girl with Mitral Valve Prolapse (heart condition), 12 years old
Sibling set: HIV+ boy, 8 years old & 4 year old girl with Anemia and hearing loss. *Twin sister of 4 year old girl passed away.
HIV+ girl, 9 years old
HIV+ girl, 7 years old
Girl with Hearing loss and some vision loss, 6 years old
HIV+ girl, 11 years old
Healthy boy, 10 years old
HIV+ girl, 7 years old

The month of September was slower than August with the rainy season and court closure. We expect to see court re-open within the next two weeks. For September we gave 2 referrals: 1 waiting child and 1 Special Needs child. No healthy referrals were given. But don’t be discouraged, we are currently preparing documents for children we hope to refer this month!!