Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Letter Writing Campaign

This past week three I was made aware of two very important issues that my state legislature & congress have before them. Neither issue has been called for a vote yet, but both are within reach. So, of course, I had to write my legislatures & congressmen asking for their support on each issue.

The 1st One: H.R. 213: Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009

For those in the adoption community, this piece of federal legislation is very important. Currently, a tax credit (around $11,000) is given in the year that an adoption is finalized. This credit is a huge benefit with overall adoption costs. Many couples rely on this credit to offset their expenses. This current tax credit is set to expire in December 2010 unless Congress votes to continue it.

As you can imagine, Paul & I can both testify that the adoption credit we were able to take in 2005 helped us tremendously with our overall adoption expenses of Zoe. Without some type of similar tax credit/assistance, numerous couples will not be able to fulfill their dreams of being parents. In fact, many prospective parents whose paperwork has already been submitted may have to withdrawal their "letter of intent to adopt". This is because of the current time frame in which adoptions are occurring.

If this tax credit deceases adoptions in general - domestic & internationally - will decrease. As a those children who currently reside in foster/children's homes & orphanages will be dependent on the government(s) for food, shelter, medicine, etc. for many years. When, in reality, those children just long to be part of a forever family.

(If interested in supporting this issue, please click on the button above. It will direct you to more information as well as a link for finding your congressmen to write them as well. And just in case you are not a "snail mail" letter writer, no worries, it's all by e-mail. Quick & easy!)

The 2nd One: Help Protect Education & Pensions

As many of you know, I am a teacher in the state of Illinois. Our wonderful ex-governor (need I say more?!) - Rod Blagojevich - (name rings a bell, huh?!) led the legislature in dipping into the Teacher Retirement System to borrow money to help bail the state of Illinois out of debt. Well, guess what? The state of Illinois is still in debt. In fact, more than ever. AND the original money borrowed has NEVER been paid back. So now our new governor, Pat Quinn, has decided that his economic recovery plan includes once again dipping into the Teacher Retirement System & borrowing more money. What does this mean for teachers in Illinois? Retirement age will increase to age 67 & full-retirement benefits (currently at 70%) will decrease. Stinks huh? Especially when you think that teachers in Illinois have to by law contribute a certain percentage of their salary to the Teacher Retirement System without it being matched. Plus, most people don't know that Illinois is one of four states where teachers are not allowed to collect Social Security. (Thank you, Ronald Reagan!) So, as you can imagine, if Gov. Quinn has his way, there will be numerous retired teachers in the coming years who will be struggling to make ends meet. Is that fair - all because the State of Illinois is in billions of dollars in debt?

Now, I did write two more letters this week, but they were both nominating someone else for something positive. You see, CBS is seeking "Angels" who have:

~ Done extraordinary things for others
~ Sacrificed so others could thrive
~ Fallen on hard times due to current economic circumstances, but are persevering against all odds

So, I wrote a little somethin somethin up about two people who I think have/are changing the world. Who you ask?

Gunner Gillespie. For those of you who are new to my blog, Gunner was an 8 year old boy from Marshall County, KY whose life was cut very short by an inoperable brain tumor on his brain stem. The type of tumor he had was called a pontine glioma (DIPG) - highly aggressive, highly malignant, treatment resistant and recurrent. This is an exceedingly rare form of terminal cancer that mostly affects children between the ages of 4-10 years old. There are only about 200 cases diagnosed each year. Due to the diffuse nature of the cancer there are no surgical options, and current chemotherapies have been found to be ineffective. With treatment, the median survival rate is less than 12 months. The chance of continued survival beyond 1 year is less than 8%. Because of Gunner's fight to live, he was such an inspiration to others. Thousands of people checked his website each day leaving comments & messages of hope. I would love for Gunner & the other DIPG kiddos to be the subject of one of CBS's shows. Perhaps it would bring some awareness to this type of cancer, generate some interest in research, & showcase the courage these kiddos have.
Katie Davis in Uganda. If you have never been to this site. Check it out. You will not be disappointed. This is Katie's blog. She is an inspiration to many. She is 19 years old from Brentwood, TN & has left her cushy life (as she describes it) & is living in East Africa mothering 13 children. I can't even find the words to describe Katie. You just have to check it out for yourself. You will be amazed.
Okay, so enough babbling. As I've been told many times - If you don't speak up for what you believe in, no one will!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Amen! I think it's amazing that you are standing up for what you believe. You go girl!!