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Lifesong Adoptive Families FAQ

If you need something urgently, please call Jane Diggle at 309.747.4517 between 8 am – 4 pm CST time. Please do NOT depend on email. Due to a large volume of emails, emails  are answer them in the order received, so it may be a day or two before your email is read.

NOTE:  Please include your family number in ALL correspondence (including emails) to Lifesong as this is how your information is found.

FAQ for Fundraising Adoptive Families

How do I find out how much has been donated to my fund?

  • Go to the Family Fund Reports page here:  http://www.lifesongfororphans.org/family-fund-reports/
  • Click “login”
  • Login using your email address (the first one you provided on your Lifesong application) and your account number as the password. Your account number is four digits (do not include the 0 in front of the four digits)
  • You will be redirected back to the Family Fund Reports page where you will either have a button to access your report or a message stating no donations have been received yet.

The family report shows:

Date – date donation received into or payment made from your account

Donor Name – name of donor or who payment was sent to

Donated Amount – amount received

Payments – amount paid out of account

Program Short Title – four letters showing designation of funds:

         First two letters designate Lifesong (LS) or private fund (PF)

         Last two letters designate your Family Fund donations (FF) or matching grant (MG) or Direct Grant (yes, Grant is not two letters)

Family Code – family number

Family Title – name, date approved, amount received if grant or loan and name of fund

providing grant or loan; a fund-raising account is designated with initials FS

NOTE:

  • To calculate the amount of funds available:  “total donated amount” minus “payments” plus “matching grant” or “loan amount” = funds available
    • The exception to this formula deals with a Lifesong Legacy or Elmbrook loan. Payments of these loans do not appear on the report. You will need to contact Jane Diggle (jane@lifesongfororphans.org) regarding those loan balance amounts.
  • If you received a matching grant, the funds are matched as they are received dollar for dollar and become available immediately. You do not need to wait for the entire match before accessing funds in your account.
  • Matching grant and loan amounts are not included in the “donated amount” column. They are reflected only in the “payments” column when actually paid pout.
  • Reports are updated five nights a week Monday through Friday.

How long does it take for donations to show up in my fund?

Usually checks received in the mail are posted daily to individual accounts. However, if there is a large volume of checks, it may take more than a day before donations show up in your account. PayPal receipts are downloaded once a day, then processed and posted. Again depending on volume, it may take more than a day to show up in your account. Occasionally PayPal will hold a donation for a day or two, and that could also delay it getting into your account.

Donations from Gobena coffee sales will be posted once a month to your family report usually by the 15th of the month for the previous month’s sales.

How long does my account stay open?

  • Your account remains open to receive donations until your child is home or the adoption is complete according to whichever of the following conditions occurs first:
    • The adoption is “legally complete” whether that occurs overseas or in the U.S.
    • When adoption reports that require home study or external facilitation are complete.
    • A maximum of one year after the child is in the home if still not complete.
  • Your account will remain open even it if carries a zero balance. The “goal date” established when you became a Lifesong family is just a goal to encourage timely giving. It is not a deadline.
  • PLEASE inform Jane Diggle (jane@lifesongfororphans.org) when the adoption is complete, so the file may be closed and any monies left in your account may be paid out.

How do I access my funds (loans, matching grant, direct grant, donations)?

  • You may submit your requests for funds to me via email at jane@lifesongfororphans.org or fax to #309/747-4647 (if you fax, please call to confirm it has been received) or use regular mail sending to Lifesong for Orphans, Attn:  Jane, P.O. Box 40, Gridley, IL  61744. If you email receipts, please use .pdf files if possible. Taking photos of documents and attaching them as .jpg files may work. Please confirm attachments will be legible when printed before sending.
  • Payment is always made based on available funds.
  • Payments/reimbursements are sent daily. Again if you need something urgently, please call after submitting your email and ask Jane Diggle (jane@lifesongfororphans.org) to process it quickly.

There are two ways to access your funds: 

  • If you want payment to go to someone other than yourself.         
    • Send a copy of the invoice/document showing what is owed.
    • Authorize Jane Diggle to make the payment on your behalf and provide
      • Your name
      • Your family number
      • Who to pay including the mailing address if not on the document
      • Total amount to be paid from your account
    • NOTE: If you want payment to go to an attorney or an individual (rather than a company), a W-9 needs to be on file with Lifesong before payment can be made. Please ask the attorney/individual to submit the W-9 to you, and then forward to Jane Diggle (jane@lifesongfororphans.org) along with the document for payment.

What expenses are reimbursable? And not reimbursable?

The following is not all inclusive:

  • Reimbursable:  includes reasonable and necessary expenses directly related to the adoption such as court fees, home study fees, agency fees, lawyer fees, postage, airfare for two people only (usually parents) plus the adoptive child[ren] when making in-country visits or for U.S. flights for U.S. adoptions, travel expenses including lodging but excluding food.
  • Not Reimbursable:  fund-raising expenses, food, convenience fees, beds, diapers, medical expenses when the child is home

How do I pay for expenses overseas?

Lifesong does not wire money overseas. You must make arrangements with your agency if that is needed. If the agency agrees to wire funds, you may submit the agency’s invoice for the overseas expenses, and Lifesong will send payment to the agency. The best way to access funds for overseas use is to submit receipts for adoption expenses you have already paid for so a check can be sent to you. That will provide you with money to use for travel. As a last resort, you may submit documentation from your agency showing the overseas in-country expenses, and Lifesong will issue a check based on that estimate before you travel. However, you must submit documentation after your trip to ‘back up’ those expenses. If documentation is not provided, the funds will need to be returned to Lifesong. 

Will Lifesong reconsider the financial assistance that has been approved for my adoption?

Lifesong’s policy is to review a family file one time for financial assistance. This is due to the fact that more families submit applications than Lifesong has funds available to help. Once a decision has been made on your adoption, no further assistance will be available. However, if you wanted to do a Both Hands project, use Gobena fund raising, or use MyStory that would be fine.

Does Lifesong send me any documentation for my tax records?

Lifesong does not send any special year-end reports. Whenever you request an account update, the report you receive shows donations and payouts. You may want keep the most current copy for your tax records as well as keep copies of all receipts/invoices submitted to Lifesong for reimbursement/ payment, so you can match them to the account update. When your adoption is complete, a final account update will be sent to you.

You may find it advantageous to consult with a CPA or tax attorney at the beginning of your adoption regarding your personal tax situation and how to best utilize your funds and how the adoption tax credit applies to your situation.

Who receives receipts for donating to my account?

Lifesong automatically sends receipts for individual donations of $50 or more and yearly donations totaling $250 that come directly to Lifesong for Orphans via check or the Lifesong website donation page (which uses PayPal). Money coming through a third party (such as Razoo) cannot be receipted. Receipts for donations to Lifesong under $50 will gladly be sent upon request.  

Who can I talk to to learn more about the Adoption Tax Credit?

Becky Wilmoth at Bills Tax Service, 501 W. Broadway, Centralia, IL  62801, phone: 618.532.7223 will be glad to answer your questions regarding the Adoption Tax Credit.

Some answers differ for families receiving support for post-adoptive counseling. See below for more information.

FAQ for Post-Adoptive Counseling Families

How long does my account stay open?

Your account remains open for two years. At that time you will be contacted to see if you are ready to close your account or if you would like your fund-raising ability through Lifesong to continue. 

If you want to close your account before two years, please contact Jane (jane@lifesongfororphans.org).

How do I access my funds (loans, matching grant, direct grant, donations)?

A)     If you want to payment to go to a provider:

1)     Send a copy of the invoice or document showing what is owed.

2)     Authorize Jane (see contact info in section D below) to make the payment on your behalf and provide:

a) your name
b) your family number
c) who to pay including the mailing address if not on the invoice
d) the total amount to be paid from your account

3)     If you want Lifesong to send payment to an attorney or an individual (rather than a company), a W-9 needs to be on file with Lifesong before payment can be made. Please request the attorney/individual to submit the W-9 to you and then forward it to me along with the invoice for payment. 

B. If you want to be reimbursed for expenses you have paid:

1)     Complete the Adoption Expenses Reimbursement Form. Which will be sent to you once you have been approved.

2)     Submit proof of payment (receipts or cancelled checks—front and back sides, etc.) Basically, documentation that satisfies the IRS of what you have paid needs to be submitted. Be sure to send copies not originals!

  • If an agency/company/individual sends you receipts within the body of an email, the email should also be sent to me as a carbon copy recipient at jane@lifesongfororphans.org
  • If the agency/company/individual sends you receipts as a .pdf file attachment, you may submit that as proof of payment.
  • Number your receipts to match the numbers on the Reimbursement Form 

C.     You may send a large receipt even if that amount of funds is not currently available in your account. As funds become available, future payments to you can be applied against that large receipt.  You will just need to watch your account balance and notify me when you have funds to be sent to you based on the receipts you already submitted.

D.    You may submit your requests for your funds to me via email (jane@lifesongfororphans.org) , fax (fax # 309.747.4647), or regular mail (Lifesong for Orphans, Attn:  Jane, PO Box 40, Gridley, IL  61744). If you email receipts, please use .pdf files if possible. Taking photos of receipts and attaching them as .jpg files may also work. Please confirm the .pdf and .jpg files are legible before sending.

E.     Payment is always made based on your available funds. 

F.     Reimbursements/payments are sent daily.