Blog

Thank You Judy & Alan – Provided Adoption Respite Care For 200+ Babies

Adoption respite care is an important part of the adoption process in NC. Under North Adoption Respite Care Providers - Judy & AlanCarolina law, consent may be revoked by the birth mother within 7 days of signing. Revocation seldom happens, but when it does, it can be very difficult for adoptive parents. As a protection against the added emotional impact of having bonded with the baby during this revocation period, A Child’s Hope provides respite care for the child during this first week. In addition, some infants may have short-term health issues that require special attention. Respite caregivers are trained and experienced in dealing with these issues and are invaluable in providing the child and adoptive parents the best start to a new and happy family.

Two everyday heroes of adoption respite care are Judy and Alan. They recently cared for their 200th respite baby. Judy and Alan shared with us some of their experiences as adoption respite caregivers.

“Judy and I greet them in the driveway. We are like little kids. We are just as excited about our 200th placement as our first placement,” says Judy.

 

Q: When did you start doing adoption respite care?

We started in 1980 in Erie, PA and cared for babies up to the time we moved to N.C. in 1995. Both our 100th and 200th placement were with A Child’s Hope. Of the 200 babies we have cared for, 83 have been with A Child’s Hope.

Q: When did you start helping A Child’s Hope?

Our first placement was Matthew who was born Oct. 30, 2000.

Q: Why did you choose to be an adoption respite caregiver?

We have always had a special love for babies, even as children, and then, Judy, as a Registered Nurse, worked in the hospital nursery. We feel this is our ministry.

Q: What is your favorite experience with respite?

Meeting the adoptive parents and sharing their joy on “Placement Day” is wonderful.

Q: What have you learned from this experience?

Each baby is unique and has his/her own special story!

Q: What are your qualifications?

Judy and I are the parents of three wonderful sons and grandparents of 6, five boys and one girl! We both have the love, time and availability to care for these babies. Also, Judy was an RN and worked with babies in the hospital.

Q: Any advice for new parents?

Relax and enjoy each stage of your child’s life. The days are long but the years are short!

If you are a birth mother and are looking to place your child in a loving home, contact our Birth Mother’s hotline to speak with an adoption counselor today at 877-890-4673. To see placement day videos of A Child’s Hope families, click here.
For more information on the legalities involved with adoption in North Carolina, visit parkerherringlawgroup.com.

Adoption in North Carolina is Double the Fun with Twins

Adoption in North Carolina with KyleTypically, we talk to moms about their adoption experience. This Father’s Day, we sat down with Kyle for the dad’s perspective on adoption in North Carolina. Last year, Kyle and his wife Alyson were hoping to adopt an infant through A Child’s Hope. Instead of one child, they became the proud adoptive parents of precious TWINS! Ben and Julia turned one this June.

This is your second Father’s Day, tell me what you enjoy most about being a Dad?

I’ve only been alive 27 years, but in that time I have found nothing as rewarding or as uplifting as my kids smiling at me when I walk in the room. Every time they recognize me and burst out smiling it is like a punch to the heart. Being a child’s favorite person in the world has fundamentally changed me and inspires me to be the best version of myself. I would say that my absolute most favorite thing about being a father is how much better of a person I am because these children are in my life.

What was it like to suddenly become the father of twins right before Father’s Day last year?

When I first found out, I thought it would be somewhat overwhelming, but from the start, my heart was filled with love for these two little humans. I became the man and father they would need me to be simply because they needed me to be him. This past year has been crazy and I’ve grown a lot and I definitely wouldn’t have it any other way.

What do you want people to understand about adoption in North Carolina?

Remember the role you play in this birth mother’s life. These young women are making one of the hardest choices of their lives and sometimes they’re making that choice alone. As nervous and scared as you might feel in this situation they are probably even worse off. Be a stabilizing and positive force in this process. Remember that you and the birth mother are partners in finding a stable and loving home for the child. You are not enemies, you are allies.

How do you feel about open adoption in North Carolina?

I wholeheartedly support the movement towards a more open adoption process in North Carolina that creates partnerships between adoptive couples and birth mothers. I believe that assisting the birth mother, with both physical and mental health needs, is crucial for a successful adoption.

A young woman who feels supported and confident in and by the process is more likely to see it through and maintain a healthy relationship with the adoptive family and with the child.

If you are thinking about becoming a father for the first time or again, contact one of the counselors at A Child’s Hope to discuss whether adoption is the right choice for you and your family.

If you are a birth mother and are looking to place your child in a home with a hero dad like Kyle, contact our Birth Mother’s hotline to speak with an adoption counselor today at 877-890-4673. To see placement day videos of A Child’s Hope families, click here.

For more information on the legalities involved with adoption in North Carolina, visit parkerherringlawgroup.com.

Military Families May Qualify for Significant Benefits

Military families make excellent adoptive families. These families are accustomed to a structured lifestyle and are experienced in adjusting to new surroundings, building new connections and supporting each other. In addition, military installations have built-in support networks, including substantial health care and housing benefits, as well as “ready-made” communities.

Military Families Adopt

Patriotic Cannady Rose was Adopted by Jessica and Justin in March 2018.

For military families considering adoption, there are a variety of both support services and financial resources available before, during and after the adoption process:

  • Up to $2,000 reimbursement for qualified adoption expenses
  • Up to $13,570 in Adoption Tax Credit
  • Up to 21 days of adoption leave to bond with your new child
  • Health care benefits before the adoption is final
  • New Parent Support Programs on many installations
  • Exceptional Family Member Program for children with particular medical and/or educational needs
  • Military and Family Support Centers
  • Military-run and military-subsidized child care options
  • Affordable Child Development Programs
  • Military and Family Support Centers
  • Head Start and Sure Start
  • DoD child and youth programs, which can help your child make friends, stay active and develop new skills
  • Military Kids Connect offers engaging tools and games to help children prepare for the challenges around family transitions

Military families and their communities have many strengths including resilience, diversity, inclusiveness, social networks, and educational and health benefits which support them wherever they live.

If you, or someone you know, is in the military and is considering adoption call A Child’s Hope at 919-839-8800.

Additional information on adoption resources for military families can be found at the National Military Family Association, Military One Source and the DHSS Child Welfare Gateway.

Adoption support from the financial side include:

  • Adoption Grants: There are several grants for adoption available to waiting families who have completed the home study and meet certain Organizations like Abba Fund, National Adoption Foundationthe Goetz Foundation and many others may be able to help you fund your adoption.
  • Employer Assistance: Some employers provide financial assistance and leave from work. You should check with your employers’ Human Resource Department to see what adoption benefits exist.
  • Adoption Fundraisers: Many families turn to creative adoption fundraising ideas to help finance their adoption. Consider online adoption fundraising on websites like YouCaring, and Go Fund Me, or host a traditional event, like a yard sale, bake sale or golf tournament.

How Long Will it Take To Adopt?

How Long Will it Take To AdoptHow long will it take to adopt a child is one question prospective parents ask on a regular basis. The answer is a question:

How open are YOU to the issues in adoption?

How long you wait directly depends on the flexibility of your adoption plan. The simple answer: the more open you are on the following six issues, the shorter the wait.

The six main issues are:

  1. RACE
  2. LEVEL OF ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
  3. LITTLE OR NO PRENATAL CARE
  4. BIRTH FATHER PATERNITY
  5. MEDICAL HISTORY OF MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH ISSUES
  6. BIRTH PARENT CONTACT AND OPENNESS OF ADOPTION

These would not be issues to overcome if you have a child biologically. The race would be your own and you would have control over alcohol or other substances. Furthermore, the birth father would be known and there would not be any legal issues related to paternity. Most likely, you would be able to receive scheduled prenatal care and be fully aware of any possible hereditary issues — mental or physical.

Wait time will always be unpredictable and adoptive families must understand that the wait is dependant on the birth mother. The reason one family is chosen ahead of another is unique to each birth mother.

To learn more about the adoption process, as well as how to complete a home study and adoption profile, click here.

Parker Herring is a Board Certified family law specialist who has practiced in Wake County, N.C. for more than 32 years. She has three children through adoption and assisted reproduction, and in 2000 she started the adoption agency A Child’s Hope. The agency focuses on connecting North Carolina birth mothers with North Carolina newborns to North Carolina Adoptive Parents. The agency has placed more than 353 children since it’s opening. The multiple adoption journeys of her own family and her personal experiences with fertility treatments continue to be the driving force behind her work in the areas of adoption and assisted reproduction. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and received her law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law.

Adoption Tax Credit – 2017 Taxes

Adoptive parents get a substantial boost from the federal government in the form of a $13,570 adoption tax credit. If you adopted in 2017, before you file your 2017 taxes, make sure that you and your tax preparer understand the Federal Adoption Tax Credit. You may also be able to amend a previous year’s return if you had expenses related to adoption, but didn’t claim them.

Adoption Tax Credit 2017 - A Child's HopeThe bottom line is that if your modified adjusted gross income is below $203,540 you are eligible to receive the full adoption tax credit, and the credit can be spread out over five years. With the average cost of a domestic adoption at $36,000, this tax credit covers more than a third of your costs.

There are “fine points” in the adoption tax credit. So, you are encouraged to consult with a tax preparer who is familiar with the provisions.

What Does the Adoption Tax Credit Cover?

The tax credit is designated to offset real expenses associated with the adoption of a child, other than a spouse’s child. Eligible expenses include:

  • Reasonable and necessary adoption fees
  • Court costs and attorney fees
  • Traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging while away from home)
  • Other expenses that are directly related to and for the principal purpose of the legal adoption of an eligible child.

How Much is the Adoption Tax Credit?

The credit is per child, the maximum that can be claimed depends on the number of children adopted. The credit adjusts for inflation every year. For 2017, the credit is $13,570 per child non-refundable*
*Nonrefundable means the tax credit is limited to the taxpayer’s tax liability for that year. However, any credit in excess of the tax liability may be carried forward for up to five years.

When Can the Adoption Tax Credit be Taken?

For domestic adoptions, (a child who is a citizen or resident of the U.S. or its possessions before the adoption effort begins):

  • Qualified adoption expenses paid before the year the adoption becomes final are allowable as a credit for the tax year following the year of payment (even if the adoption is never finalized, and even if an eligible child was never identified).
  • Qualified adoption expenses paid during or after the year the adoption becomes final are allowable as a credit for the year of payment.
  • Eligible tax credit amounts claimed, but not redeemable due to the taxpayer’s tax liability being less than the value of the tax credit, can roll over to the following year (up to 5 years).

What are Some of the Limitations of the Adoption Tax Credit?

The income limit on the adoption credit is based on the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI).

  • If your MAGI amount is below $203,540 for 2017, your credit will not be affected
  • If your MAGI amount for 2017 falls between $203,540 and $243,539 will be subject to a phase-out reduction
  • Taxpayers with income in excess of $243,539 are not eligible to receive any adoption tax credit from the federal government

The dollar limits for any single adoption effort is:

  • The maximum cumulative Adoption Tax Credit claimed for any single adoption effort cannot exceed the maximum value of the Adoption Tax Credit for the year the adoption becomes final. For example:
    • If an adoption became final in 2017;
    • And a $3,000 credit was claimed 2016 for qualified expensed incurred in 2015 in connection with the 2017 adoption;
    • Then the maximum credit that can be claimed in 2017 is $10,570
      (2017:$13,570 dollar limit, less $3,000 of qualified adoption expenses claimed previously)

Filing status limit – The filing status of Married Filing Separately is not eligible for the Adoption Tax Credit.

What if My Employer provides Adoption Assistance?

The taxpayer may be able to claim both the tax credit and an income exclusion for qualified expenses. However, you must claim any allowable exclusion before claiming any allowable credit. Expenses used for the exclusion reduce the qualified adoption expenses available for the credit. As a result, you can’t claim both a credit and an exclusion for the same expenses.

What if I Was Previously Eligible for the Adoption Tax Credit and Did Not Claim it in the Year of Eligibility?

A taxpayer may be eligible to file an amended return to claim the Adoption Tax Credit for previous years. Consult a qualified tax attorney, CPA or licensed tax professional to determine specific eligibility.

To learn more about the Adoption Tax Credit visit the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc607.

To file for the Adoption Tax Credit complete Form 8839.pdf, Qualified Adoption Expenses, using  Form 8839 Instructions. 

The information contained in this article is for general knowledge purposes only. Individuals interested in claiming any tax credit should consult a qualified tax professional to determine specific eligibility and amounts.

To learn more about the adoption laws in North Carolina, click here.

Adoption Agency A Child’s Hope Reaches 350 Placements

February 6, 2018, was a historic milestone for the adoption agency A Child’s Hope. We placed twins, which were the 349th and 350th children adopted through the agency. It was hard not to get a bit teary when I held them in my arms.

Adoption Agency Director Parker Herring and the twinsIn our first year, 2000, we placed six newborns in North Carolina from a small office in one corner of my law practice, Parker Herring Law Group, LLC. We had one part-time assistant and one part-time social worker. In 2017, A Child’s Hope placed 18 newborns and we have a full-time staff person, a part-time assistant and eight adoption counselors spread throughout the state.

A first in North Carolina, A Child’s Hope adoption agency was started by two attorneys and is still directed by an attorney today. Unlike other adoption agencies, we are not directly affiliated or tied to any faith-based organization. This means the decision of who we serve is not predicated on the mission of any specific religion.

For A Child’s Hope, our “mission” was and still is, to reduce the time and cost of adoption. After adopting my oldest son from New Mexico in 1998, his dad and I were stressed to the max emotionally and financially. His adoption cost us nearly $55,000 in 2018 money ($36,000 in 1998).

When we started the adoption agency, I would answer the birthmother hotline and be ready to drive across the state at a moment’s notice. I remember driving to one address where the young woman had her baby at home because she did not want to tell her mother she was pregnant. On the way to her apartment, I walked her through tying off his cord with a piece of string and swaddling him until I could get there.

It was also a time when I was not able to find homes in North Carolina for the African-American children, like the twins, that needed adoption. I would literally spend days calling all around the United States trying to find families for these babies. Today, it is a different story. Adoptive parents in North Carolina only see a child to call their own, not the racial or ethnic heritage of the birth parents.

It is the same for birth mothers. In 2000, placing a child with a well-qualified single parent or same-gender couple was nearly impossible. Today, birth mothers are much more open to selecting non-traditional families.

Over the years, many of the birth mothers and adoptive parents have stayed in touch. I recently heard from one birth mother who placed her child in 2004:

If I can ever help in any way, as a birth mother, I would be happy to help. … There is a strong, loving and wonderful family out there because this happened [placing my daughter up for adoption]. I can never thank them [the adoptive parents] enough for being my daughter’s family. She’s having an amazing life. The life she deserves. A Child’s Hope made that possible. Thank you for what you do. The counseling is what helped me do the best thing for my daughter. … She saved my life. Again thank you with all my heart.

So today 350th placement. Hopefully, there will be another 100 or so before I retire.

If you are a birth mother, click here to discover more about placing your child for adoption.

If you are interested in becoming adoptive parents email us at ACH@AChildsHope.com or call 919-839-8800.

Adoption Agency reaches 350 placementsA mother of three children, E. Parker Herring has a deep respect and understanding of family law and the adoption process (for which she’s adopted two children of her own). She is the founder and director of A Child’s Hope, a North Carolina licensed adoption agency, located in Raleigh that focuses on helping birthmothers and families looking to adopt within the state. A Child’s Hope has placed 350 children since 2000, and is the only North Carolina domestic adoption agency directed by an attorney. Herring is a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist who has practiced family law for nearly 30 years in the Raleigh area. She is a member of the NC Bar Association, the Wake County Bar Association, and the NC Collaborative Lawyers.

Wes & Catherine Adopt a Daughter

Wes, Catherine and son John Michael adopt a daughter. Hear about their experience as they finalize the adoption on placement day.

Before they were even married, Wes and Catherine talked about wanting to be parents and that adoption was how they were meant to grow their family. Little more than a month after they got married in 2013, John Michael came into their lives thanks to a caring, wonderful birth mother.

During their journey to adopt a second child, the couple shared:

“We know we’re very lucky to have one child. We’re not greedy. But both of us grew up with siblings and we want our son to know the joy that comes with that kind of a bond. Although our hearts are full, we both have so much more love to give a second child.”

On January 15, 2017, Wes and Catherine were able to adopt a daughter to be little sister to 4-year-old John Michael. An exceptionally touching moment was when dad helped John Michael sign big-brother documents as part of the placement day festivities.

A Child’s Hope has been helping families with adoption placement in NC since 2000, and we will be there to support you through every step. The first step for any hopeful parent or an expectant mother considering adoption is to contact A Child’s Hope. Keep up to date on all the waiting families, new placements and important adoption issues by following our Facebook page.

Choosing a Child Guardian

Why Your Schnapps-Drinking Uncle Oscar Might Not Be the Best Choice as Guardian

By Angel Simpson, Attorney

Angel Simpson, Attorney

Angel Simpson, Attorney
Parker Herring Law Group, PLLC

You love him! I mean what is there not to love? He is delightfully eccentric, has never been married, wears lederhosen to family funerals and brings his own Peppermint Schnapps to holiday functions. But is he the best choice of guardian for your child/ren? No way!

Choosing a guardian and a backup guardian for your child/ren is critically important as this person will be raising your child/ren if something happens to you. Read the following blog authored by Angel Simpson, attorney with the Parker Herring Law Group, PLLC for tips on how to choose a guardian.

How to Choose Guardian

Most people assume that if something were to happen to them, their loved ones would care for their children. However, the best way to protect your child/ren is to have a plan in place in case of an emergency. Planning ahead allows you to decide who will care for your child/ren when you are no longer here or unable to care for them yourself.

Choosing a guardian for your child/ren may not be as easy as you think. So, how does a parent determine who is the right person to care for their child/ren if they are unable? The following are some important factors that all parents must consider before making this decision:

  • Discuss: Parents need to have a conversation about planning for the future and putting legal documents in place. Parents should at least have wills that name your guardian. If you already have estate planning documents, make sure to update them when necessary, especially when you experience major life changes (children, marriage, divorce).
  • Needs: Discuss your child’s needs now and through early adulthood. Start thinking about who you would want to take care of your child/ren if you were no longer here.
  • Religion, child rearing and family values: It is important to choose a person or couple that will raise your child/ren in an environment that is similar to the one you provide for them now.
  • Ability to parent and capacity to care for your child/ren for a long time: Steer away from people who have struggled with addictions and mental health issues. Although they may love your child/ren, they may not be able to provide a stable home life for them. Also, think about age and health factors – you want to choose a guardian who will most likely be around until your child/ren is at least 18 years old, but hopefully, even longer.
  • Financial ability to care for your child: Make sure the person you choose is financially stable. They do not have to be rich – as long as you know they are capable of managing finances, you can provide life insurance if the guardian will need financial assistance.
  • Familiar with your child and your family: If something happens to you, you want your child/ren to be close to other family members for support. Choosing someone who already lives close to your family will be beneficial to the child/ren, especially if they are grieving the loss of a parent. It also helps if the guardian already knows other family members.

Once you make a decision, talk to that person about your desire for them to fill the role of guardian of your child/ren. They will most likely be honored that you chose them. On the other hand, they may have issues going on in their life that you know nothing about or they may feel they do not have the ability to parent your child/ren. If not, you will need to choose someone else. Also, discuss your choice of guardian with your family so that there are no issues or disputes down the road.

Keep in mind that one of the biggest reasons that guardians fail is parents not providing funds to support their child/ren. Make sure that you set up a life insurance policy, or some other financial support, so that the guardian can adequately care for your child/ren.

So, although you want Uncle Oscar to have a permanent place in your child’s life, he should not be the one chosen to take care of your child/ren!

Angel Simpson is an attorney with Parker Herring Law Group, PLLC. Angel represents adoption clients all over the state of North Carolina and has experience guiding clients through the adoption process, both locally and when crossing state lines (interstate adoptions). She represents both birth parents and adoptive parents. In addition to handling all types of adoptions, Angel assists clients with estate planning and guardianship matters. Angel is a 2013 graduate of North Carolina Central University School of Law.

 

Considering adoption? A Child’s Hope has been helping families wiht adoption placement in NC since 2000, and we will be there to support you through every step. The first step for any hopeful parent or an expectant mother considering adoption is to contact A Child’s Hope. Keep up to date on all the waiting families, new placements and important adoption issues by following our Facebook page.

Adoption Placement Day with Ethan & Ellen

We are so thrilled to announce the first placement of 2018 through A Child’s Hope! Ethan and Ellen welcome Octavian Levi on adoption placement day! They are so excited as he is their first child and the first grandchild in the extended family.

We were touched by one of sentiments shared by this couple during their adoption journey:

You do not need to be a perfect person or come from a perfect situation, and neither does your child. Life is hard and we’re all imperfect.  Therefore, we need to take care of each other in this life and sometimes that takes a village.  We’re in this together.

As all adoption journeys are different, you might be surprised that Ethan and Ellen haven’t struggled with infertility.  Rather, Ellen has a neuromuscular condition that is genetic.  Although it is well treated and her life is expected to be long and healthy, some people can be more strongly affected by it.  She has decided she would prefer not to pass it on to a child.  Ethan and Ellen signed with A Child’s Hope in the summer of 2017.

A Child’s Hope has been helping families with adoption placement in NC since 2000, and we will be there to support you through every step. The first step for any hopeful parent or an expectant mother considering adoption is to contact A Child’s Hope. Keep up to date on all the waiting families, new placements and important adoption issues by following our Facebook page.

Happy Holidays 2017

We are excited to share with you our video that features the children adopted through A Child’s Hope this year. In 2017, we placed 18 children with North Carolina families.

Thank you for the privilege to be part of the dream of growing families through adoption. The meaningful work the agency does would not be possible without the willing adoptive parents, trusting birth parents, our excellent adoption counselors, and the many healthcare professionals who work with us across the state on a daily basis.

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Envia Un Texto: (919) 218-6270

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396