Adoption

Top Adoption Myths, Busted

The most common concerns I hear from birth mothers regarding adoption are concerns about the child feeling abandonment or resentment toward their birth mother, and also whether adoptive parents have the capacity to love adopted children as much as they would a biological child. These seem like logical questions at first, unless you’ve worked with adoptive families for years. The length that these families go through to adopt — the expense, the work, and the time that these families invest in the process — is reflective of a very strong desire for a family.  And the absolute joy in their hearts when they are matched with a child is nothing short of extraordinary. These children are the most wanted, adored, and loved on the planet!

As open adoptions have become the norm for our agency, we encourage birth mothers to communicate with the child over the years. The best way for you to assure that your child knows that you love him is to give the adoptive parents something – a letter or a life book – that will show your love and express how you feel. Then continue to follow up over the years, and the child will be assured that you never forgot them, and only want the best for them.

The U.S. Department of Health and Services has posted the latest adoption statistics taken from the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP). This is the first empirical study with quantifiable evidence that can be used to combat common misconceptions that prospective birth parents and adoptive families have about adoption. These adoption statistics prove many of the more widespread misconceptions to be false.

General Adoption Misconceptions vs. Adoption Statistics

Misconception: “Will the adopted child be loved as much as a biological child?”

This is a very natural feeling that both the adoptive family and birth parents share before entering into an adoption. Any fears of the adoptive family not loving a child simply because it doesn’t have their genes are immediately eliminated as soon as the adoptive parents first lay eyes on their baby. This is true in nearly every single adoption.

Look no further than how the adoptive parents interact with the adopted child: Nearly 3 out of every 4 adopted children ages 0-5 are read to or sang to every day, compared with only half of non-adopted children who receive the same attention from their biological parents. Furthermore, well over half of all adopted children eat dinner with their families at least six days per week. 

It’s no surprise that the adoption statistics show how much adoptive parents cherish the time they have with their children. They appreciate every day the opportunity to be a mom and a dad, and it shows.

They are the first ones at their son’s soccer practice, and they are in the front row of their daughter’s play. Their lives quite literally revolve around their children.

At first glance, the statistic about the majority of adopted children being read to every day may not seem like much, but looking further into the stat gives a glimpse into what adoptive parents are all about. Couples who struggle with infertility gain an astounding appreciation for the gift of parenthood. Adoption presents the couple with another chance to reclaim their dreams of raising a child, and it shows in the little things, such as reading to him or her before bed.

Another national adoption statistic says that 9 out of every 10 adoptive couples said the relationship they share with their adopted child is “very close,” and nearly half said that their relationship is even “better than expected.” Also, more than 9 out of every 10 people said they would “definitely” make the same decision to adopt again.

These statistics are remarkable considering all of the special needs babies that are adopted and the other complexities that may occur through adoption. These statistics proves that no matter how difficult the adoption process can be emotionally, the end result is what matters and that the family unequivocally loves the child.

Birth Mother Misconceptions vs. Adoption Statistics

Misconception: “My child will hate me because I placed her for adoption.”

This feeling is a consequence of people and media that are inexperienced in adoption. An extended family member or a friend who may not agree with the pregnant woman’s desire to place her child for adoption may say that the child will hate her if she goes through with it. Similarly, some television shows and movies have unjustly portrayed adoptees in this way as well.

The adoption statistic shows that over 90 percent of adopted children ages 5 and older have positive feelings about their adoption. Most adopted children are raised in happy homes by loving adoptive parents, so why would an adopted child hate his birth parents, the ones who provided him with a great life and his mom and dad?

Recently we posted a blog by a woman who shared her journey as an adopted child, speaking of the love that she felt for her adoptive mother, who she knew only as “Mom.” It’s a beautiful testament to the bond between mother and child that has little to do with biology, and everything to do with love.

For more, read about how Scott and Jennifer feel about their birth parents.

Birth mothers who are considering placing their child for adoption, are encouraged to contact A Child’s Hope on our 24-hour hotline at 877-890-4673 or text “pregnant” to 919-971-4396. Our compassionate counselors can listen and provide the information you need to make the best decision for you and your child.

Every Child Deserves a Chance

Hudson, A Special Needs MiracleThree-year-old Hudson had a blast in school today. A bit of a miracle if you know his story.

After a normal pregnancy, full term and weighing in at 7 pounds and 11 ounces, Hudson’s difficulties began right after birth. Born on June 21, 2013, he immediately had trouble eating. Hudson was in the NICU for a total of 67 days as a newborn. He survived kidney and heart failure, had heart and GI surgery, and endured numerous procedures.

Hudson’s mother discussed her situation with her hair stylist. Subsequently, the stylist introduced her to another client, Marcy.

Marcy and her husband, Philip, have one child, Tyler, now 12. Since Tyler’s birth, Marcy had not been able to conceive again. She struggled with several miscarriages, and years of infertility. With the assistance of Parker Herring, on April 23, 2014, Hudson became the second child of Marcy and Phillip, and Tyler’s little brother.

Marcy, Phillip and Tyler’s journey with Hudson has been difficult at times, but he has been a joy. Hudson will be four this June. There have been many long days and times when his parents and his big brother did not think he would survive. But Hudson defies the odds. He works hard every day at physical, speech and occupational therapy. He also has feeding therapy, and his parents still take him to UNC for GI and ENT exams.

Hudson, a boy with special needsAt one point, physicians told Marcy and Phillip that Hudson would, most likely, never walk, talk or even hear speech. Nevertheless, today Hudson is walking. He can hear and understand what is said to him. Albeit slow, he is developing verbal skills. Hudson is a loving, sweet child. The journey has been difficult at times. Marcy says what is most special about Hudson is his personality.

There are many ways to show a child that you love and care for him/her as they grow. Sometimes it means admitting you need help. For Hudson, that help came in the form of an adoptive family.

Marcy, Phillip and Tyler are not the only family willing and able to care for a child with special needs.  If you need help, reach out for the help you need. If you know someone in need or want additional information, contact A Child’s Hope at (877) 890-4673

Learn more about adopting a child whit special needs.

 

parker-herring-raleigh-adoption-lawyer-attorneyParker Herring is a Board-Certified Family Law Attorney and Director of the NC-based adoption agency, A Childs Hope. In this blog, she shares a powerful story about how a special child can be the greatest blessing.

A 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. A Child’s Hope has placed 315 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’s a member of the NC Bar Association, the Wake County Bar Association, and the NC Collaborative Lawyers.

When a Child Needs a Home

By E. Parker Herring

Older children placed in forever homes in an open adoption.

All mothers who make the difficult decision to place a newborn child for adoption should be praised and supported for their selfless decision to do what is best for their children.  From both parenting experience and circumstances, the same holds true of women who have concluded that what is best for the child is to place with a family who can better provide for their child’s physical and emotional needs.

Time and time again, we have seen women place older children for adoption and the outcome is positive.  Many of them have cared for the child for months or years trying to hold on in situations that are dire.

Take for example 28-year-old Maria who came to the U.S. from Mexico. She had a toddler and learned soon after arrival she was pregnant again. She had lived in poverty with a relative in a rural area.  She had no transportation and rarely left the place she was living. She started considering adoption right after she gave birth, and ultimately placed her daughter when she was nine months old. 

Her daughter is thriving, and she has toys and books and clothes— things her mother struggled to provide. The child now has the love of two mothers and a father, and you can feel how much they all love each other. Birthmother Maria has an open adoption and receives pictures from the adoptive parents.

The story is similar for a 16-month-old placed for adoption by her parents also through Raleigh’s A Childs Hope. This young couple struggled to care for their daughter for the first year of her life. They were married, but homeless and jobless.  DSS was involved as they were not able to secure housing.  “We knew it was just a matter of time before she was taken from us,” her biological father said. “We wanted what was best for her and to choose the family she would be raised by.”

After careful consideration, the young parents placed their daughter in an open adoption with a loving couple who had struggled to have a family.  The little girl transitioned over time to her new home.

“She walked into our lives almost seamlessly,” said her adoptive mother.  “She is a loving and independent little girl who knows all about her adoption story and talks openly about it.”

A Child’s Hope focuses on newborn placements, but sometimes sees older children like the ones shared. Parents place them because they cannot fully provide the life they wanted for their child and make the difficult decision to place the child for adoption.  We know how challenging these placements are for the birth parents. These adoptions are almost always open adoptions so that the birth parents can stay in touch over the years.

The agency also has placed a six-month-old boy.  His mother was not in a relationship with the biological father and was entering the military.  He joined a family that already had two little girls.  “He was immediately welcomed by his sisters,” said his adoptive father. “We can’t imagine our family without him.”

The next story is about Christian, a two-year-old.  His mother contacted A Child’s Hope explaining she could no longer care for him and was suffering from ongoing loss and pain. The biological father lived in Mexico, and Christian had a twin that died at birth.

In her grief, the birth mother was not able to bond with Christian. In this case, one of the waiting couples had previously adopted a Hispanic boy, now 16-years-old. Upon the introduction, both boys started bonding almost immediately, and today continue to be close.  

“They do everything together, whether its fishing or biking or playing in the water,” said their mom. “We know that these boys have each other for life.” 

Many families contact us wanting to know, “How do I adopt a child in North Carolina?” While A Child’s Hope focuses primarily on domestic infant adoption, we have placed older children through our agency as in the cases we talked about. We help birth mothers make adoption plans for their infants, toddlers, and children as old as 8-years-old.

If you are interested in learning more, click here.

 

Surviving the Holidays When Pregnant

The holidays are full of emotions, even more so when experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Friends and family that you may not have seen in a while may have questions or well-meaning advice. Preparing yourself ahead of time can help relieve some of the stress during these encounters.

Three tips to help you survive the holidays:

  1. Role-play with your adoption counselor some of the scenarios you might encounter.
  2. Spend as much time as possible with supportive friends and family.
  3. If you are matched with a family, connect with them and talk about the beautiful life planned for your baby.

Remember you are in control. You do not need to tell anyone anything you do not want to, and you can excuse yourself from conversations if you are feeling uncomfortable. 

Placing an Older Child for Adoption Podcast

Our own Parker Herring is the featured guest of a podcast called Time Out with Tinseltown Mom. The founder and editor Tirralan talks to Parker about the adoption process when the child is not a newborn. She shares with Tirralan about a situation when a parent wants to give an older child up for adoption and complete adoption process.

Parker Herring is a board-certified family law specialist with more than 25 years of experience. Parker is the director of A Child’s Hope, a domestic, North Carolina adoption agency, plus she’s the founder and managing member of Parker Herring Law Group, PLLC.

Click here to listen to the podcast on TinseltownMom.com.

 

Tales of Adopting During COVID

For more than a year, the COVID pandemic has plagued our daily lives. Those working in and with the medical community have seen some of the most severe challenges, including bringing babies into the world.

Here at A Child’s Hope, we have been on the front lines working with hospitals, birth mothers and adopting families to comply with the ever-changing safety recommendations and make sure adoptions still happen in NC.

We recently asked a couple of our adopting families about their experience. Here is what they had to say:

Q:        How did the COVID restrictions change this adoption experience for you?

A:         Bryan & Camille – COVID precautions made the process feel very prescriptive or cold (for lack of a better word). While we had the opportunity to meet our birth mother over the phone using zoom, I feel that first interaction would have felt more connected if we could have met in person. Our birth mother is very quiet and keeps to herself.

Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for our birth mother, she had a health issue (food poisoning) that gave us the opportunity be of extra help and support for her, which showed our commitment. It also allowed us to have time to get to know her better, building her trust in us. If she hadn’t gotten sick, I don’t think we have the same relationship we have today. She allowed me to be her support person during her illness, but it left Bryan out of the entire experience. 

A:         Adam & Kate – Jake is the second child we’ve adopted. We found out about Jake a week after the shutdown started. The hospital had just closed to all visitors, with the only exception being the children’s wards. At that time, they were only letting in one parent per child, and it had to be the same parent each time. So, Adam stayed in a hotel down the street and drove me back and forth for the visits…which were is where I spent much of each day and night while Jake was in the NCIU. We were fortunate that Grandma was able to look after Anthony during the week-long hospital stay.

The first time Adam met Jake was when he pulled up to the curb on discharge day. There was no place to park, so Adam had to load Jake in the back quickly and drive off. We drove directly to A Child’s Hope, where Jake promptly fell asleep. So, Adam didn’t get to hold Jake until we got all the way home (another 2 hours after we finished the adoption paperwork).

Since the courts were shut down, our paperwork was filed, but it took a while to get processed. Other than that, the experience wasn’t much different from our adoption of Anthony. However, there were some significant differences in how our family functioned during those first few weeks/months/year.

 

Q:        What are you going to tell your baby about being born during COVID?

A:         Bryan & Camille – I don’t have a single clue. I don’t see us dwelling on the virus much. If anything, I see us joking about it and explaining how difficult it made life. It wouldn’t be fair to Simone to focus on what we couldn’t do or who couldn’t see her. That could make her feel like we were placing blame on her for something she couldn’t help.

Instead, I think we will talk about excitedly waiting for her arrival. Being surprised that she would come early, seeing her being born, how nervous and excited we were and how we couldn’t wait to meet her.

A:         Adam & Kate – We will tell Jake that the whole world stopped because he was born ― He was born on March 13th, the day the shutdown started. 😉 In all honesty, we are going to tell him that COVID ended up being quite a blessing for our family.

Adam and I were forced to work remotely, and 3-year-old Anthony was home from daycare for five months. This allowed me to continue working without taking parental leave. Then in October, when Jake was getting mobile and starting some therapies, I was able to take childcare leave and focus on Jake 100%. This flexibility allowed our family to be there for Jake when he needed us the most. It also gave us a lot of bonding time, growing tight as a family.

Looking for a Baby? We Found Three.

Jesse and Brittany’s Adoption Story

Jesse and Brittany started 2021 off with triplets and grandparents (Brittany’s mom and stepfather) moving in.

The young married couple has served as foster parents in Montgomery County, N.C. They watched many foster children come in and out of their home from all over the state. While they loved being fostering, they desperately wanted to be parents permanently.

“We always talked about the idea of adoption and became home study approved, licensed foster parents for up to three children. We had no idea when we began this journey what we were getting ourselves into, the connections we would make, and how our lives would forever change,” Brittany said.

After three foster placements, a total of 7 children, the house was quiet again. In Brittany’s words, “We don’t wake up for midnight bottles, the grass is mowed on time and I have time to ride my horses that I didn’t before. It freaking SUCKS.”

More than just missing the activity, noise and laughter, Jesse and Brittany missed loving and caring for young people. They understood the goal in fostering is NOT adoption; it is ALWAYS to provide a safe home for kids until they can reunify with their birth families. “But you can’t help but fall in love and secretly pray that they never ever have to go away,” Brittany added.

The couple reflected on how Jesse’s older brother and his wife made a social media post, it went viral, eventually helping them meet a birth mom who would give them the most loving and selfless gift anyone could ever give, their daughter. They decided to give it a try themselves.

They joined Facebook groups where waiting parents and expectant mothers can join to match up. The problem Brittany found was when an expectant mamma posted, within minutes, there were overwhelming responses by the hundreds from couples across the entire United States.

What stood out to her was that everyone is posting the best versions of themselves. “They all seemed so perfect and while I understand they were trying to show potential birth mom’s their suitability (like a job interview almost) to raise a child placed in their care, I imagine to a mom who is scared and stressed and unsure of herself that these perfect profiles could come across as unrelatable or even make her feel worse about her own position,” Brittany shared. “How can you compete with exotic travel and mansions and all the other things these amazing couples were offering? How can a bio mom narrow down her choices and pick just one family?”

So, Jesse and Brittany tried something different. They began making posts that gave a look into their day-to-day “crazy lives.”Brittany adds, “we wanted to show birth mammas that we don’t totally have everything figured out but that that is okay.”

They posted things like, “We’re stinky farmers most of the time, raising dairy goats, cattle and horses. We pile laundry in the corner sometimes because we are overworked and hate folding, and we clean in a hurry before the cleaning lady arrives, so she doesn’t think we are total pigs. We try to be good people and do the right thing, but we often make mistakes and less than perfect decisions. Jesse and I are trying to figure out this scary world of adulting just like everyone else. Our home is chaotic but overflowing with love and this child will always be our priority in life.”

They would also post about experiences they had as foster parents, such as, “our second placement, was THREE little girls, ages 4, 2 and 9 months (our first placement was two girls, one 10 and the other 9 months). ‘Oh, what’s one more kid’ Right? -WRONG-. We did NOT have two kids before. We had one kid and one tiny adult who could bathe and dress herself. These three were a totally different ballgame. This was Jumanji Level 2. They were fast and they were friendly to EVERYONE including strangers at the store…We needed LEASHES…But they were amazing. Three car seats to buckle in every morning, three girls to dress and do ponytails and put bows on, three dinner plates and three simultaneous snuggles watching movies together.”

The result of their self-marketing efforts was a friend of a friend of a friend putting them in contact with their birth mom, a 35-year-old woman who was expecting triplets. The babies were born prematurely, at 29 weeks, on December 17, two boys and a girl weighing 2 pounds 5 oz, 1 pound 4 oz, and 1 pound 2 oz.

Brittany had been texting back and forth with the birth mother and who finally invited Jesse and Brittany to visit her. On the way, Brittany and Jesse stopped and got the mom a pizza and a chocolate milkshake because they knew she had been craving them after luke-warm hospital food. They opened themselves up to the birth mother sharing their home life and how they felt they could give the triplets a wonderful life.

Relieved, the birth mother decided she wanted Jesse and Brittany to raise her babies. On December 28, the birth mother met with adoption counselor Kelly Dunbar of A Child’s Hope to sign documents for all three babies to be placed with Jesse and Brittany. The birth father signed the next week separately.

At the time of this blog posting, the three angels, Henry, Holly, and Hayden, are spending several weeks in the hospital until they can bottle feed and maintain their temperatures and other vitals without assistance. In addition, Brittany’s parents are moving into the guesthouse to help settle in and care for the babies.

Premature birth comes with added hospital costs as well as the risk that one or more children may have special needs. There are also the added expenses associated with traveling two-hours each way to and from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, expanding their small arsenal of baby supplies, as well as the costs of adopting and raising three babies. Jesse and Brittany were hoping for one child but had no hesitation when these three needed parents, and they are ready for the challenge.

To help with medical expenses and the added cost of adoption, Jesse and Brittany have set up a Go Fund Me Page – https://www.gofundme.com/manage/triple-blessings-holy-cow-we-adopted-3-babies.

Also, part of the agency adoption process included making sure they qualify, if they need to apply, for adoption assistance, Medicaid coverage for the triplets and up to $2,400 per child per year for therapy and other services that may be required to address special needs.

2020 a Year to Remember

With November celebrating National Adoption Month, I cannot help but think back to the changes I have witnessed in the 20 years and 399 babies placed with loving families. Our next placement will be a milestone of 400 adoptions.  Children are flourishing, several have graduated high school and are going on to college. Some are excelling in sports, others in music and art, and still others in academic pursuits.

Progress not Perfection in Adoption

The most significant change over the years has been how the stigma of adoption has diminished. While some stigma still exists, great strides have been made with adoption being more openly discussed in a positive manner within family and community settings.

As a result, more single parents and same-sex couples can adopt. It is also easier to place children of color. When the agency first started, I would spend days looking for families to adopt African American and multi-racial children. Today, Caucasian families are more willing to adopt and welcome a child of a different race. In addition, more families of color and interracial couples are interested in adopting.

Another change relates to privacy issues. In the early years, closed or semi-open adoptions were the norm. Now, almost all of our adoptions are “open” with birth parents and the adopting families staying connected after placement. Some of these go beyond information exchange or planned updates to include scheduled visits by the birth parents with the child and adoptive family.

COVID and Adoption

While this milestone year has been one of great joy and success, it has also come with some challenges. COVID has impacted us all and will continue to affect adoption into 2021. It has not stopped the need for adoption. However, the Coronavirus has changed some of the events and circumstances that lead to birth parents choosing adoption as the best life for their child. It has also changed the process of adoption.

In March 2020, hospitals began restricting access to the delivery room and the baby. For four months, we struggled to get into hospitals and obtain signatures on documents. In the early days of safety protocols, we had three adoptive fathers who did not see their newborn until the baby was discharged from the hospital into the parking lot. Today, many hospitals still restrict visitation with the birth mother and baby to only one of the adoptive parents.

We have also had to change almost every step of our adoption process, which is heavily dependent on people meeting and making a connection with one another. We have become creative using video calls, public parks, and parking lots. While we can hold some meetings in the office today, we are conscious to follow a strict routine of wiping down surfaces, limiting the number of people, providing hand sanitizer, wearing masks or rubber gloves, as well as spreading out in the conference room.

Despite the struggles of 2020, I am venturing into the new year with hope and gratitude. The world is becoming more embracing and supportive of adoption. There is greater diversity in the types of families able to adopt. Birth parents are finding comfort in the ability to stay connected with the child as they grow. And, the children are becoming remarkable human beings. 

About Author E. Parker Herring:
Parker Herring has a deep respect and understanding of family law and the adoption process, through which she adopted two of her children. She is the founder and director of A Child’s Hope, a North Carolina licensed adoption agency located in Raleigh that focuses on helping birth mothers and families looking to adopt and answer questions about adoption. A Child’s Hope has placed nearly 400 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 for 35 years in the Raleigh area. She is a member of the N.C. Bar Association, Wake County Bar Association, and N.C. Collaborative Lawyers.

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