Education

10 Great Reads to Spark the Holiday Spirit

Reading is one of the great pleasures, especially during the holidays. With kids in holiday jammies, sometimes there’s nothing better than kicking back in your favorite spot at home with a celebrated book in hand. A Child’s Hope has a few names up our sleeves of favorites our families have shared throughout the years, add these to all the traditional titles. We know that representation matters, and love that Santa comes in many different colors. Snuggle up with your favorite books this year, and soak in the holiday spirit with family and friends.

  1. A World of Cookies for Santa
  2. I got the Christmas Spirit
  3. All the Colors of Christmas
  4. Walk this World at Christmastime
  5. Lil’ Rabbits Kwanzaa
  6. Queen is Hanukkah Dosas
  7. ‘Twas Nochebuena
  8. The Night before Christmas
  9. Let’s Celebrate! Special Days Around the World
  10. A Very Noisy Christmas

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 450 children since 2000 and is the only North Carolina domestic adoption agency directed by an attorney. Herring has practiced for more than 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.

Shining a Light on Adoption: Celebrating Adoption Awareness Month

November is a special month that shines a spotlight on a journey that forever changes lives – adoption. It’s a time when communities, adoption agencies, and families come together to celebrate Adoption Awareness Month. At A Child’s Hope, we are deeply committed to supporting and promoting the beautiful and loving process of adoption. In this Article, we explore the significance of Adoption Awareness Month, its impact on families, and the importance of advocating for the welfare of babies in need of loving families.

Understanding Adoption Awareness Month

Adoption Awareness Month, also known as National Adoption Month, has been celebrated since 1976. Its primary aim is to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for children waiting in the foster care system, but it also serves to honor all forms of adoption and the incredible journeys it entails. Many of the children placed through the agency were at risk for Department of Social Services intervention as they grew older were they not placed for adoption. 

The Heart of Adoption: Building Families

Adoption is an extraordinary journey of love, hope, and resilience. For birth parents, it may involve making a deeply emotional and selfless decision to provide a secure and loving home for their child. For adoptive families, it’s the fulfillment of a dream to nurture and raise a child, making the child an integral part of their family.

Supporting Birth Parents and Adoptive Families

At A Child’s Hope, we recognize that the path to adoption is a unique and often emotional journey for birth parents and adoptive families. We are dedicated to offering guidance, support, and expert assistance to help all parties involved make the best decisions for themselves and their children.

The Miracle of Family through Adoption

Adoption creates families that defy cultural, racial, and geographical boundaries. It underscores the belief that family is built on love and acceptance, regardless of differences. Adoptive families come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds, beautifully reflecting a diverse society.

Myths Debunked: The Truth about Adoption

Let’s dispel some common myths about adoption:

  1. Adoption is not a second-best choice: It’s a deliberate, wonderful way to grow a family.

  2. Adoption isn’t just for couples facing infertility: It’s open to anyone with the capacity to provide love, care, and stability to a child.

  3. Adoption isn’t a one-time event: It’s an ongoing journey filled with joy, challenges, and personal growth.

The Importance of Open Adoption

Open adoption, a concept gaining popularity, emphasizes maintaining varying degrees of contact and communication between birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted children. This approach fosters trust, understanding, and a strong sense of identity for the child. Children placed in open adoption do not have to fervently search for their biological parents as they grow older because the birth family and the adoptive family have been in touch since the beginning.

Get Involved: Make a Difference

Adoption Awareness MonthAdoption Awareness Month is not only about celebrating adoption but also about making a tangible difference in the lives of children in need of loving homes. You can:

  • Become an Advocate: Raise awareness about adoption in your community.
  • Consider Adoption: If you’ve ever thought about adoption, now might be the perfect time to explore this journey. Learn more about A Child’s Hope, click here.
  • Support Birth Parents: Empower and support birth parents in their courageous choices.

Adoption Awareness Month is an opportunity to honor the remarkable journey of adoption and the extraordinary families it creates. It’s a time to dispel myths, raise awareness, and encourage more families to open their hearts to the gift of family through adoption. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and parents, ensuring that every child finds a loving and nurturing forever home.

Citations and References:

  1. Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2021). National Adoption Month.
  2. Adoption Council. (2021). National Adoption Month 2021.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month: Supporting Mothers and Families on Their Healing Journey

October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month, a solemn time to recognize mothers who have experienced the profound loss of a pregnancy or an infant. The grief associated with such losses are immeasurable, and it is important to extend support and empathy. What are ways we can offer meaningful support to mothers and families who have endured the heartbreak of losing their babies. 

Understanding the Grief of Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Pregnancy and infant loss encompass a range of experiences, including miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, and infant loss due to various health complications. Each of these losses brings its own unique challenges and complexities. Grieving mothers may go through a rollercoaster of emotions, from sadness and guilt to anger and isolation. Acknowledging and respecting these feelings is the first step in providing meaningful support.  

Resources in NC for Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month Matters

Recognizing this month helps create a safe and open space for mothers to share their stories, connect with others who have gone through similar losses, and educate the broader community about the importance of sensitivity and empathy in such difficult circumstances. 

Ways to Extend Support to Grieving Mothers 

  1. Listen Actively: Sometimes, the most powerful support is the gift of a listening ear. Encourage grieving mothers to share their thoughts and emotions without judgment or interruption. Being present and allowing those to express their feelings can be profoundly comforting. 
  1. Choose Words Carefully: Be mindful of your choice of words when interacting with a grieving mother. Avoid clichés or statements that might unintentionally trivialize her pain. Instead, offer words of sympathy and comfort, such as “I’m here for you” and “I’m so sorry for your loss.” 
  1. Remember Significant Dates: Mark important dates like the due date or the anniversary of the loss and reach out to the mother on those days. A simple message or a thoughtful gesture can provide solace during these particularly challenging times. 
  1. Respect Their Healing Process: Grief is a highly individualized journey, and there is no set timetable for healing. Understand that the grieving process can be prolonged and that emotions may resurface unexpectedly. Offer ongoing support, even as time passes. 
  1. Connect to Resources: Inform mothers about available resources such as support groups, therapists, and online communities dedicated to helping parents who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. Professional help can provide valuable assistance in the healing process. 
  1. Assist with Practical Matters: Offer help with everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, or childcare to alleviate some of the burdens that grieving mothers may face. Acts of kindness can go a long way in showing your support. 
  1. Create a Memorial: Encourage mothers to create a tangible memorial for their baby, whether it’s a special garden, a photo album, or a personalized keepsake. This can provide a meaningful way for them to honor their child’s memory. 

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month remind us of the significance of supporting grieving mothers and families as they navigate the challenging journey of loss. By offering empathy, compassion, and practical assistance, we can help these mothers heal and honor the memory of their beloved babies. Let us embrace this month as an opportunity to raise awareness, promote understanding, and extend a helping hand to those who need it most, citing valuable resources along the way. 

Sources:

https://www.tcf.org.uk/resources/LP02Helping-Bereaved-Parents-C12-R1601.pdf

https://americanpregnancy.org/

https://stillstandingmag.com/category/dealing-with-others-in-grief/supporting-a-friend-after-loss/

https://nationalshare.org

https://www.marchofdimes.org/

https://ideas.hallmark.com/articles/baby-ideas/what-to-say-when-a-friend-loses-a-baby-messages-of-love-and-support/

https://pregnancyafterlosssupport.org

Baby Safety Month: Top Tips for Ensuring Infant Safety

September is Baby Safety Month! We will explore 4 tips for keeping your baby safe.

     1. Safe Sleep Practices

Creating a safe sleep environment is fundamental for your infant’s safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following guidelines for safe sleep:

  • Alone: Always place your baby in their crib, bassinet, or portable crib alone, with no pillows, blankets, or toys.
  • Back: Lay your baby on their back for all sleep times to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Crib: Ensure your baby’s sleep space meets safety standards, including a firm and flat mattress.

 

     2. Childproof Your Home

Childproofing your home is essential as your baby grows more mobile. Watch for broken toys, make sure the pieces are larger in size. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a comprehensive guide to childproofing your home, covering topics like preventing falls, securing furniture, and keeping hazardous items out of reach. Preventing your baby from choking on small objects is at the top of the list. And, remember soft snacks only that are easy to swallow.

     

    3. Car Seat Safety and Baby Gates

Proper car seat use is non-negotiable for infant safety during travel. Look up resources in your local community for help if you have questions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides guidelines on selecting and installing the right car seat and keeping your child rear-facing for as long as recommended.  As your baby begins to crawl, Baby gates can be heavily employed to keep babies away from the many things that pose hazards to them – drawers with sharp objects, rooms with open electrical sockets, pools, and more.

    4. Regular Check ups

Don’t forget regular pediatric check-ups are essential for your baby’s well-being. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a schedule of well-child visits to monitor your baby’s growth and development.

 

Baby Safety Month is a time to recommit ourselves to the safety and well-being of our infants. Whether you are adopting a newborn or welcoming a baby into your family by birth, these safety tips are crucial to a secure environment. Prioritizing safety allows you to fully enjoy the joys of parenthood while giving your child the best possible start in life.

Adoption Books for Kids – Little Miss Spider

It’s never too early to talk to your little one about being adopted, and there are some great children’s books out there to help. One of our favorites is Little Miss Spider. In the book, Little Miss Spider learns that family is about love, not what you look like.  On the very first day of Miss Spider’s life, she pops out of her egg to find her brothers and sisters scooting all around her. But where is her mother? Lucky for Little Miss Spider, kind and caring Betty Beetle is there to fill the role. Storyteller and artist David Kirk has brilliantly created a lively and sweet adoption story in which Miss Spider searches high and low before happily discovering that a mother’s love can come from many sources.

The story is also available on YouTube or you can check it out on Amazon.

Some of the questions your child will ask may be difficult, but if you plan ahead, those difficult conversations will become incredible bonding experiences.

Celebrating Black History Month with Kids

Black History Month ACHEach February, National Black History Month serves as both a celebration and a powerful reminder that Black history is American history, Black culture is American culture, and Black stories are essential to the ongoing story of America — our faults, our struggles, our progress, and our aspirations. 

Parents.com offers resources to talk to kids about the history of people of African descent and pay tribute to the many achievements of Black individuals.

There are a wide variety of books available by age on Amazon.

Read the Full Article at: Parents.com

Great Parenting Books for Waiting Families

By E. Parker Herring

All expectant parents, including adoptive parents, must prepare for a new baby. Parenting books come in a variety of styles and formats. One author might not appeal to you, while another author’s style and layout you may find very readable.

Recommendations from my library of parenting books:

Touchpointsseries by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton M.D., revised by Dr. Joshua D. Sparrow M.D.
This is a two-book collection – “Birth to Three” and “Three to Six.” Dr. Brazelton was a Harvard medical professor and Director of the Children’s Hospital in Boston. The fully updated second edition by Dr. Sparrow includes informative sections on fathering and co-sleeping as well as general childcare.

When I started parenting 22 years ago a good friend of mine told me to pick up Dr. Brazelton’s Touchpoints. She said the large print and easily marked age sections would make it easy to find just the section I need when I become bleary-eyed from sleep deprivation. She was right. It’s still a great book for new parents and it has been updated and completely revised since its original printing in 1992.

What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff
This bestselling classic was originally published in 1962. Now in its third edition, it recently went through a line-by-line update. While there are many used versions available, I highly recommend purchasing the recent third edition.

Your Baby and Child by Dr. Penelope Leach
This childcare book has sold over two million copies and is very easy to read. Dr. Leach was educated at Cambridge and is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, as well as a founding member of the UK Branch of the World Association for Infant Mental Health. She is a strong advocate of reading to newborns, toddlers and all ages.

Between Parent and Child by Dr. Haim G. Ginott
This book has been recently revised by the author’s wife, psychologist Dr. Alice Ginott. It talks about how parenting is a skill that anyone can learn. It offers advice on how to respond properly to your child including how to discipline without making threats, punishment or bribes or sarcasm; how to criticize without being demeaning; and how to acknowledge your child’s feelings.

The No-Cry Sleep Solutionseries by Elizabeth Pantley
This is a three-book collection – “The No-Cry Sleep Solution,” “The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns” and “The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers.” These are must-have books for new parents, as the one thing everyone wants for themselves and their child is sleep, beautiful, wonderful sleep.

On that note, the calming sound of a parent’s voice can often be this the best way to quite a child. Reading “Good Night Moon aloud always put my kids to sleep.

Take it easy and don’t let the reading list overwhelm you. You don’t have to read the books cover to cover before your child arrives. Nevertheless, you should start by reading the sections on newborn care while waiting to become parents. Leave the remaining chapters as your child grows.

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 birth mothers and families looking to adopt. A Child’s Hope has placed nearly 450 children since 2000 and is the only North Carolina domestic adoption agency directed by an attorney. 
**The links shared in this article are for the convenience of the user to preview the books online. A Child’s Hope is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse any specific retailer.

Top Adoption Myths, Busted

By E. Parker Herring

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.

Six Questions About Placing a Child for Adoption During the Coronavirus

Q. Are adoptions still happening in NC?

A. Yes. In most counties of North Carolina are allowing filings the courts are now open, doing virtual hearings as needed.

Q. Will I be all alone at the hospital?

A. In North Carolina, we see hospitals allowing only the pregnant woman and ONE support person in the labor and delivery room. The adoptive parents are being allowed to care for the child during hospitalization after passing COVID protocols.

Q. Is there financial assistance for mothers during COVID-19?

A. Yes, we are offering more support. There are additional stressors on birth mothers due to unemployment and other critical logistics, such as fewer Uber drivers providing transportation services.

We can be flexible in how financial support is provided. We pay landlords directly, hotels by the week, and can even offer some housing expense reimbursement to your relatives if they take you in during your pregnancy.

When an Uber is not available, we are offering gas money/cards to reimburse friends or family members who provide transportation.

In addition, North Carolina law allows up to six weeks of support after delivery. So, we can help you get situated after you leave the hospital.

Q. When should I reach out to an agency about adoption for my baby?

A private adoption plan gives you choices about the family, as well as contact details between you, the family and the child as they grow.

The more notice an agency has, the more help we can give in terms of answering questions and making the process go smoothly. But, we will gladly work with you on an adoption plan at any time. We can quickly respond when childbirth is imminent, matching you with one of the nearly two dozen waiting families ready to bring a child into their home.

If you suspect that the Department of Social Services may get involved after your child is born because you are homeless or the baby may test positive for drugs, we encourage you to make your adoption plan as soon as possible, before delivery. Once DSS is involved, it is harder to make a private adoption plan and have choices regarding the family that cares for your child.

Q. Can I safely find and meet with the adopting parents?

A. Birth mothers traditionally locate an adoption agency or adoptive parent profiles through the internet. Fortunately, the internet is Coronavirus safe. All of our waiting families are listed on our website for birth parents to review. See the Family Profiles page.

At A Child’s Hope, we provide three ways for birth mothers to contact us. They call the pregnancy hotline at 877-890-4673, text Pregnant to 919-971-5663, or email admin@achildshope.com. The hotline operator then communicates with the birth mother and talks her through the process.

After the initial discussion, one of our eight adoption counselors spread throughout the state works with the mother. They communicate via phone, meet virtually, as well as arrange in-person meetings. We ask that masks and worn, but we can meet.

We provide the same options for match meetings with adoptive parents. They can occur virtually or in-person practicing proper social distancing and wearing masks.

Q: Ready to Learn More?

A: Call the pregnancy hotline TODAY at 877-890-4673, text Pregnant to 919-971-5663, or email admin@achildshope.com.

For guidance on better mental health during the pandemic, check out these resources:

Ark Behavioral Health

rehab4addiction

AddictionResources.net

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Envia Un Texto: (919) 218-6270

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396