Family

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 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.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month

Families Created on A Child's HopeWhat is National Adoption Month?

National Adoption Month is a month to encourage others to learn about adoption and to acknowledge the people whose lives have been impacted by adoption. The mission of National Adoption Month is to celebrate the families who have grown through adoption, and to recognize the many children who are still waiting for forever families.

 

Why do we celebrate National Adoption Month?

Overall, we celebrate National Adoption Month to shine a national spotlight light on adoption. More
specifically, we celebrate to:

  • Honor families that have grown through adoption.
  • Recognize the hundreds of thousands of children waiting in foster care.
  • Spread awareness of adoption.
  • Advocate for the wellbeing and future of children in foster care.

When did National Adoption Month start?

Every year, more and more children require secure and safe families. National Adoption Month draws
light on the adoption process and its positive effects.

In 1976, Massachusetts was the first state to promote adoption-related actions. Governor Mike Dukakis declared the first week of November “Adoption Week” to raise awareness of the need for adoptive homes for foster children. The concept gradually gained traction and extended across the country. Following this, President Gerald R. Ford declared adoption week a national holiday in 1984. As the week’s popularity expanded, more states began to participate, and it became challenging to fit all of the events into seven days. This was the year that President Bill Clinton expanded the week-long event into a month-long celebration known as National Adoption Month, which is now observed worldwide.

National Adoption Month is a time for everyone to celebrate adoption: individuals, families, businesses, organizations, communities, states, and the government. Adoption is promoted as a beneficial strategy
to strengthen families and keep children out of foster care. To commemorate this month, many fundraising drives, appreciation banquets, community activities, and awareness initiatives are held
around the country.

National Adoption Month concludes on November 20 with National Adoption Day. This day is honored
in courthouses around the country, where thousands of adoptions are finalized on the Saturday
following it. On this day, courts are encouraged to deal with the backlog of adoptions. On November 9,
World Adoption Day is observed as a day of global awareness for this essential topic.

 

Paying it Forward for Others

Twenty-one-year-old Allyson Perry is a senior at North Carolina State University where she is studying to become a social worker. Far beyond her years, she is passionate about working with kids in foster care or perhaps starting a career counseling kids and young adults who are members of the adoption triad. You see, Allyson is the first Hispanic child to be adopted through A Child’s Hope, and she certainly realizes her adoption story opens an important, relatable dialogue with families.

A last-minute call from the agency is where this story starts back on Easter weekend 2000. Her parents, Brian and Karen Perry received a call about a newborn Hispanic girl at the hospital needing a home. The couple quickly left the beach where they were spending the holiday weekend to begin their journey to become parents without much information. As the couple arrived, the birthmother was waiting at the hospital with her baby girl. At that time, there was no Spanish-speaking hospital liaison to help with communication. It was challenging during such an emotional time.


“I will never forget the look on her mother’s face when we dressed baby Allyson on the bed and left the room with her,” said Karen Perry, who is an OBGYN nurse at a major medical center. Placing a baby for adoption in 2000 for the most part meant a closed adoption. Open adoption was not common then, and information such as phone numbers and addresses were not exchanged. Thinking back, cell service and Wi-Fi were not always available in public places.

A few years later, Allyson became a big sister when her brother Clayton was adopted, also through A Child’s Hope. He is now a high school senior.

“I feel so thankful to have the parents I do,” shared Allyson, who still wonders about her birth parents. I want to be there for others who may be struggling with similar questions or with their family life in general. It’s a natural progression for me.” 

Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month

It is a great time to learn more about the diversity of Hispanic and Latina/e/o/x experiences and cultures. In 2020, the U.S. Hispanic population was an estimated 62 million out of the total U.S. population of 331.4 million.

When Is Hispanic Heritage Month observed?

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed every year for a month from September 15 to October 15.
September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. All declared independence in 1821.

In addition, Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively. Hispanic Heritage Month was established through legislation in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was later expanded when the 30-day period was implemented in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan.

Some Hispanic Heritage Facts!

  • The term Hispanic or Latino, as defined by the U.S. census bureau refers to Puerto Rican, south or central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.
  • Oscar Hijuelos, author of the “the mambo kings play songs of love” was the first Hispanic writer to win a Pulitzer prize for fiction.
  • Dr. Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman astronaut to go to space. Tom Fears was the first Hispanic Football Hall of Fame Inductee.

What’s the Difference Between Hispanic and Latino, Latin, or Latinx?

Language is ever-evolving and the term Hispanic is used to describe many groups of people. That being said, here’s a breakdown of individual preferences to consider:

  • Hispanic is defined as relating to Spain, or Spanish-speaking countries. The word was first widely popularized through its use in the U.S. Census of 1970. It typically classifies people based on language.
  • Latino refers to the geographical location of a person’s country of origin or their ancestors, typically with cultural ties to Latin America.
  • Latinx and Latin are gender-neutral forms of the word Latino or Latina.

Every Child Deserves a Chance

Hudson, A Special Needs MiracleBy E. Parker Herring

Three-year-old Hudson had a blast in school today. A bit of a miracle if you know his story. As the agency director, I am proud to share this family’s strength.

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 with 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 450 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.

 

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.

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Envia Un Texto: (919) 218-6270

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396