Family

How to Talk to a Reluctant Spouse to Adopt a Child

By Parker Herring, Director

It’s not unusual for A Child’s Hope to field a call from a woman who is ready to adopt a child, but she states that her husband is “not quite there yet.” Furthermore, during many of the adoption consultations I have conducted, I have noticed that it’s commonplace for the wife to be way ahead of the husband on the adoption learning curve. This is of little surprise. As with most things in marriage, both partners are not always on the same page at the same time. The topic of adoption is no different.

So how do you open up the conversation when you want to adopt a child? Here are some options, clearly there are other considerations.

FIRST, COMMUNICATE. In the adopt-a-child conversation, don’t force your husband to give you an immediate yes or no. It may take a while for him to understand the adoption process and overcome any reservations.

Begin by listening to his concerns. Don’t argue — listen and try to understand. He may be trying to process the loss of a dream to have a son that looks like him. Other common concerns expressed have been 1) a fear that you will not find a child and 2) a fear that he may not love an adopted child the same way that he would love a biological child.

Articulate back what you hear without judgment. For example, you may wish to frame a response in the form of a question, “To make sure I am hearing what you are trying to share, do you feel that if we adopt a child …?”

Don’t push for an immediate change of position or a move forward plan. Express appreciation for what he has shared and let the conversation sit. Your husband may never have put his thought and feelings about adoption into words. Now that he has, he can chew on them a little.

SECOND, EDUCATE. Work hard to show your spouse the positive outcomes when you adopt a child. Try to address concerns by recommending reading resources and inviting him to attend information sessions that agencies offer. Here are some resources to consider:

E-zine – Adoptive Families

Articles from Adoption.com:

What if You’re Ready to Adopt but your Husband isn’t?

When You and Your Spouse are Not on the Same Page with Adoption

Books:

Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections by Jean MacLeod and Sheena Macrae.  This guide draws on the experiences of over 100 contributors to offer advice to all different types of families, ranging from those who have just adopted to those who have been raising adopted children for years.

Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents by Deborah D. Gray. Attaching in Adoption is a bestselling, comprehensive guide for prospective and actual adoptive parents on how to understand and care for their adopted child and promote healthy attachment.

Show him pictures or videos that others share on social media sites of their adopted children. You may even offer to help him make a list of his concerns, and aid in bringing them up visiting with friends and family members who have adopted.

Video interviews with A Child’s Hope adoptive families

A Child’s Hope Facebook page

THIRD, MAN TALK. Some men get quiet in formal settings, such as an agency consultation, especially if they are the only man in the room. It may be easier for your husband to discuss his concerns in a social setting with another man.

Use your network of friends and family to see if any fathers in your circle would be willing to make themselves available to talk to your husband about their experiences when choosing to adopt a child. The agency may also be able to assist by arranging a meeting with some adoptive parents, as couples or just the guys.

FINALLY, TIME. Choosing to adopt a child is a big decision. Everyone involved needs to be comfortable with the process and be on board. It may take a while. Adopting is a decision that will affect every aspect of your life, for the rest of your life. Taking time is okay.

As I mentioned earlier, many of the couples I have worked with were not always in harmony on the decision to adopt a child at first. However, when they come to the office with their child to sign the adoption documents, I have noticed that the men are as extremely proud, and equally excited as the spouse.  It makes me smile sometimes thinking back to how unsure some of the fathers were at that first consultation.

Adoption Agency Director Parker Herring and the twinsA 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 332 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 N.C. Bar Association, the Wake County Bar Association, and the NC Collaborative Lawyers.

 

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month – October

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month was first declared by President Ronald Reagan on October 25, 1988.

On that day he said:

“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.”


Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep – nowilaymedowntosleep.org

NILMDTS offers the gift of healing, hope and honor to parents experiencing the death of a baby through the overwhelming power of remembrance portraits.

These priceless images serve as an important step in the healing recovery for bereaved families. NILMDTS remembrance photography validates the existence and presence of these precious babies by honoring their legacy.

Through further engagement in the organization, such as the NILMDTS Remembrance Walk and online support, families become a part of a compassionate and supportive community.  Parents gain a sense of inclusiveness, alleviating the alienation and perception of being alone in their pregnancy or infant loss journey.

Additional Bereavement Resources


Starting Your Adoption Journey

If you, or someone you know, is considering adoption and would like to learn more, call A Child’s Hope at 919-839-8800, or Text PREGNANT TO 919-971-4396. You can also watch our placement day videos to hear recent adoptive parents share their stories adoption stories.

Pregnant? Not sure if you are able at this time to parent? If you are a birth mother and are looking to place your child in a loving home, contact our Birth Mother hotline to speak with an adoption counselor today at 877-890-4673 or Text PREGNANT TO 919-971-4396. To see placement day videos of A Child’s Hope families, click here. To see websites of our waiting families, click here.

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

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

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 Go Fund Me, or host a traditional event, like a yard sale, bake sale or golf tournament.

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.

National Adoption Awareness Month Honors All Families

New Dads Spoil the Princess

By E. Parker Herring, executive director

 Two Dads with Their New Princess
On Placement Day with Hallie Grace
June 2017

I am fortunate to see a lot of happy, new fathers on placement day in our office. This adoption was especially touching because these two dads had been waiting to adopt for five years. Married in 2015, and domestic partners for more than 23 years, they felt the instant love with their daughter.

Their little girl is named Hallie Grace. Dwayne and Scott held her so tenderly. With her pink bow placed just so on her head, Hallie Grace smiled a bit as they went on about every feature in her tiny face.

Dwayne and Scott reached out to me in February 2017 when they learned that the adoption agency they had been signed with for five years had suddenly closed. The closing of Independent Adoption Centers left many prospective adoptive parents in shock and in despair. Dwayne and Scott had been matched with a birthmother just before IAC closed, and they needed help with counseling the birthmother and finalizing the adoption upon placement.

When we first met in our offices, the two of them joked about how they would be able to take good care of a little girl. “We figure that I can keep her hair always done just right,” said Scott, who owns his own hair salon. “And Dwayne, as a sheriff, can always keep her safe.”

Hallie Grace, 5 months old
Halloween 2017

Something tells me that this little girl will be a princess from the start. As the first Father’s Day and first Halloween will never be the same, there are lots of firsts still to come, including their first love.

Each November marks National Adoption Awareness Month, it gives us pause to still be looking at misconceptions in adoption. Every step is about understanding that not all families look the same. Some have one parent, others have two. In some cases, all the family members are from the same racial background, in others multiple races are represented. In some, there is a mom and a dad, in others there may be two moms or two dads. Some are in contact with the birthparents, many are not. None of this really makes a difference. Want does? The ability of the parent or parents to provide a happy, nurturing, safe home filled with love. I certainly saw that in Dwayne and Scott. 

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 within the state. A Child’s Hope has placed more than 300 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.

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Envia Un Texto: (919) 218-6270

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396