Parenting

Breastfeeding For Adoptive Moms

Breastfeeding biological children is generally believed to have huge health benefits. Breast milk builds up the baby’s immune system and creates a special bond for mother and child. Babies who are breastfed suffer only a small fraction of the colds and ear infections experienced by bottle-fed babies during the first year.

Most people don’t realize that adopted children can be breastfed, as well as breastfeeding adopted children is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians. There are medications and supplements which help women lactate and along with breast pumping several months before the child’s expected birth usually brings on lactation.

One intended mother who recently adopted her son, Maxwell, through A Child’s Hope began breastfeeding him on the day of his birth in the hospital.

Rachel Breastfeeding Max

Rachel Breastfeeding Max

“I had the advantage of already producing milk because I never stopped pumping after my son Ari, who is now 21 months was born,” said Rachel. “But women can plan ahead even if they are not already producing milk and with a combination of pumping and medication or herbs like Fenugreek and Goat’s Rue can help you produce breast milk.”

Rachel produced a freezer full of breast milk before a child became available for adoption so her son will not want for breast milk whether fresh or frozen. Lactation consultants are generally positive about the likelihood that a woman can produce milk for her adopted child. If milk supply is not enough, frozen milk can be used to supplement, as well as formula.

“Breastfeeding doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing,” said Rachel. “It’s been shown that even two ounces of breast milk a day provides a tremendous boost to building a baby’s immune system.”

Any woman who is planning on adopting a newborn and would like to breastfeed should first consult with her doctor who may prescribe medications and refer her to a lactation consultant who can discuss pumping and medications and herbal supplements. To find a lactation consultant near you, visit the International Lactation Consultant Association website.

Breastfeeding an adoptive newborn will take commitment and the support of your partner, as well as a lactation consultant before and after the baby is here. But the physical benefits of breast milk and the emotional health benefits of the skin to skin contact are more than worth the effort for both mother and baby!

For more information on breastfeeding an adopted child:

Medela

Healthy Children.org

Huffington Post

Breastfeeding.org

A Mother’s Day Adoption Journey – Caitlin

WTVD – ABC 11 – Wake County couple celebrate first Mother’s Day after adopting a baby boy.

Caitlin and Chris are still in disbelief when they look into two-week-old Henry’s eyes.

Growing their family was all they ever wanted.

“We’ve always wanted to be parents. I’m from a large family,” said Caitlin.

The college sweethearts tried conceiving one year after marriage but had no luck. After four years of fertility treatments, they considered adoption.

“We were open to basically anything…race or gender. For us, it didn’t matter,” said Chris.

Two weeks ago, the couple brought home a special gift that weighed seven pounds and 12 ounces.

The couple is thankful adoption gave them a chance at making their family whole, and particularly this Mother’s Day.

“Just looking at him, I wouldn’t change it,” said Caitlin. “It makes him that much more special.”

See another Mother’s Day story

Start your Adoption Journey

Megan Celebrates Her First Mother’s Day

After adopting Noah in January, Megan opened their home to reporters on Mother’s Day to share a little of her adoption journey and thank the birth mother.

CBS 17

Spectrum News

Thank You on Birth Mother’s Day

This Birth Mother’s Day, we say THANK YOU and send our LOVE to all birth mothers. You hold a special place in our hearts ❤️ for there are two kinds of strength – the strength to make a parenting plan and the strength to give that plan to another.

Birth Mother's Day

Hear directly from a few of our birth mothers – watch the videos

Are You Pregnant or Need to Place a Child?

SPEAK TO A COUNSELOR RIGHT NOW
CALL US TOLL-FREE AT (877) 890-4673
OR TEXT “PREGNANT” TO 1-919-971-4396

Or Fill Out Our Online Information Request Form.

Adoption is About Love. It’s That Simple.

Christmas 2018 (Left to Right)
Mackenzie, Michael and Mary
All of Parker Herring’s family got the gift of 23andME DNA kits and are planning a reveal party when the results arrive.

Valentine’s Day is always special at A Child’s Hope and the Parker Herring Law Group. It’s all about love and love is what we make a reality every day. We create families through adoption of all types, as well as surrogacy and assisted reproduction.

This Valentine’s Day, we collected a few thoughts and stories from those who have directly experienced the joy of love of adoption. We hope you will enjoy them, and the stories will help encourage you to begin, reflect, or continue your adoption journey.

Parker Herring’s Family:

“I started my own adoption journey 21 years ago by signing with The Gladney Center and became an adoptive mother three months later when I was blessed with my son, Mackenzie. Three years later, I took the adoption journey a second time. This time via an independent adoption. My second son, Michael, turns 18 this year. Two years after adopting Michael, God helped me through the assisted reproduction process to give birth to my beautiful daughter Mary. My heart is always full with love for them.” – E. Parker Herring

 

Kelly and her three children

 

The Dunbar Family:

“’If you have the heart for adoption, don’t let fear stand in the way,’ is a quote I love! As an adoption counselor and as an adoptive parent it really hits home! Loving a child you did not give birth to is one of the easiest things you will ever do! As a mom of three children, two biological and one adopted, the love I have for them is equal and ever growing!” – Adoption Counselor Supervisor Kelly Dunbar

 

 

 

 

The Extended Kaufman Family
Birth mothers (far left and right) next to their respective sons. Adoptive parents, Hal and his wife (center).

The Kaufman Family:

“We’ve seen our sons’ birth mothers every few months since the kids were born (almost 12 and 14 years ago), but this 2017 photo captures the first time the 6 of us were together. We started this journey with awkward, guarded conversations, but now we are family. That can be anyone’s story and I love that I get to play a role in helping adopting parents experience the love I’ve experienced.” – Hal Kaufman, Founder, My Adoption Advisor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birth Family and Adoptive Family Together
Adoptive mom, Jill (far left) and adoptive dad, Jimmy (far right) – Birth family (Mom, dad and brother (center) – Palmer in birth mother’s arms.

A Birth Mother’s Story:

“Having an open adoption taught me a new type of love. I never have to worry if my daughter is safe or loved because I know I handpicked the best possible parents for her. The adoptive parents of my daughter have shown me that family is not defined by blood, it’s defined by commitment and love.” – Loving Birth Mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrea, 16 – Adopted in 2002

An Adopted Child’s Love:

“My name is Andrea and I’m 16 years old. Let me tell ya, my family is great. Thanks to being adopted, I can see myself having a bright future. I don’t know who I’d be or what I’d even be doing if I had grown up living with my birthmother. I don’t think I’d be getting the good education I have now. I feel like I was saved from living in poverty or being involved in some type of illegal activity. My adoption was definitely a win-win situation. My parents couldn’t get pregnant and I was able to bring them the joy of being parents.”

 

 

 

Respite Care Providers Judy and Allan

The Love In Respite Care:

“Little souls find their way to you, whether from your womb or someone else’s. Every time the phone rings asking us if we can care for a baby awaiting adoption our hearts are full of love and excitement. Nothing can compare to seeing and feeling the joy and love on the faces of adoptive parents as they see their new son or daughter for the first time. Caring for each of these precious babies throughout most of our marriage has been both a blessing and our ministry.” – Respite care Giver Judy

 

 

 

 

Birth Mother and Adoption Counselor
Laura (left) and Rebecca (right)

An Adoption Counselor’s Love:

“The thing I love most about being an adoption counselor are the bonds I form with my clients. Each birth mother and adoptive family I’ve worked with has left a lasting mark on my heart. I feel honored to be a part of their adoption journeys and enjoy staying in touch with and supporting my clients long after the adoption process is over.” – Adoption Counselor Rebecca Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan’s First Christmas
Dad Matt, mom Laura and Ryan

Adoptive Parent’s Love:

“Our experience with adoption has truly changed our lives in ways we cannot describe. Ryan has brought us such joy and love! We have gained new family members in Ryan’s birth family and love them for the wonderful gift they have given us.” – Adoptive Mom Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worth The Wait
Josh and Melissa

Waiting Parents Growing In Love:

Josh and Melissa are waiting to adopt and are happy to have the chance to share their love with a child, whenever that happens!

“Love is all about family and we can’t wait to share our love with a child through adoption!” – Waiting Adoptive Mom Melissa

 

 

Whether you are an adopted child, adoptive parent, birth parent who placed your child for adoption, or an adoption professional we know that you have done what you do because of love and your life is better for it. Share your story and share your love.

Mommy You’re Peach and I’m Brown

One of our own adoptive parents recently shared with RaleighMomsBlog her experiences of having a family and how she has empowered her 5-yr-old daughter with the skills to be strong, proud and respond when questions and comments by the curious arise. (Original Blog Post by Cindy Stranad, November 26, 2018)

Mommy, you’re peach, and I’m brown,” she said.

I know honey, is that ok?” I asked.

Without hesitation and a smirk running toward the toy box, “Of course mommy, don’t ya know.

In 2012, I adopted my daughter as an infant. I suppose you could say my biological clock didn’t strike midnight until around the age of 40. After much research and sitting on the fence, independent adoption was the right choice to build my family.

A little older than the average mom, it wasn’t uncommon for many questions to pop up from strangers as our twosome toddled around the neighborhood or headed off to the pool or grocery store. What was evident is that I adopted as a single parent by choice and my baby was a different race than myself or that of my family.

The wish I had for my daughter had nothing to do with race. It is what we all want for our kids no matter of their ethnicity or gender – “Be strong in who you are.”

Ever-present in my mind still today – is playing out a strong sense of self for her because we are confronted with it often – I am single, she is adopted, and she looks different than me.

What I did not know in the beginning and equally as important, was the notion of letting the questions come. Not only to listen intently to the question but embrace each one with a smile. (OK, the smile may be a stretch.) Not only fielding this variety of questions from strangers but from friends, family and — between us — as mother and daughter. What I did know was questions would come surrounding our reality, and I had to prepare her to answer them with confidence.

This year, my daughter started Kindergarten. A first for both of us, I had to trust the snapshots of conversations we have had about our transracial family, and our collective response to all those questions over the last five years has prepared her to stand proud, to have the answers for the moment.

Here are three things I did to prepare for the questions:

1. Start the conversation.

Don’t wait. Ask your child a leading question, don’t wait for them to ask you. They may not want you to be uncomfortable or know exactly the question to ask. It may be something like, “Look there are another mom and daughter who looks like our familyWhat do you think about that?” or “Does anyone ever mention that you and I have different color skin?

Open the dialogue. Let them know it’s okay to talk about it.

2. Role-Play

Be careful not to create a defensive posture. Role-Play with your child on how a conversation may go with a friend if they ask about skin color or other personal questions. It’s like practicing a talk for training at work, a lesson plan at church or perhaps a job interview. It’s about anticipating the question, so you have an answer.

3. Plant another family tree

I was taken off-guard during preschool when she brought home the family tree. This child exercise scared me. Will she be compared to other families unfairly? I had to let go of my insecurity, and teach her to make room for different types of trees in the family backyard – birth parents, stepparents and single parents, as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles from each of these family connections. Moreover, there is your village of close friends and godparents. Most of us probably have something that looks more like a sprawling vineyard than a simple tree.

I say all of this because I had to trust myself. And, I am encouraging you to trust yourself. Release the adult definitions of family and wake up to the reality of what your family looks like from your child’s perspective.

As we celebrate gratefulness during November as National Adoption Awareness Month, remember that open and honest talks across the board on adoption, race and family diversity will go a long way in building your child’s self-esteem. You may even be surprised at some of the reactions and aha moments created as we all widen our thinking about the beauty of transracial families.

 

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.

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Envia Un Texto: (919) 218-6270

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396