Parenting

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.

How Long Will it Take To Adopt?

How Long Will it Take To AdoptHow long will it take to adopt a child is one question prospective parents ask on a regular basis. The answer is a question:

How open are YOU to the issues in adoption?

How long you wait directly depends on the flexibility of your adoption plan. The simple answer: the more open you are on the following six issues, the shorter the wait.

The six main issues are:

  1. RACE
  2. LEVEL OF ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
  3. LITTLE OR NO PRENATAL CARE
  4. BIRTH FATHER PATERNITY
  5. MEDICAL HISTORY OF MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH ISSUES
  6. BIRTH PARENT CONTACT AND OPENNESS OF ADOPTION

These would not be issues to overcome if you have a child biologically. The race would be your own and you would have control over alcohol or other substances. Furthermore, the birth father would be known and there would not be any legal issues related to paternity. Most likely, you would be able to receive scheduled prenatal care and be fully aware of any possible hereditary issues — mental or physical.

Wait time will always be unpredictable and adoptive families must understand that the wait is dependant on the birth mother. The reason one family is chosen ahead of another is unique to each birth mother.

To learn more about the adoption process, as well as how to complete a home study and adoption profile, click here.

Parker Herring is a Board Certified family law specialist who has practiced in Wake County, N.C. for more than 32 years. She has three children through adoption and assisted reproduction, and in 2000 she started the adoption agency A Child’s Hope. The agency focuses on connecting North Carolina birth mothers with North Carolina newborns to North Carolina Adoptive Parents. The agency has placed more than 353 children since it’s opening. The multiple adoption journeys of her own family and her personal experiences with fertility treatments continue to be the driving force behind her work in the areas of adoption and assisted reproduction. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and received her law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law.

Wes & Catherine Adopt a Daughter

Wes, Catherine and son John Michael adopt a daughter. Hear about their experience as they finalize the adoption on placement day.

Before they were even married, Wes and Catherine talked about wanting to be parents and that adoption was how they were meant to grow their family. Little more than a month after they got married in 2013, John Michael came into their lives thanks to a caring, wonderful birth mother.

During their journey to adopt a second child, the couple shared:

“We know we’re very lucky to have one child. We’re not greedy. But both of us grew up with siblings and we want our son to know the joy that comes with that kind of a bond. Although our hearts are full, we both have so much more love to give a second child.”

On January 15, 2017, Wes and Catherine were able to adopt a daughter to be little sister to 4-year-old John Michael. An exceptionally touching moment was when dad helped John Michael sign big-brother documents as part of the placement day festivities.

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.

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.

Birth mothers Can Show Love to Their Child Placed for Adoption

Parker Herring, is a Board-Certified Family Law Attorney and Director of the NC-based adoption agency, A Child’s Hope. In this blog, she discusses the most frequent asked questions about adoption that she gets from birth mothers. Plus, shares many of her firsthand experiences as she’s adopted two children of her own.

Parker Herring Answers Questions About AdoptionOne of the questions about adoption I often hear from birth mothers is:

“How can I let my child know how much I love him/her?”

I explain that although she will not be there physically to do the daily tasks that let a child know he/she is loved, there is a lot that can be done before and after the placement to help the child understand the difficult act of choosing adoption. Remember, a child can never have too many people loving him/her. These eight ideas are written as suggestions for birth mothers, but of course, birth fathers can follow the same protocol.

Letters — Write a letter to your child for the adoptive parents to read later. What is most important is that this letter be in your own words and from your heart. Explain why you made this decision, how much you love him/her and how he/she will always be in your heart. My middle son’s birth mother wrote a nicely worded letter on lined paper with a pen. It’s simple and beautiful.

Lifebooks — Consider doing a photo book. Known as a lifebook, these scrapbooks can include photographs of you, your family, and even the birth father. Over time the child can get to know you. For some ideas on photo books, Amazon has a nice selection.  

Make Something for the Child — Making a blanket or giving a stuffed animal to the adoptive family to give to the child is special. The child can keep it, it’s tangible and something you have gifted. If you are okay with parting with a stuffed animal or toy that you had as a child, this can make the gift even more meaningful.

Books About Adoption — Purchase a children’s book about adoption and inscribe inside a message from your heart. Maybe something like: “Never forget how much I love you!” For a list of children’s books, visit amazon and your local library.

Send Clothes and Toys.  Ask the adoptive parents to let you know about sizes for clothes and favorite toys to send to your child. Even something small, but sent on a regular basis honoring an important day or event, will let the child know that they continued to be loved.

Naming the Child — If you are in contact with the adoptive parents, ask them to work with you on choosing a name for the child that either has part of your name, or a name you chose for the baby. Ask the adoptive parents to share with the child how he/she got their name. Names are a sensitive subject. If you are uncomfortable bringing up the suggestion of being involved in the name process, consider asking a counselor for help. If you don’t have a counselor, email or ask the question in a note to the adoptive parents. My oldest son’s birth mother chose a name for him, but never told us. I didn’t know until after the mother’s birth certificate arrived. I’ve told him the name she chose, and he cherishes it. If I’d known of her choice, I would have honored it by using at least one of the names.

Stay in touch. Both with open and semi-open adoptions (hot link to web pages), you can send letters and pictures over the years. Birthday cards, Valentine’s cards, all holidays. Send in advance so the child receives on his/her holiday celebration. Your pictures can show the child how you are doing. I saw one birth mother hold up a sign in a photograph with the lettering “Forever in my Heart”. You can also set up SnapFish, Shutterfly or Flickr accounts to share pictures.

Visits – It is important to always follow through with plans to stay in touch. If you had agreed on visits, follow through. At the visit remember that your emotions may be difficult for the child to understand, so do your best to put the child’s needs first. It’s always good to give a small gift – whether it be a card, coloring book or some other small token. Physically demonstrate your affection for the child at the visit, but take cues from the child. You do not want to make the child feel uncomfortable. If there has been a long time between visits, it may take your child awhile to warm up. Don’t insist that the child call you “mom” – use your first name.

There are many ways show the child that you love and care for him/her as they grow. Determining which will be best for you, the child and the adoptive family is a partnership and should be planned for, as much as possible, before the adoption. Holding open and honest conversations with the adoption agency counselor and the adoptive parents will go a long way in providing you comfort that the child knows how loved they are, as well as providing the child the knowledge of who the birth parents are, where they come from and, most importantly, that they are loved dearly.

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 and answer questions about adoption. 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 NC Bar Association, the Wake County Bar Association, and the NC Collaborative Lawyers.

Three Sisters, Three Different Birthmothers, One Happy Family

Over the years, Beth and husband Steve have stayed in touch with A Child’s Hope through Christmas parties, picnics and other functions. Not a day goes by that Beth doesn’t think of A Child’s Hope in some way as she and Steve raise their family of adopted daughters, thanking God for the gift of their three girls.

Adopted Daughters | Three Sisters, Three Birthmothers, One Happy FamilyBeth and Steve’s first daughter came in a whirlwind. In March of 2000, a birthmother called the agency and asked: “Can Beth and Steve come to the hospital and pick up the baby?”

You see, this young woman had not met with an agency counselor. She had not contacted the agency. She had plans to do so, but never did. However, she had gone to the website, read the Waiting Families section with profiles of those looking to adopt. Like so much in life, the unexpected happened, the baby came early.

There were legal matters to be resolved, but the director of A Child’s Hope, E. Parker Herring, located Beth and Steve and asked if they would be interested in taking home a baby that day.

“We were very nervous as it was our first child, and we had only waited a few months,” says Beth.

After Beth and Steve met at the hospital with the birthmother and A Child’s Hope counselor they agreed to become the newborn’s family. Her name was Alexis. She was one of the first adoption placements by A Child’s Hope. “It was so reassuring to know that A Child’s Hope was working on the birthmother’s behalf, as well as ours,” says Steve. “We were so impressed with the people there; the social workers, Parker, Bobby, everyone.”

About two years later, Beth and Steve signed with A Child’s Hope to adopt a second child. This time the adoption was a little more typical. Beth and Steve were matched with a birthmother during pregnancy and Meghan (again named by Beth and Steve) was placed with them a year later.

“By the time we adopted our second daughter we felt a little more confident in what we were doing,” says Beth. “The three of us went to the office and picked her up with big sister, Alexis, leading the way. It was so nice to see our oldest so happy to have a little sister.”

In 2005, this young and vibrant family was ready to welcome home a third child. Thirteen months later they became a family of five. Savannah came home in October of 2006.

“When A Child’s Hope called about our third little girl, we knew our family was complete,” says Steve. “We were driving home from the children’s museum when the social worker called to tell us we had been selected by the birthmother. For the second time, we a went as a family to A Child’s Hope and our daughters met their new little sister.”

“We will always be eternally grateful to the three birthmothers who so unselfishly placed their children for adoption,” says Beth. “These girls have no biology connecting them, but they are sisters in every sense of the word.”

So today, through adoption the Gracey family includes  17, 15 and 11-year-old adopted daughters, and they wouldn’t change a thing. Beth and Steve still remember each time they learned that a birthmother selected them, and the joy they felt in building a family. Beth explains, “The reason we were able to be the family we are is due to the caring, genuine and knowledgeable team at A Child’s Hope, and the birthmothers they so compassionately work with.”

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 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.

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Envia Un Texto: (919) 218-6270

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396