Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
We celebrate the beautiful families and children who give us tremendous hope for the future. We wish you and your family and Merry Christmas.
We celebrate the beautiful families and children who give us tremendous hope for the future. We wish you and your family and Merry Christmas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NCTSN suggests opening an ongoing dialogue with your child.
The CDC offers Six General Principles for Talking to Children:
By Parker Herring
All expectant parents, including adoptive parents, need to prepare for a new baby. Parenting books come in a variety of styles and formats. One author might not appeal to you, while another author’s style and the layout you may find very readable.
“Touchpoints” series by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton M.D., revised by Dr. Joshua D. Sparrow M.D.
This is a two-book collection – “Birth to Three” and “Three to Six.” Dr. Brazelton was a Harvard medical professor and Director of the Children’s Hospital in Boston. The fully updated second edition by Dr. Sparrow includes informative sections on fathering and co-sleeping as well as general childcare.
When I started parenting 22 years ago a good friend of mine told me to pick up Dr. Brazelton’s Touchpoints. She said the large print and easily marked age sections would make it easy to find just the section I need when I become bleary-eyed from sleep deprivation. She was right. It’s still a great book for new parents and it has been updated and completely revised since its original printing in 1992.
“What to Expect the First Year” by Heidi Murkoff
This bestselling classic was originally published in 1962. Now in its third edition, it recently went through a line-by-line update. While there are many used versions available, I highly recommend purchasing the recent third edition.
“Your Baby and Child” by Dr. Penelope Leach
This childcare book has sold over two million copies and is very easy to read. Dr. Leach was educated at Cambridge and is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, as well as a founding member of the UK Branch of the World Association for Infant Mental Health. She is a strong advocate of reading to newborns, toddlers and all ages.
“Between Parent and Child” by Dr. Haim G. Ginott
This book has been recently revised by the author’s wife, psychologist Dr. Alice Ginott. It talks about how parenting is a skill that anyone can learn. It offers advice on how to respond properly to your child including how to discipline without making threats, punishment or bribes or sarcasm; how to criticize without being demeaning; and how to acknowledge your child’s feelings.
“The No-Cry Sleep Solution” series by Elizabeth Pantley
This is a three-book collection – “The No-Cry Sleep Solution,” “The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns” and “The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers.” These are must-have books for new parents, as the one thing everyone wants for themselves and their child is sleep, beautiful, wonderful sleep.
On that note, the calming sound of a parent’s voice can often be this the best way to quite a child. Reading “Good Night Moon” aloud always put my kids to sleep.
Take it easy and don’t let the reading list overwhelm you. You don’t have to read and memorize the parenting books cover to cover before your child arrives. Nevertheless, you should start by reading the sections on newborn care while waiting to become parents. Leave the remaining chapters as your child grows.
A mother of three children, E. Parker Herring has a deep respect and understanding of family law and the adoption process (for which she’s adopted two children of her own). She is the founder and director of A Child’s Hope, a North Carolina licensed adoption agency located in Raleigh that focuses on helping birth mothers and families looking to adopt 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 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.
**The links shared in this article are for the convenience of the user to preview the books online. A Child’s Hope is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse any specific retailer.
In 1980, Judy and Alan started providing respite care for babies in Erie, PA. They moved to NC in 1995 and in 1999 began providing respite for A Child’s Hope. They have cared for more than 200 babies, 89 for A Child’s Hope.
On Dec. 19, 2019, Judy & Alan will retire. Judy shares, “It has been an incredible journey with lots of wonderful memories and we will miss it!”