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.

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.

Raleigh Dad Enjoys 1st Father’s Day After Adopting a Child

Father's Day after IAC closing

Watch the video of this first Father’s Day on CBS North Carolina.

By AJ Janavel, Reporter, CBS North Carolina – After a two-year wait, one Raleigh dad celebrated his first Father’s Day as a dad with the help of a local group connecting families in North Carolina.

On Sunday, Rob celebrated his first Father’s Day as a dad with his wife Anna and their son Dylan.

Rob and Anna chose to adopt their son. Because of the sensitive nature of the adoption process, they did not want to use their last name.

Rob says he was adopted himself and that was part of the reason for his decision to adopt Dylan. But, it was a process Rob’s wife, Anne says definitely wore on her husband.

“Maybe this is it. And we feel like this is it. And it wasn’t us and we get so close. So that does get frustrating,” said Anne.

Through the entire two-year process, Rob and Anne had support from family and friends, but also from their adoption agency.

Parker Herring is the director of A Child’s Hope Adoptions, based out of Raleigh.

It’s an agency Herring created nearly two decades ago, while adopting a child herself, she ran into several road blocks.

“When people go out of state to adopt then (that) adds a great deal of cost,” she said.

From her experiences adopting out of state, Herring made a group where North Carolina families could find and adopt children within the state.

In the last 17 years, Herring has facilitated 343 adoptions.

“Today I thought about all the fathers who were dads for the first time,” said Herring.

And for people like Rob, and Anne they are grateful after the long wait.

“Looking forward to many more Father’s Days,” said Rob.

See the story on CBS North Carolina.

Every Child Deserves a Chance

Hudson, A Special Needs MiracleThree-year-old Hudson had a blast in school today. A bit of a miracle if you know his story.

After a normal pregnancy, full term and weighing in at 7 pounds and 11 ounces, Hudson’s difficulties began right after birth. Born on June 21, 2013, he immediately had trouble eating. Hudson was in the NICU for a total of 67 days as a newborn. He survived kidney and heart failure, had heart and GI surgery, and endured numerous procedures.

Hudson’s mother discussed her situation with her hair stylist. Subsequently, the stylist introduced her to another client, Marcy.

Marcy and her husband, Philip, have one child, Tyler, now 12. Since Tyler’s birth, Marcy had not been able to conceive again. She struggled with several miscarriages, and years of infertility. With the assistance of Parker Herring, on April 23, 2014, Hudson became the second child of Marcy and Phillip, and Tyler’s little brother.

Marcy, Phillip and Tyler’s journey with Hudson has been difficult at times, but he has been a joy. Hudson will be four this June. There have been many long days and times when his parents and his big brother did not think he would survive. But Hudson defies the odds. He works hard every day at physical, speech and occupational therapy. He also has feeding therapy, and his parents still take him to UNC for GI and ENT exams.

Hudson, a boy with special needsAt one point, physicians told Marcy and Phillip that Hudson would, most likely, never walk, talk or even hear speech. Nevertheless, today Hudson is walking. He can hear and understand what is said to him. Albeit slow, he is developing verbal skills. Hudson is a loving, sweet child. The journey has been difficult at times. Marcy says what is most special about Hudson is his personality.

There are many ways to show a child that you love and care for him/her as they grow. Sometimes it means admitting you need help. For Hudson, that help came in the form of an adoptive family.

Marcy, Phillip and Tyler are not the only family willing and able to care for a child with special needs.  If you need help, reach out for the help you need. If you know someone in need or want additional information, contact A Child’s Hope at (877) 890-4673

Learn more about adopting a child whit special needs.


parker-herring-raleigh-adoption-lawyer-attorneyParker Herring is a Board-Certified Family Law Attorney and Director of the NC-based adoption agency, A Childs Hope. In this blog, she shares a powerful story about how a special child can be the greatest blessing.

A mother of three children, E. Parker Herring has a deep respect and understanding of family law and the adoption process (for which she’s adopted two children of her own). She is the founder and director of A Child’s Hope, a North Carolina licensed adoption agency located in Raleigh that focuses on helping birthmothers and families looking to adopt. A Child’s Hope has placed 315 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.

Despite Rocky Road, Durham Woman Celebrates First Mother’s Day

Durham Adoption
Watch the Durham Adoption Video on

— A Durham adoption helps a woman, whose road to motherhood was paved with speed bumps at every turn, celebrated her first Mother’s Day Sunday.

Exactly one month ago, Rhiannon and her husband brought home a precious baby girl. Rhiannon said a meeting at church is what opened her up to the idea of adoption.

The couple started the adoptions process but two years in, they hit a major bump. The agency they were with abruptly closed, putting the couple back at square one.

“The day I got that email it was like someone punched in my the stomach. I couldn’t breathe,” Rhiannon said.

But thanks in part to Facebook, and some other families who were facing similar circumstances, Rhiannon was able to connect with Parker Herring at A Child’s Hope.

“It was very abrupt and the families were very distraught, so we reached out and we offered for the families to come out and talk about it,” Herring said.

Not too long after Rhiannon and her husband were able to connect with A Child’s Hope, they found their daughter’s birth parents. They all said it felt right from the start.

“It feels so good,” Rhiannon said. “Sometimes I joke – pinch me. It feels surreal. It’s amazing.”

Rhiannon and her husband have an open adoptions with their daughter’s birth parents and said they plan to keep it that way throughout their daughter’s life.

See the story on

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.

Placement Day

These two little boys were in our office this week for adoption legal work reminded me of the biracial siblings on the drama series This Is Us that premiered on NBC last fall. If you haven’t caught it, it’s about the family connections of several people who share the same birthday and the ways in which they are similar and different. biracial siblings Jacob and Jackson

These brothers – Jacob and Jackson – are exactly three months apart and now share a nursery as brothers. Jackson was born to Andrea and Stephen in November 2016. They had been waiting to be matched with a birthmother when Andrea became pregnant, yet these parents remained committed to building their family through adoption.

Earlier this week, Jacob’s biological mother joined the new parents to share in the joy of celebrating this baby, along with her two older children, and her mother. Newborn Jacob was so laid back, he slept through the legal work. Both boys were sporting matching outfits with shirts that said “Little Brother” and “Big Brother.”

Adoption counselor Kelly Dunbar spent many hours counseling the birth mother and the adoptive parents through this placement. She was also present to see the boys come together as brothers – a truly special day.

Love does not know what color it is. That’s our real life This is Us.

What Happens When An Adoption Agency Closes?

Independent Adoption Center (IAC) abruptly closed its doors on January 31, 2017 and notified adoptive families via email. IAC had been helping families adopt for 34 years and their closing was a shock to the adoption community.

The Agency was licensed in eight states – North Carolina, New York, Texas, Connecticut, Florida, California, Georgia and Indiana; and adoptive families were reeling from the abrupt announcement this week. The good news for these families is that they already have a head start on the adoption process! Each family that was waiting with Independent Adoption Center has a homestudy, profile, website and have been educated on the process.

Our hope is that these families will regroup quickly and reach out to other agencies and utilize resources to complete their adoption journey. The adoption tax credit should help those whose incomes are not over $201,920 recoup some of their losses.

A Child’s Hope of North Carolina, LLC’s Adoption Attorney and Director E. Parker Herring is offering a free consultation with any families that were waiting with Independent Adoption Center in North Carolina. The Agency is actively recruiting adoptive families at this time. In addition, IAC families that would like to with A Child’s Hope will receive credit for their completed homestudy, profile and website. We can use their existing profile/website to activate them in a relatively short period of time to begin receiving opportunities.

“The adoption journey often has setbacks, but I encourage North Carolina IAC families to give our Agency a call to discuss their options.” – E. Parker Herring

Lakeisha’s Adoptive Mother Story: “Meeting our son”

Something was different about this time, however the previous heartbreak caused us to keep our guard up. We met for our match meeting less than a week before our birth mother was scheduled for delivery. The excitement and anticipation was so high. We chose not to share the news with our family, especially our 6 year old son. He had been praying nightly for God to send him a sister (little did he know God was preparing him a brother)! Adoptive mother Lakeisha

Our birth mother was wonderful! She kept us informed and included us on what was going on from the time she went to the hospital, after delivery and even after leaving the hospital. I remember talking to her the day our son was born. The adoption counselor called and gave us to information about the baby and assured us he was healthy. The next voice I heard was that of our birth mother. She was eager to share the news with us personally and it was a relief to know that she still wanted us to be his Forever Family! 

Placement Day FINALLY came! My husband and I we able to spend some time with birth mother, getting to know each other and discovering commonalities. I still look at pictures and will treasure the moment when she handed me this precious little boy. A moment when he was held and loved by the two women that love him so much! 

– Adoptive Mother, Lakeisha (child placed in 2015)

image credit via flickr

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