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November is National Adoption Awareness Month

Families Created on A Child's HopeWhat is National Adoption Month?

National Adoption Month is a month to encourage others to learn about adoption and to acknowledge the people whose lives have been impacted by adoption. The mission of National Adoption Month is to celebrate the families who have grown through adoption, and to recognize the many children who are still waiting for forever families.

 

Why do we celebrate National Adoption Month?

Overall, we celebrate National Adoption Month to shine a national spotlight light on adoption. More
specifically, we celebrate to:

  • Honor families that have grown through adoption.
  • Recognize the hundreds of thousands of children waiting in foster care.
  • Spread awareness of adoption.
  • Advocate for the wellbeing and future of children in foster care.

When did National Adoption Month start?

Every year, more and more children require secure and safe families. National Adoption Month draws
light on the adoption process and its positive effects.

In 1976, Massachusetts was the first state to promote adoption-related actions. Governor Mike Dukakis declared the first week of November “Adoption Week” to raise awareness of the need for adoptive homes for foster children. The concept gradually gained traction and extended across the country. Following this, President Gerald R. Ford declared adoption week a national holiday in 1984. As the week’s popularity expanded, more states began to participate, and it became challenging to fit all of the events into seven days. This was the year that President Bill Clinton expanded the week-long event into a month-long celebration known as National Adoption Month, which is now observed worldwide.

National Adoption Month is a time for everyone to celebrate adoption: individuals, families, businesses, organizations, communities, states, and the government. Adoption is promoted as a beneficial strategy
to strengthen families and keep children out of foster care. To commemorate this month, many fundraising drives, appreciation banquets, community activities, and awareness initiatives are held
around the country.

National Adoption Month concludes on November 20 with National Adoption Day. This day is honored
in courthouses around the country, where thousands of adoptions are finalized on the Saturday
following it. On this day, courts are encouraged to deal with the backlog of adoptions. On November 9,
World Adoption Day is observed as a day of global awareness for this essential topic.

 

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month has become a safe space for those grieving a loss and others trying to understand and comfort. This October, discover ways to communicate gently and sensitively to grieving parents and anyone suffering the loss of an infant. There are activities and community resources available and closer than you think.

If you or someone you care about has lost a child to stillbirth, miscarriage, SIDS, or any other cause at any point during pregnancy or infancy, please join us in raising awareness this October for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over a million pregnancies end in miscarriages or stillbirths each year.

What can you say to a grieving parent after the loss of their baby? How can you give gentle support?

 

 

A grieving mom started a movement

After Robyn Bear had six miscarriages, she realized her support system could not fully understand her loss. Eventually, Robyn teamed up with two other women to get proclamations signed supporting a day of remembrance for deceased babies and their grieving parents. The action turned into a political movement.

1. It helps supporters communicate sensitively

Telling a grieving parent that the baby’s death is “God’s will” can unwittingly sound insensitive. National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month provides resources and teaching tools to help people understand the grief process. More importantly, it guides other family members and supporters through the communication skills that can offer comfort to parents after the devastating loss of a child.

2. The infant is still the family’s baby

Babies die from stillbirths, miscarriages, and SIDS, among other tragedies. Even though the child died in the womb or shortly after birth, the parents may have named and already bonded with the baby. It is not easy to “just get over it.” Parents must learn to live with their loss. Supporters must be sensitive to the trauma by understanding that the baby already had a place in the family.

RESOURCES:

Support Groups: https://nationalshare.org/north-carolina/
Loss and Outreach Organizations: https://www.mend.org/infant-loss-organizations
Star Legacy Foundation: https://starlegacyfoundation.org/for-families-and-friends/

Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month

It is a great time to learn more about the diversity of Hispanic and Latina/e/o/x experiences and cultures. In 2020, the U.S. Hispanic population was an estimated 62 million out of the total U.S. population of 331.4 million.

When Is Hispanic Heritage Month observed?

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed every year for a month from September 15 to October 15.
September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. All declared independence in 1821.

In addition, Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively. Hispanic Heritage Month was established through legislation in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson and was later expanded when the 30-day period was implemented in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan.

Some Hispanic Heritage Facts!

  • The term Hispanic or Latino, as defined by the U.S. census bureau refers to Puerto Rican, south or central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.
  • Oscar Hijuelos, author of the “the mambo kings play songs of love” was the first Hispanic writer to win a Pulitzer prize for fiction.
  • Dr. Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman astronaut to go to space. Tom Fears was the first Hispanic Football Hall of Fame Inductee.

What’s the Difference Between Hispanic and Latino, Latin, or Latinx?

Language is ever-evolving and the term Hispanic is used to describe many groups of people. That being said, here’s a breakdown of individual preferences to consider:

  • Hispanic is defined as relating to Spain, or Spanish-speaking countries. The word was first widely popularized through its use in the U.S. Census of 1970. It typically classifies people based on language.
  • Latino refers to the geographical location of a person’s country of origin or their ancestors, typically with cultural ties to Latin America.
  • Latinx and Latin are gender-neutral forms of the word Latino or Latina.

Six Questions About Placing a Child for Adoption During the Coronavirus

Q. Are adoptions still happening in NC?

A. Yes. In most counties of North Carolina are allowing filings the courts are now open, doing virtual hearings as needed.

Q. Will I be all alone at the hospital?

A. In North Carolina, we see hospitals allowing only the pregnant woman and ONE support person in the labor and delivery room. The adoptive parents are being allowed to care for the child during hospitalization after passing COVID protocols.

Q. Is there financial assistance for mothers during COVID-19?

A. Yes, we are offering more support. There are additional stressors on birth mothers due to unemployment and other critical logistics, such as fewer Uber drivers providing transportation services.

We can be flexible in how financial support is provided. We pay landlords directly, hotels by the week, and can even offer some housing expense reimbursement to your relatives if they take you in during your pregnancy.

When an Uber is not available, we are offering gas money/cards to reimburse friends or family members who provide transportation.

In addition, North Carolina law allows up to six weeks of support after delivery. So, we can help you get situated after you leave the hospital.

Q. When should I reach out to an agency about adoption for my baby?

A private adoption plan gives you choices about the family, as well as contact details between you, the family and the child as they grow.

The more notice an agency has, the more help we can give in terms of answering questions and making the process go smoothly. But, we will gladly work with you on an adoption plan at any time. We can quickly respond when childbirth is imminent, matching you with one of the nearly two dozen waiting families ready to bring a child into their home.

If you suspect that the Department of Social Services may get involved after your child is born because you are homeless or the baby may test positive for drugs, we encourage you to make your adoption plan as soon as possible, before delivery. Once DSS is involved, it is harder to make a private adoption plan and have choices regarding the family that cares for your child.

Q. Can I safely find and meet with the adopting parents?

A. Birth mothers traditionally locate an adoption agency or adoptive parent profiles through the internet. Fortunately, the internet is Coronavirus safe. All of our waiting families are listed on our website for birth parents to review. See the Family Profiles page.

At A Child’s Hope, we provide three ways for birth mothers to contact us. They call the pregnancy hotline at 877-890-4673, text Pregnant to 919-971-5663, or email admin@achildshope.com. The hotline operator then communicates with the birth mother and talks her through the process.

After the initial discussion, one of our eight adoption counselors spread throughout the state works with the mother. They communicate via phone, meet virtually, as well as arrange in-person meetings. We ask that masks and worn, but we can meet.

We provide the same options for match meetings with adoptive parents. They can occur virtually or in-person practicing proper social distancing and wearing masks.

Q: Ready to Learn More?

A: Call the pregnancy hotline TODAY at 877-890-4673, text Pregnant to 919-971-5663, or email admin@achildshope.com.

For guidance on better mental health during the pandemic, check out these resources:

Ark Behavioral Health

rehab4addiction

AddictionResources.net

BACK TO SCHOOL FOR ADOPTED CHILDREN

Just starting school or returning from summer break can be difficult. For many children who are adopted this can be compounded with an awkwardness about family relationships. In some cases, the difference is obvious, such as when a child and their parents are different ethnicities or the parents are of the same gender. While taxing at times, a visual difference can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. It often evokes questions or comments early when meeting people and allowing the issue to be addressed head-on.

For other students, skin tone doesn’t tell the story. For them, the awkwardness arises during school assignments. Examples may include: creating a family tree or student timeline, researching genetics, or bringing in baby and family pictures for a bulletin board. Uneasiness can also occur in student-to-student conversations about family and background.

Some parents choose not to address the issue at all, one mother stating:

Just as I don’t go to the school and point out that my children are biracial or fantastic athletes, or that their dad is a doctor, we leave it up to the kids whether to mention adoption. Our children share information about their adoption—and
other information—when it seems right to do so for them. It has worked for us.”

Many adoption experts suggest that parents talk to teachers to explain the adoption connection. They recommend using a simple explanation that includes only the information that the parents and child are comfortable sharing. The conversation starter may go like this:

“Michael was adopted by us as a newborn, and we have an open adoption with his birth mother.”

Or, keep it really simple:

“Michael is adopted and he (does or does not) know his birth family.”

Ultimately, it is up to the parents to decide what is right for their child and family. For parents that choose to be proactive, bringing the topic up with teachers at the start of the school year is often best. The teacher may wish to make a discussion about different family types as part of their lesson plans.

School Resources

For teachers who are not familiar with the world of adoption, offering your own knowledge as a resource may be extremely helpful and very welcome guidance. Handouts like the one by Adoptive Families magazine help both the child and the teacher answer many common questions – Click here to download.

A discussion about positive adoption language and words can also be valuable. Consider sharing with the teacher this link to an article on the Adoptive Families website.

https://www.adoptivefamilies.com/talking-about-adoption/positive-adoption-language/.

Books for the School:

Parents may also wish to donate a book or two to the classroom. Here are a few titles for consideration:

The Mulberry Bird by Braff Brodzinsky & Anne Braff

Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale by Karen Katz

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis

I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose Lewis

If the teacher isn’t comfortable with books that speak directly to adoption, some alternatives include

On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

The Family Book by Todd Parr

It’s Ok To Be Different by Todd Parr

Be Who You Are by Todd Parr

How parents communicate with teachers about adoption sets the precedent for how the teacher will likely treat the topic of adoption and address situations that arise among the students. Parents that are concerned about questions or conflicts should consider taking a proactive approach and engage with the teachers.

Reducing the Out-Of-Pocket Cost of Adoption

This article was originally published by Herring & Mills PLLC on www.parkerherringlawgroup.com

By taking advantage of the federal adoption tax credit, US Military benefits and employer advantages, thousands of American families are eligible and receive financial benefits each year for the cost of adoption. Here’s a quick breakdown of those three methods:

Federal Adoption Tax Credit

The federal adoption tax credit (FATC) allows a monetary boost for adopting families whose gross annual income is not over $200,000. For those families which qualify, the federal tax credit provides up to $13,460.00. You can find more information on the FATC here. We’ve written about the federal adoption tax credit on this blog before.

“My wife Priscila and I have adopted twice through A Child’s Hope. Our two boys – one adopted in 2008 and the other in 2013 –  are priceless to us, but the Federal adoption tax credit helped make the fees and expenses affordable for us. We both work in research; I am a medical writer and my wife is a research scientist.”

— Bill Siesser

Employer / employee adoption benefits

Many employers across the country also provide the benefit of financial assistance once a child is placed in the adoptive home of its new parents. Check with your Human Resource department at your company to see what benefits or advantages there might be (if any) which your company provides.

This financial assistance from employers can take the form of a lump sum, or payment of certain fees related to an adoption or partial reimbursement to employees for expenses. Each company that offers financial assistance varies in what the payment is, but the nationwide average is around $4,000, with a range generally from $3,000 to $5000. The application process with businesses and employers tends to be relatively simple and easy.

Why do companies do it? Businesses justify these benefits as an investment in retaining their employees, and that the payment towards adoption increases worker loyalty to the business. They see it as a win-win, since training new employees is almost always more expensive than retaining current staff.

Some companies are now also offering family leave for adoption, which is a benefit that can lower the cost of your adoption if the leave is paid. (Here’s a list of America’s top adoption-friendly workplaces.)

US Military adoption benefits

The United States Military Service is an employer too, and servicemen and women in the armed forces are eligible in many cases to take advantage of adoption credits while serving. The military can be quite adoption friendly.

“The military provided us with $3,000 as financial assistance for our son Joe Joe’s adoption. Overall, the military has been extremely supportive of our adoptions.”

  • Devon Donahue, wife of a U.S. Army Officer

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.

Military Families May Qualify for Significant Benefits

Military families make excellent adoptive families. These families are accustomed to a structured lifestyle and are experienced in adjusting to new surroundings, building new connections and supporting each other. In addition, military installations have built-in support networks, including substantial health care and housing benefits, as well as “ready-made” communities.

Military Families Adopt

Patriotic Cannady Rose was Adopted by Jessica and Justin in March 2018.

For military families considering adoption, there are a variety of both support services and financial resources available before, during and after the adoption process:

  • Up to $2,000 reimbursement for qualified adoption expenses
  • Up to $13,570 in Adoption Tax Credit
  • Up to 21 days of adoption leave to bond with your new child
  • Health care benefits before the adoption is final
  • New Parent Support Programs on many installations
  • Exceptional Family Member Program for children with particular medical and/or educational needs
  • Military and Family Support Centers
  • Military-run and military-subsidized child care options
  • Affordable Child Development Programs
  • Military and Family Support Centers
  • Head Start and Sure Start
  • DoD child and youth programs, which can help your child make friends, stay active and develop new skills
  • Military Kids Connect offers engaging tools and games to help children prepare for the challenges around family transitions

Military families and their communities have many strengths including resilience, diversity, inclusiveness, social networks, and educational and health benefits which support them wherever they live.

If you, or someone you know, is in the military and is considering adoption call A Child’s Hope at 919-839-8800.

Additional information on adoption resources for military families can be found at the National Military Family Association, Military One Source and the DHSS Child Welfare Gateway.

Adoption support from the financial side include:

  • Adoption Grants: There are several grants for adoption available to waiting families who have completed the home study and meet certain Organizations like Abba Fund, National Adoption Foundationthe Goetz Foundation and many others may be able to help you fund your adoption.
  • Employer Assistance: Some employers provide financial assistance and leave from work. You should check with your employers’ Human Resource Department to see what adoption benefits exist.
  • Adoption Fundraisers: Many families turn to creative adoption fundraising ideas to help finance their adoption. Consider online adoption fundraising on websites like Go Fund Me, or host a traditional event, like a yard sale, bake sale or golf tournament.

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.

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Envia Un Texto: (919) 218-6270

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396