blended families

Anxiously Waiting…

Janice and Leon met at work at a small software company in England. Janice was in accounting, Leon was a traveling software consultant, and they fell in love over Leon’s expense reports. When they were offered an opportunity to come to America, they jumped at it! Janice enjoys baking and photography, while Leon golfs every chance he gets. They travel – Janice’s family lives all over the world, and Leon’s five brothers and sisters are in England – hike, and relax around the house with their 15-year-old calico, Purdy. Even though they don’t have kids of their own…YET…they enjoy playing with their friends’ children and can’t wait to pass on their favorite traditions. Leon’s favorite: Waiting at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning while mom and dad go down to see what Santa and the reindeer had left.

Adoption Can Be Simply 1+1!

Sharon was 39 years old and wanted a child, but she just hadn’t met Mr. Right.

“Well, I wasn’t sure I was meant to find Mr. Right, but I knew I was meant to be a mom,
Sharon said. “People kept telling me I should adopt, but I was concerned I couldn’t do it on my own.”

Sharon wanted to be a mom, so she followed her heart and signed with our adoption agency. She adopted Katelyn, an African American girl who was born in 2005.

Sharon has faced challenges as a single woman adopting a child, and because Sharon is Caucasian, adopting an African American infant brought on complications.  But thanks to A Child’s Hope, these challenges have been met with love and humor. The result?  A little girl with a very devoted mother.

“Katelyn is a part of me that will always be there,” said Sharon. “She is my daughter, and I am the only mother she has ever known. And she always comes first. Adopting Katelyn is the absolute best thing I have ever done, and I would absolutely do it again.”

The pieces of Sharon’s puzzle have come together – the love she felt for Katelyn rushed into every facet of her life, and she married Mr. Right last year. Yes, Sharon does receive comments from strangers about Katelyn, but she has learned to handle it with humor.

“My favorite comment is when I’m asked if her father was African American,” Sharon said. “I always respond, ‘Yes apparently he was.'”

Do you have a story you’d like to tell?  Email us at  Visit us at, or call our Birth Mother Hotline at 1-877-890-HOPE (4976) so one of our adoption counselors can answer your questions confidentially.

Please remember that this is a public site open to anyone; therefore, anything you post can be seen by anyone.

There’s Always a Plan

One of the things I keep seeing demonstrated since I’ve become more active with A Child’s Hope is that there’s a plan for every adoptive family.  Whether you believe in the Christian God, Allah, a conscious Universe – whatever you call to choose that force out there that ties seemingly random events into a unified whole – there is a plan, and it is AWESOME!!

Take Birth Mother Donna (name changed for privacy).  She had chosen adoptive parents out of North Carolina, but that situation fell through.  We were peripherally involved in her case, so she chose our agency to help her.  In the past week, she had a match meeting with one set of parents, who decided against going forward with her.  She’s very close to term…VERY close.  In fact, the doctors “stripped her membranes” on Monday, so she really should have given birth already.  But she didn’t.

Donna reviewed more profiles and chose another couple.  They had a match meeting yesterday, and it went beautifully!  Now it’s Friday morning, and she’s gone into labor.  Apparently that baby was just waiting to meet his or her adoptive parents.

Random events?  Maybe.  But I don’t think so, and you’ll never convince me otherwise.

Do you have a story you’d like to tell?  Email me at  Visit us at, or call our Birth Mother Hotline at 1-877-890-HOPE (4976) so one of our adoption counselors can answer your questions confidentially.

Please remember that this is a public site open to anyone; therefore, anything you post can be seen by anyone.

I Love Placement Days!

I absolutely love placement day, especially when it’s in the office.  The new parents leave with their baby, and everyone is smiling and happy.  I imagine things can be more difficult with the placement of older children, but yesterday’s placement of three-year-old twins seemed to go as perfectly as anything possibly can.

Our Adoption Counselor said, “After placement, [the birth mother] was all smiles and said she just feels very comfortable with her decision, and is so thankful [the adoptive parents] are open-minded about taking older children and they all seem so happy. ”

Life is hard in different ways for everyone, but good things do happen…like they did yesterday!

Congratulations to our latest new family!

Who Likes Unanswered Questions? (Part 2)

In my last piece we determined that I don’t like unanswered questions.  I’m still operating on the assumption that you don’t either.  So let’s talk about the reasons to consider open or semi-open adoption.

There are so many good reasons to consider open or semi-open adoption.  In a study called “Bridging the Divide: Openness in Adoption and Post-Adoption Psychsocial Adjustment Among Birth and Adoptive Parents” published in the 2008 Journal of Family Psychology (, researchers found that “the degree of openness in adoption was significantly and positively associated with satisfaction with the adoption process shortly after the adoptive placement.  Increased openness was also significantly related to better post-placement adjustment of birth mothers.”  And in a study called “Open Adoption of Infants: Adoptive Parents’ Feelings Seven Years Later” published in Social Work, Vol. 48, number 3, July 2003 (, researchers found that, “Every respondent (100 percent) agreed that ‘my child is better off because she or he has access to her or his birth parent.’”

You can see other studies listed on the right of the above pages under “Related citations,” but to summarize, birth mothers who participate in adoption planning for placement in open situations are more likely to seek support, utilize counseling resources, and to establish and follow through with prenatal care and often feel a stronger sense of commitment toward their adoption plan.  The continued opportunity to hear that a child is doing well impacts a birth parent’s ability to feel reassured about and at peace with their adoption decision.  And in the genuine form of open adoption, birth parents are permitted to have direct contact with the child and have the opportunity to speak for themselves in answering any questions the child has about their adoption, their ethnic background or their health background.

For the adoptive parents, having been chosen by the birthparents helps them feel entitled to parent, which helps insure attachment and bonding with the child. Having established a relationship with the birth parents can help reduce fears, guilt or insecurities felt by the adoptive parents related to the adoption.

The advantages for the adoptive child include an opportunity to reduce unknowns, allowing the adoptee to feel good not only about where he/she is, but also where he/she came from. Open adoption allows the child to witness and experience the love felt for them by their birth parent(s) and provides pathways for the child to obtain information about their birth family which goes beyond the medical and social history of the birth parents and birth family.

The list of positives for all parties goes on and on, but to my way of thinking, the most important reason is the availability of family medical history that isn’t available in closed adoptions.  Yes, birth mothers fill out forms with family medical history, and the same information is obtained from birth fathers when possible.  But is it complete?  Has she remembered everything you need to know?  Ten years later, has anything changed?

What if your child is in the emergency room with an unidentified illness, and the doctors think it might be a genetic problem?  They want more information about the family history, but you don’t have it since your child’s adoption was closed.  Or now your child is an adult, and the doctor is trying to assess the risk of breast cancer or heart attack, but that assessment is incomplete because a more current family history isn’t available.

(My mind can come up with all sorts of scary scenarios.  I won’t do that to you here – as a parent you’ll be able to come up with enough of your own.  Trust me!)

But if you chose open adoption, you could call or email the birth mother to get the information.  If you chose semi-open, you would still have access to the information, but it would take time to get it since contact is through the Agency.  Either way, you can get the information needed for your child’s health.  With a closed adoption, you can’t, period.  You’ve closed that door.

Thanks go out to Laura Kladis, MSW, our Adoption Counselor/Supervisor.  She teaches a class for adoptive parents on the benefits of open adoption, and the information for this blog is from her class materials.

At A Child’s Hope, we offer semi-open and open adoptions.  Since 2000 we have successfully placed over 250 children into loving homes.  If you are pregnant, call one of our counselors at 1-877-890-HOPE (4673) while you are considering your options.  There’s no obligation, and all calls are confidential.

So what about you – Do you like unanswered questions?  Tell us what you think.

What is your adoption story?  We’d love to hear it!   Email your story to  Visit us at, or call our Birth Mother Hotline at 1-877-890-HOPE (4976) so one of our adoption counselors can answer your questions confidentially.

Who Likes Unanswered Questions? (Part 1)

Who likes unanswered questions? Not me!!

Back in the day, adoption was a deep, dark secret. It was treated like something to be ashamed of, a family skeleton. Adoption wasn’t usually a positive experience for the birth mother, and in the stories I remember from way back when, I don’t remember any mention of a birth father.

Thank heavens, all that has changed! Adoption is a great way to build a family, and it’s a way that has been embraced and experienced by some very interesting people. Adoption.Com has a list of hundreds of famous adoptees. Check it out sometime…you may be surprised.

The best thing about adoption today is that the birth mother has choices about the handling of the adoption that weren’t available to her just a few years ago. Gone are the days where the baby is whisked away from the birth mother in the delivery room, never to be seen or heard from again! One of the most important choices is how much she’ll know about the child after he or she is born, which leads us to a brief discussion of the three types of adoption: closed adoption, open adoption, and semi-open adoption.

The most well-known type of adoption is the closed adoption. The birth mother knows nothing (or next to nothing) about the adoptive parents, and the only thing they know about her are a few medical facts. All records are sealed, and it’s next to impossible to get the records unsealed if either the mother or the child wants details later on. Closed adoption is still a choice, but it’s not the only one, and, in many cases, it’s not the best one.

Open and semi-open adoptions are becoming more prevalent. In fact, at A Child’s Hope, we only handle open and semi-open adoptions.

In an open adoption, the birth mother and adoptive parents meet and continue to have a relationship after the adoption is finalized. The terms of that relationship vary according to the wishes of the parties. Open adoption is NOT co-parenting. The adoptive parents are the child’s parents, period. Their child, their rules. But the birth mother is aware of what’s going on in the child’s life. The parties may meet once or twice a year, more if everyone is agreeable, or they may communicate only by telephone or email.  Whatever the terms, the birth mother has a choice.  The adoptive parents have indicated a willingness to be involved in a relationship with her, and the terms of the relationship are documented in the parenting agreement.

Between the two adoption extremes is the semi-open adoption, which blends open and closed adoptions to present a more conservative choice to birth and adoptive parents, while leaving the door open for contact through the agency.  In a semi-open adoption, the adoptive parents send pictures of the child to the agency at predetermined times.  Our Agency Coordinator reviews the information to confirm it doesn’t contain any identifying information and then forwards it to the birth mother.

Choices – it’s all about choices!

In my next piece, I’ll talk about the reasons to choose open or semi-open adoption.  In the meantime, though, think about it.  Do you like unanswered questions?

What is your adoption story?  We’d love to hear it!   Email your story to  Visit us at, or call our Birth Mother Hotline at 1-877-890-HOPE (4976) so one of our adoption counselors can answer your questions confidentially.

A Child’s Hope

Webster’s online dictionary defines the word “adopt” as “to take by choice into a relationship; especially: to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one’s own child.”  That’s a nice definition, as far as it goes.  However, it’s so much more!

Three months ago, I didn’t know.  Oh, what I didn’t know!  I’m a mom.  I know the joy of giving birth, holding my baby for the first time, watching him learn to roll over, sit up, and all the other wonderful childhood milestones.  I knew that adoptive parents would love their adopted child, but I didn’t get it.

I didn’t understand that they would be just as excited as I was the first time I held my son.  He was premature and in intensive care right after he was born, so I couldn’t hold him for a few days.  Adoptive parents can’t hold their child until after a waiting period either.  It’s kind of the same, but I didn’t get it.

My son lost his first tooth and was afraid of the tooth fairy – a stranger – coming into our house at night.  We wrote the tooth fairy a letter and asked her to leave the tooth in an envelope on the front door this time.  I knew adoptive parents would experience their version of the tooth fairy, but I didn’t understand.

My son didn’t like the idea of Santa coming to leave presents at Christmas because, again, he was a stranger coming into our house at night.  He was okay after I explained that I knew Santa, and that he wasn’t really a stranger.  Again, I knew adoptive parents would have their Santa experience, but I didn’t understand.  I didn’t get it.

I didn’t get it until I saw a family – parents with one adopted son – on their way to meet their second adopted son.  They were glowing!  The little boy was so excited about being a big brother.  He was looking forward to teaching his new brother all about football (soccer for him), and teaching him how to ride a bike and throw a baseball and play nice with the puppy.

I’m the Administrator of Herring Mills & Kratt, the law firm that works with A Child’s Hope.  I was also doing the bookkeeping for A Child’s Hope.  That family opened my eyes, and I fell in love with the concept of adoption.  Since then, all I’ve wanted to do was to help the Agency build families.  I never dreamed I would be called in this way.

What is your adoption story?  We’d love to hear it!   Email your story to  Visit us at, or call our Birth Mother Hotline at 1-877-890-HOPE (4976) so one of our adoption counselors can answer your questions confidentially.

Please remember that this is a public site open to anyone; therefore, anything you post can be seen by anyone.

Birthmother Hotline: (877) 890-4673

Envia Un Texto: (919) 218-6270

Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396