In 2017, Hoda Kotb became a mom of an adopted daughter, Haley Joy. The Today Show anchor is raising her little girl with boyfriend Joel Schiffman; the two have been dating for a few years.
Kotb is 53 years old, and says that her chance to be a mother came “right on time.” She shares that many of the big milestones she’s experienced have come later in her life. For instance, she was afforded the role of coanchor of The Today Show after Matt Lauer was fired due to alleged sexual misconduct. Kotb, along with Savannah Guthrie, are the first all-female co-anchor pair for the first two hours of The Today Show.
Hoda Kotb shares that her recent job opportunity came as a result of a negative situation, so she has mixed feelings about it. However, she states that she and Guthrie work well together and have a great dynamic.
Kotb also acknowledges that she has stepped into her recent promotion at the same time that the Time’s Up and Me Too movements are gaining popularity. These initiatives are focused on eliminating gender inequality and sexual harassment in the workplace.
The adopted mom shares that she realizes that her new role at The Today Show comes at the same time as these major movements in history. She shares that while she and Guthrie were doing an interview when a reporter pointed out that two women were hosting the show together. Kotb knew then that she and her coanchor were created a new norm.
As a result of adopting Haley Joy, Kotb has also published a children’s book, I’ve Loved You Since Forever, which is a celebration of the bond that parents have with their children.
For more details on Hoda Kotb’s heartwarming adoption story, visit www.huffingtonpost.com.
A couple who adopted six children after struggling with infertility for 10 years. Christy and Sean Baker are both 40-years-old. They got married in 2004 and always wanted to have a large family. They began trying shortly after they got married.
Christy found out that she had polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a condition that makes it hard for a woman to conceive naturally. They considered getting fertility treatments, but they decided to adopt instead. They adopted six children. Jacob and Alexia are both 16-years-old. Hunter is 15-years-old, Cassadie is 14-years-old, Michael is 13-years-old and Anna is 12-years-old. The four youngest children are siblings.
Christy and Sean thought that their family was complete after they adopted their sixth children. However, they received a surprise in 2013. Christy got pregnant unexpectedly. Kinsley is now four-years-old. Christy stated that Kinsley is a miracle and full of life. Christy and Sean now have the big family that they wanted.
The couple went to the doctor after they had unsuccessfully tried to get pregnant for one year. They weighed their options and ultimately decided that adoption was the route that they wanted to go. They were matched with Alexia and Jacob one year after they started the adoption process. They were later matched with the four siblings.
The couple is amazed that they were able to go from a family of two to a family of eight in just two years. After the couple adopted their children, they opted to try fertility treatments. The couple was shocked after they got pregnant after trying for nearly 10 years. They were surprised that the treatments actually worked.
Christy stated that she cried the first time that she found out that she was pregnant. She stated that their daughter is perfect.
Annie Price is a 32-year-old personal trainer who lives in London. She is still scarred from the burns that she suffered as an infant. She was severely burned when a caravan that she was living in caught on fire. Her grandmother managed to rescue her from the van.
Doctors did not expert Annie to survive for more than two days. However, she defied all odds. She eventually recovered and was adopted by a traveling family. Annie’s mother suffered from postnatal depression. She passed away in 2009.
Annie recently became a mother for the first time. She gave birth to a son after spending 19 hours in labor. She had a home water birth. She took hypno-birthing classes prior to her son’s birth. She took the classes in order to alleviate the fear she had about giving birth.
Annie admitted that she was worried that her son would be bullied because of the way she looks. However, she stated that she is less worried about that since she had her son. Annie plans on taking her son to school. She no longer thinks that bullying will be an issue.
Annie has been working with a breastfeeding expert and drinking more water to increase her milk supply. Some women do not have any problems with breastfeeding. However, Annie’s son has had issues with latching.
Annie’s story has been featured on a documentary called “Annie: Out of the Ashes.” Annie was finally able to find out the truth about the caravan fire. She was always told that her mother intentionally set the van on fire in order to kill her. However, she found out that her mother most likely did not do that.
The Brandt sisters of Minnesota made their dreams come true – they both got to play in the Olympics. Their story is different than most others, though, considering that Hannah played for the U.S. and Marissa suited up with the Korean team.
In 1992, Marissa Brandt was born in Korea as Park Yoon-Jung. In 1993, when she was just four months old, she was adopted by Americans Greg and Robin Brandt. Right before she arrived in the U.S., the Brandts found out that they were pregnant with Hannah.
The two sisters, at less than a year apart, grew up as best friends. As young girls, they took figure skating lessons together, and once Hannah switched over to hockey, Marissa soon followed. The two played together on their high school team and both went on to find success on the ice in college. Marissa played for Gustavus Adophus and Hannah for the University of Minnesota. Hannah went on to play professionally and has been part of several national teams.
In 2015, Marissa got a call from one of the South Korean assistant coaches. She flew to her birth country for a tryout, and she’s been with the team since. The Korean team is unique, including athletes from both North and South Korea as well as North American-born players. The team is led by coach Sarah Murray, who is Canadian.
In one sense, Marissa and Hannah turned out to have very different Olympic experiences. The Korean team only managed to score a few times and didn’t come away with a win. The Americans beat Canada in dramatic fashion to earn their first gold medal in 20 years.
The two sisters from Minnesota, though, got to share an incredible experience with each other and their families, realizing their Olympic dreams.
Kentucky Lawmakers are making some changes to the adoption and foster care laws in the state. Glenna Bevin is the first lady of the state. She stated that the changes that are being made are one of the most beautiful things that she has seen in a long time. Governor Matt Bevin stated that he supports the laws.
The bill states that children who are taken by the Department of Children and Family Services must be reunited with their family or put up for adoption within 15 months. The sponsored bill has been sent to the House. Representative David Meade is one of the people who introduced the bill. He stated that the goal is to reduce the number of children that are in foster care.
The number of children in Kentucky being taken from their homes due to neglect or abuse has increased drastically. Last year, there were 11,387 children in Kentucky living in foster care. Sixty-seven percent of the children in foster care are eventually returned to their homes.
Terry Brooks is executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. She stated that the bill shows that the state is committed to the well-being of children. It also shows that they want to strengthen support for children who have been hurt by neglect and abuse.
The bill requires that social workers’ caseloads be reported to the Department of Community-Based Services. Unmarried men will also be required to register with the state if they want to have a say in whether or not the child is put up for adoption. Additionally, the bill proposes that social worker pay be increased and more social workers be hired.
Mary Sullivan was forced to leave her newborn behind in the 1950s. She left her daughter with a Catholic church. The church ended up selling the baby to a family in the United States.
Mary’s daughter, Kathleen, was born in Dublin, Ireland. The Catholic church had a built a home that housed unwed mothers. After the women gave birth, they were separated from their children. The children are also given up for adoption without the mother’s consent. Mary came to the home in 1953 after she got pregnant out of wedlock. She gave birth the following year.
Kathleen was sent to America because the Catholic church felt that she would have a better life. However, Kathleen had a life that was filled with isolation and loneliness. She found out that she had been adopted when she was young. She felt distraught because she believed that her birth mother did not want her.
Kathleen did not feel like she fit in with her adopted family. Her father always referred to her as an adopted daughter. Kathleen asked her father on his death bed whether he really wanted her. He told her that he did not want her.
Kathleen had a hard life, but she was eventually able to marry and start her own family. She did not feel like she was a part of a family until she had her own family. Kathleen was still determined to find someone who was a part of her mother’s family. She found out that she had a cousin named Maureen Sullivan. They are first cousins.
Kathleen also found out that she had five siblings. She is hoping that she will eventually be able to meet them. Kathleen and Maureen talk on the phone once a week and plan to meet face-to-face soon.
Lauren Koller, who is a resident of Austin, was emotional the first time that she held her son. Her son’s biological mother mother comforted her. Lauren had dreamed of becoming a mother for a long time. She and her husband Mel counted down the days until they could become parents.
Lauren stated that they waited two long years for the adoption to be finalized. She and Mel prayed every day for their son. In April 2017, Lauren received a phone call that changed her life. The adoption agency told her that a woman named Felicia Metcalf was looking for someone to adopt her baby.
Four months later, Felicia gave birth to a baby boy. Lauren was able to meet the baby the night that he was born. A few weeks later, Lauren and Mel were able to take their baby home for good.
Lauren was filled with joy when she was feeding her son for the first time. She could not stop the tears from flowing. Felicia was there to wipe away the tears so that Lauren could continue feeding her baby. Sara Easter was the photographer who was there to witness the magical moment and capture it.
Sara stated that it was a perfect example of what an adoption should be. Both families work together to make sure that the needs of the child are met. The families have different roles, but both roles are equally important. Sara also stated that her hope is that the little boy will be able to look at the photo and see how much he is loved. She stated that the emotional moment is one that she will never forget.
Stories often fill the news about celebrities, religious leaders and others adopting children overseas. Recent changes in international adoption will make these adoptions more difficult. On February 16, Associated Press writer David Crary reported that the United States government had made changes to international adoption procedures, regulation and fees designed to prevent scams that have harmed the public. Increased fees passed on to prospective parents are expected to generate funds necessary to safeguard them by enlarging and improving accreditation and investigation staff and processes.
Business leaders at the National Council for Adoption and many adoption agencies are upset about the new changes. One adoption agency CEO, Greg Eubanks, told the press that international adoptions are a “life-and-death issue” for some kids who have mental health issues and need relocation from their birth countries. Yet, Eubanks’ claim seems to ignore that international adoptions have actually dropped over the last decade and a half from tens of thousands to less than 6,000. American families only adopted 5,372 children from other countries in 2016.
Although it is true that children are suffering in countries around the world, leaders at adoption agencies seem to have ignored the suffering taking place in the United States. Experts estimate that as many as one out of every 30 children in the U.S. don’t have a home. Although many of the estimated 2.5 million school-aged children without homes have families or guardians who are also experiencing their homelessness, a lot of children have no one to rely upon to help them. Additionally, a 2015 government report revealed that an estimated 400,000 children were waiting in foster care for someone to adopt them. Over 28,000 children had been waiting for five years or more.
Given these numbers, critics often ask why the government permits any foreign adoptions outside of special circumstances. Faith-based organizations usually see it as their mission to adopt children from foreign countries even though there’s an obvious need for an increase in domestic adoptions. Some U.S. citizens hope that the new international adoption fees and associated regulations will prompt more families to adopt here at home.
The Parke family had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Not only did the couple celebrate each other’s love, but they also added four children to their family. Jennifer Riedel-Parke and her wife Trudy have fostered several children over the years.
They are the proud parents of 6-year-old Kyle, 4-year-old Jazz, 3-year-old Bethann and 21-month Jonathan. The couple held a celebration at their house, which was attended by their family members and friends. They had a superhero-themed party. “Even Superman Was Adopted” was on the cake.
All of the children are biological siblings. The Parkes have been the children’s foster parents since 2016. They stated that they only take in siblings. The couple thought that they would temporarily foster the children. However, the biological parents gave up their rights. Jennifer is happy that things turned out the way that they did because she always wanted to have a family.
The children call their parents Mama Chewy and Mama Jen. Trudy stated that Jen cooks for the children every day. She cooks fruits, vegetables and homemade soups. She also makes homemade pancakes and sushi.
Trudy stated that the couple is open to adopting more children. Christine Dangrow was the case manager. She was in the courtroom when the adoption was finalized. Being a foster parent is not easy. They have to make sure that all of the children’s basic needs are met, which includes taking them to medical and dental appointments.
Christine stated that it warms her heart to see people care for children that are not biologically theirs. She believes that the children will thrive in the Parke home because it is an environment of love, nurturing, structure and discipline.
A Russian mother is fighting a battle in court after her adopted kids were stripped away from her by local authorities. The adopting mother, Yulia Savinovskikh said she had breast surgery because her large breasts were affecting her health and well-being. Right before having the breast surgery, Yulia said she wrote a blog where she pretended she was a man.
Her two adopted children were taken away from her in August of 2017. The court said that because she identified as being a man in her blog post before the surgery, she had no right to be an adoptive parent of the kids anymore. It is important to point out that the kids that Yulia Savinovskikh adopted were from an orphanage. They are also mentally ill.
The Russian district court in Yekaterinburg said that Mrs. Savinovskikh could no longer play the role of a mother and that she goes against what is considered normal in Russian society. The court in Yekaterinburg also said that she is violating family law principles in the country. This is a clear form of discrimination.
Yulia Savinovskikh has three older children which she has given birth and raised. She also says that her kids call her mum like any other child would call their mother. Savinovskikh has also added that she is not taking any hormones or undergoing a penis reconstruction surgery to make her more manly. She is also not changing her gender on her documents and will contain to be listed as a female. Savinovskikh is also married to a man who is her husband and was supportive of her breast surgery.
Mrs. Savinovskikh’s struggle to win back custody of her adopted kids who are only a few years old and are mentally ill is emblematic of a larger problem when it comes to adoption in Russia. Many parents who are homosexual or transgender face discrimination when adopting kids. Homosexuals and transgender people are also discriminated against and face persecution in Russia. Instead of focusing on giving these kids a happy and loving home by people that want to adopt them, the Russian courts are attacking their supposed sexuality and lifestyle. This is wrong and needs to change.