City of Residence: Warner Robins
Occupation: Retired teacher
(November is National Adoption Awareness Month)
QUESTION: Why are you such an advocate for adoption?
ANSWER: My husband, Ed, and I grew our family through adoption. Ive seen what good it does and I believe adoption is a very biblical idea. Were brought into Gods family through adoption by the blood of Jesus.
QUESTION: So youre an adoptive parent?
ANSWER: People have different reasons for adopting, some have medical reasons they cant have children, others just choose to grow their family through adoption. We decided to grow our family through adoption and adopted our daughter, now 40, and our son whos 37. Both were infants when we got them.
QUESTION: Share a bit of the process back then.
ANSWER: The hardest thing is all the questions. Theres a huge amount of paperwork because agencies want to know all about you. Theyre very careful. They ask about financial status, get letters from family members, church and others. They knew more about us than we did.
The process with Kimberly began in 1972 and was about a year and a half. Ed was in the Air Force and we were in Arkansas. The agency was in Texas. They required a year waiting period and graciously counted time Ed was away in Vietnam. Finally, they told us we were getting a baby -- but not when.
QUESTION: Put you on pins and needles?
ANSWER: You bet. They called one afternoon and said be there the next day. Ed was in a three-day mandatory class. I told him weve got a baby -- we have to leave tomorrow morning, tell them your wifes in the hospital having a baby and you have to go! He didnt, but he got out of it somehow. We went and got our first child. Both she and Brian have been such blessings and now we have three grandchildren.
QUESTION: And now youre on the board of an adoption agency.
ANSWER: Im on the board of Covenant Care Services, a Christian adoption and counseling ministry based in Macon with offices throughout Georgia. It was begun in 1989 and Ive been on the board for 20 years.
QUESTION: Has adoption changed much?
ANSWER: Its much the same, theres still a lot of paperwork. You have to have references, provide medical information, have training, have home visits and after-the-fact visits. For us then it was visits for 6 months.
QUESTION: Adoption is expensive?
ANSWER: It can be. Part of what the Covenant Care board does is raise funds so we can keep costs to adoptive parents low, some of the lowest in Georgia. We dont rely on adoption fees to sustain our ministry nor are we for-profit. Were a non-profit and gospel-centered and were here to help adoptive parents and give birth mothers the help and love Christ would.
QUESTION: How do you find birth mothers?
ANSWER: We dont find them. Were not a group looking for babies. We dont provide babies, we provide families. We find families for babies. Mothers find us. Its ironic that abortion and adoption are side by side in the Yellow Pages. Obviously, we prefer adoption. Mothers most often call us in our free crisis line, 1-800-226-5683. We have two-parent, Christian families we know desire to adopt. One difference today from the past is we dont consider it giving up a baby, we see it more as a birth-mother making an adoption plan.
QUESTION: What are some services you provide birth mothers?
ANSWER: Some come just a few times for information or counseling and were happy to provide it. Others we provide a case worker whos with them throughout. They do things together, go to workshops and offer various support. We even help if they decide to keep their baby. The percentage who do that show were not in it just to get babies. Were glad to serve them through their pregnancy regardless. At Covenant Care, the birth-mother isnt pushed to the side but plays an integral part.
QUESTION: How about after?
ANSWER: Too often birth-mothers are forgotten, but we have a program for them after adoption, too. Were also there for birth mothers whove placed babies through other agencies. Theres often really sorrow after adoption. Birth mothers are given dignity. Theyre just as important as the baby or the family adopting. Thats different from years gone by.
QUESTION: How many adoptions annually in Georgia?
ANSWER: I dont have those figures, but I know weve placed over 600 children since 1989.
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at email@example.com.