Q&A with Jo Betsy Kinser

November 20, 2013 

Jo Betsy Kinser

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. I’ve seen what good it does and I believe adoption is a very biblical idea. We’re brought into God’s family through adoption by the blood of Jesus.

QUESTION: So you’re an adoptive parent?

ANSWER: People have different reasons for adopting, some have medical reasons they can’t 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 who’s 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. There’s a huge amount of paperwork because agencies want to know all about you. They’re 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 we’ve got a baby -- we have to leave tomorrow morning, tell them your wife’s in the hospital having a baby and you have to go! He didn’t, 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 you’re on the board of an adoption agency.

ANSWER: I’m 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 I’ve been on the board for 20 years.

QUESTION: Has adoption changed much?

ANSWER: It’s much the same, there’s 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 don’t rely on adoption fees to sustain our ministry nor are we for-profit. We’re a non-profit and gospel-centered and we’re here to help adoptive parents and give birth mothers the help and love Christ would.

QUESTION: How do you find birth mothers?

ANSWER: We don’t find them. We’re not a group looking for babies. We don’t provide babies, we provide families. We find families for babies. Mothers find us. It’s 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 don’t 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 we’re happy to provide it. Others we provide a case worker who’s 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 we’re not in it just to get babies. We’re glad to serve them through their pregnancy regardless. At Covenant Care, the birth-mother isn’t 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. We’re also there for birth mothers who’ve placed babies through other agencies. There’s often really sorrow after adoption. Birth mothers are given dignity. They’re just as important as the baby or the family adopting. That’s different from years gone by.

QUESTION: How many adoptions annually in Georgia?

ANSWER: I don’t have those figures, but I know we’ve placed over 600 children since 1989.

Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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