Last day for early voting in General Primary is Friday
vides an opportunity for people across the nation to focus attention on the year- round needs of American children and youth in foster care. The campaign raises awareness about foster care and encourages many more citizens to get involved in the lives of these youth – whether as their foster parents, volunteers, mentors, employers or in other ways. Foster Care Month also provides an opportunity for acknowledging the thousands of dedicated foster families and other caring individuals and organizations who are already supporting these young people.
“I want to thank everybody for coming out,” said Resource Development Case Manager for Gordon County Department of Family and Children Services Garrett Pierce. “This proclamation is to raise awareness to increase the need for more foster homes and the need our agency needs, specifically here in Gordon County, where we have 91 children in foster
The last day to cast a ballot early for the General Primary & Nonpartisan Election is this Friday, May 20, and the Gordon County Board of Elections wants to remind voters this will be the last time to vote before the actual primary, which will be held next Tuesday, May 24.
“The Gordon County Board of Elections and Registration Office would like to remind you that this is a Primary Election and you will have to choose to receive a democratic, republican or a nonpartisan ballot,” said Shea Hicks, chairperson.
Early voting began on Monday, May 2 and as of press time, 874 voters have cast their ballot in Gordon County.
In this year’s election, for Gordon County Commissioner District 1, local civic leader Bud Owens will face Sonoraville High School teacher Michael Farley.
For Gordon County Commissioner District 3, incumbent Norris Sexton will face Wes Roland.
For Gordon County Commissioner District 5, incumbent Kevin Cunningham will face Fairmount resident Kathy Ryan.
Clerk of Superior Court incumbent Grant Walraven is running unopposed.
For the office of Coroner, incumbent James Carver will face opposition from Thomas Funeral Home funeral director Justin Thomas.
care and only 26 foster homes. We are hoping that by exposure through the media and by word of mouth that we do get our need out to the community that we need more homes and more volunteers to help the kids that we do have in Gordon County. All of the surrounding counties will be doing similar proclamation signings in their communities.”
“I was a foster parent,” said Hood. “I have three adoptive children ( from fostering). Judge (Lane) Bearden recently told me that 66 percent of our foster children are having to go out of county, so that is a concern. Hopefully this will bring awareness and we can get more foster homes open and people will realize it is not as hard as it seems; and if they have a heart for it, they should try it.”
The proclamation stated in part that “The families serving as the primary source of love, identity, self esteem and support is the very foundation of our communities and our state and in Gordon County, there are 91 youth in foster care being provided with a safe, secure and stable home along with compassion and nurture of a foster family. All young people in foster care need a meaningful connection to a caring adult who becomes a supportive and lasting presence in their life. Foster kinship and adoptive families who open their homes and heart and support children whose families are in crisis play a vital role in helping children and families heal and reconnect thereby launching young people into successful adulthood.”
Hood proclaimed May as Foster Care Awareness Month in Calhoun- Gordon County, and urged citizens to come forward and do something positive that will help change a lifetime for children and youth in foster care.
Local foster parents Nikki and Terry Hampton agree with the importance of bringing awareness to the need for foster homes.
“We are a family who lost a child to illness,” said Nikki of her late son, Coulter Hampton. “As a parent without one of my children, it broke my heart to know there were children without parents. It seemed like a perfect fit for us! Both the children in care and our family benefit from being together.”
Fostering has become a very important part of the Hampton’s life; initially, they only wanted to become adoptive parents. “We initially set out to only be foster to adopt,” said Nikki. “But, as most foster parents will tell you, when you get a call that a child is in need it is very difficult to say no. I would say over the years we have probably cared for thirty children or so in varying capacities.”
While the Hampton’s admit to some challenges in fostering, the benefits outweigh them. “I think the initial challenge of a foster parent is to connect and care for a child who has come from a less than perfect home,” said Nikki. “They don’t always know how to show love, care for others or themselves. Fostering has definitely taught me patience and opened my eyes to the need in our area for more foster parents. I never realized how many children are in need.”
“My husband and I feel blessed to be a part of these children’s lives for however long they are with us,” continued Nikki. “We feel challenged with the task of allowing these young children to see what love is and when they leave us know that in some small way we have changed them, just as much as they changed us. We also feel compelled to share our story of fostering with others when the opportunity presents itself. I think there are some negative perceptions of fostering that don’t exist anymore. It’s not always easy, but having children never is. Children are like flowers, you can never have too many!”
Throughout the years, the Hampton’s have tried to keep in touch with some of their fosters, but that’s not always possible; however, the children they have helped hold a very special place in the family’s heart. “I would love to say I know exactly where all the children are that we have cared for, but we don’t always get to be part of the whole story,” said Nikki. “Sometimes we are only a short chapter in their lives. I am always grateful to be included in any child’s life. Being a parent is such an important role. Parents come in many forms; sometimes grandparents, aunts and uncles take care of you and teach you the way. We are grateful to be able to provide a safe, stable environment for as long as we can. We often find ourselves around the table thinking, “What would ____ have said about that? “or “Wouldn’t ____ have loved that movie.” I hope they remember us the way we remember them - with love.”
For anyone wanting more information on becoming a foster parent, an inquiry line is available for anyone interested in fostering or adopting at 877210- KIDS ( 5437). You can also obtain more information by emailing Pierce at Garrett. Pierce@ dhs. ga. gov, or calling 706- 624- 1252.
Garrett Pierce with DFCS, Commissioner Becky Hood, Judge Lane Bearden and others recognize National Foster Care Awareness Month.