Lo­cals cel­e­brate Adop­tion Aware­ness Month in Polk

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Sean Wil­liams [email protected]­hoo.com

Novem­ber is Adop­tion Aware­ness Month, and staff from the Ge­or­gia Di­vi­sion of Fam­ily and Chil­dren Ser­vices joined hands with lo­cal com­mu­nity mem­bers to cel­e­brate in a big way.

Be­tween din­ner, gifts, and cer­tifi­cates, all of the Polk County fos­ter and adop­tive fam­i­lies present were hon­ored for the im­pact they’ve made in the lives of oth­ers.

Those in­ter­ested in be­com­ing in­volved in a child’s life can visit itsmy­turn­nowga.com for a list­ing of the ap­prox­i­mately 300 Ge­or­gia chil­dren cur­rently free for adop­tion.

Polk County has given 20 chil­dren new homes since the be­gin­ning of 2018, but with only 24 homes, 145 Polk youth re­main in DFCS cus­tody and await a lov­ing fos­ter home.

More in­for­ma­tion about help­ing chil­dren in need is avail­able at 1-877-210-KIDS or fos­ter­ge­or­gia.com.

Op­er­at­ing un­der the idea that it takes a vil­lage to raise a child, ev­ery par­ent was ap­plauded as they re­ceived their award, prom­i­nent com­mu­nity staff was thanked, and signed cards made sure all felt ap­pre­ci­ated.

“The goal this evening is to ap­pre­ci­ate our fos­ter and adop­tive par­ents here in Polk County,” DFCS Ge­or­gia Re­gion 3 Direc­tor Su­san Ol­lis said. “To ap­pre­ci­ate the ded­i­ca­tion they show to the chil­dren who are with them, and their will­ing­ness to work with all of us as a vil­lage to help meet these chil­drens’ needs and to love them.”

With youth play­ing in the Boys and Girls Club gym, par­ents took the time to share their adop­tion sto­ries and what the process meant for them.

One lo­cal father Martin West spoke on his jour­ney of adopt­ing three dif­fer­ent youth be­fore end­ing his speech in song.

“Af­ter we were mar­ried a month or two, I wanted a baby,” West said. “We tried for about two years, but we didn’t get to have a baby.”

While adop­tion was orig­i­nally the cou­ple’s only op­tion for a new child, it quickly be­came a pas­sion and some­thing they would do on three sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions.

“We started fos­ter­ing classes, and we heard about Si­mon,” West shared. “We went ahead and fin­ished the classes and got Si­mon, and we were just gonna adopt him- that’s all we re­ally wanted to do. DFCS called one night with a lit­tle girl for adop­tion and said “oh, she’s beau­ti­ful,” but I said we just want the one. Then I asked what her name was, and they said Faith. So, I said we’d take her.”

West and his wife would even­tu­ally go on to adopt Si­mon’s new­born brother, and they keep in con­tact with the birth mother. While orig­i­nally un­able to ex­pand their fam­ily to­gether, the cou­ple en­riched both their and their chil­dren’s lives via adop­tion.

“Our house is like a big day­care usu­ally,” West said.

More in­for­ma­tion about adop­tion aware­ness month and means of con­tribut­ing to or join­ing the adop­tion process can be found at https://adop­tion. com/.

The event owes spe­cial thanks to con­tribut­ing and spon­sor­ing busi­nesses such as the Bre­men Food Bank, Rock­mart Chick­Fil-A, and the Cedar­town Home De­pot who helped make the event pos­si­ble.

“Know that we are all grate­ful and show grat­i­tude to ev­ery­one in this room,” Ol­lis said. “Novem­ber is na­tional adop­tion month. It was an op­por­tu­nity for our staff to come out and re­ally show some ap­pre­ci­a­tion and spend time with you. We have a cou­ple things planned, but I just wanted to make sure you all know how im­por­tant you are- whether you’re a fos­ter fam­ily or adopted.”

Left:

Above: Fam­i­lies gath­ered to cel­e­brate Adop­tion Aware­ness Month in Polk County at the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar­town on Nov. 20.Si­mon and Martin West were among those who cel­e­bra­tion Adop­tion Aware­ness Month last week at the Boys and Girls Club in Cedar­town.

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