National Adoption Day falls on November 21, and is a national effort to raise awareness of the over 100,000 children waiting in foster care for their forever families to find them. The day is sponsored by four wonderful organizations: Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, The Alliance for Children’s Rights, and Children’s Action Network. Since its inception in 2000, National Adoption Day has helped nearly 54,500 children find their forever families. LSG specializes in finding homes for special needs children, which means children that can be more difficult to place due to age, being part of a sibling group, or having a disability. We believe every child is adoptable and every child is special, and work with some incredible families and children. In recognition of this day, Shamae Crosswhite has shared her family's story, below.
First and foremost, I would like to thank the staff at Lutheran Services of Georgia for helping us find our missing pieces through adoption. My husband and I were trying to start our family the natural way, but unfortunately we did not have success. Adoption was always an option for us, so we decided moved the timetable up.
My husband and I started the adoption process in December 2013. I will never forget the day I went to our local DFACS office for an informational session. We arrived on time and were very anxious to learn more about the adoption process. The first words out of the case manager’s mouth were “we are not accepting applications for adoption at this time.” Once I heard those words, I don’t remember hearing anything else that was mentioned--my heart was broken. I remember walking out of the office crying, leaving my husband behind to speak with the case manager. He came out the office, hugged me tight and told me everything will work out. He said that the case manager gave him a phone number to an agency that handles adoption. That agency was Lutheran Services of Georgia.
I knew I didn’t want to give up, so I called the number the very next day. We were scheduled for the next available informational session which was only two days away. Once we attended the informational session at LSG, we knew this was the place for us; it just felt right. That night, we decided that we definitely wanted to move forward with the process and potentially have a sibling group.
In January 2014, we completed all the paperwork to attend the classes. We ended up completing our final classes in June. And in July, LSG conducted our home study. By September 2014, we were approved by the state and LSG to be matched with a child. I remember attending an adoption quarterly meeting and someone mentioned creating an adoption flyer that we could send to the other case managers and people we knew for potential matches. With the exception of our parents, we did not want to tell our family or friends that we were going through the process.
Well, after attending the quarterly meeting we realized that we should tell more people as we felt the meeting encouraged us to share our story. Once we made that decision, I emailed everyone in my contact list the flyer. Low and behold, a friend of ours knew a case manager and she forwarded the email to her. Would you believe that is how we find out about two beautiful kids? We ended up receiving a phone call from Ms. Terrell about the possible match and I cried. There were so many additional personal issues we were also dealing with during this time, but this news restored me. I believed, no, I knew this was God’s doing. He waited for the perfect time to provide us with two children who needed us just as much as we needed them.
They sent the file over for us to read. Just reading their story, word after word, we knew they were for us. I remember attending the meeting to sign papers to move forward with the match. We signed the papers and then I asked, “Can I see a picture of them?” I didn’t have to see a picture to know they were my babies; a 5 year old girl and 8 year old boy. We met them for the very first time on December 5, 2014. I will never forget that visit. I wanted to take them home and keep them safe because they were MY children! They are the most affectionate children I know. They were officially placed with us on January 12, 2014. And after numerous home visits, we finalized the adoption July 7, 2015.
I will never say this process was easy, but it wasn’t a huge battle. To those contemplating adoption, I leave you with this advice: First, be patient. Everything happens in due time. Second, share the process with family and friends because you never know who they know or how they can help. Third, love all the kids with an unequivocal, unconditional love no matter their situation. Fourth, utilize Lutheran Services of Georgia at all avenues. They have a plethora of information. Last but not least, keep the faith.