Christmas Party for Adoption Services

“Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!” Santa calls out as he enters the room full of children and youth. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Steve Oliver, an LSG employee, Santa walks around and greets the children, who either eye him suspiciously or run up to him and shout, “Santa, Santa!” Mrs. Claus also makes an appearance, talking with the kids and answering their questions about the North Pole. Santa then takes a seat and the children form a line next to him. The first kid hops up onto his lap and nestles into position, and Santa asks his big question, the one that kids never tire of hearing: “What do you want for Christmas?”

This is how the Christmas party for LSG’s Adoption Services began. Families from across Atlanta gathered at LSG to celebrate the holidays and their involvement with the agency. Parents who had adopted infants just after they were born through LSG’s Domestic Infant Adoption Program and those who had adopted children from foster care through LSG’s Heritage Adoption Program all came together for the celebration. Two adoptive parents traveled all the way from Savannah for the party, wanting to thank everyone at LSG for helping them adopt their daughter, now a three-year-old. For Electra Evans, LSG’s Domestic Infant Adoption Coordinator, the best part of the afternoon was “seeing the babies that I placed who are now three- and four-years old.”

All of the families were familiar with LSG and the Adoption Services staff, but they did not know each other. “It was really neat how they connected over adoption,” said Noreen Horrigon, LSG’s State Adoption Program Manager, referring to the adoptive parents. Couples made these connections all afternoon, trading stories about adoption while watching their children race around the room or create necklaces and bracelets at the arts and crafts table in the corner. LSG thanks all the parents and children who celebrated with us, and we look forward to the party next year, when the Adoption “family” will have grown even larger!

ADOPTION: More Families, More Placements in 2012

As we move into the New Year, our Adoption staff has renewed their passion and commitment to finding families for children waiting for a permanent home. We have scheduled IMPACT training classes for parents who want to adopt from the foster care system, and have also scheduled our Cooperative Open Adoption training for parents wanting to adopt newborn infants. IMPACT is scheduled at theAtlantaoffice on January 21 and 22. The Cooperative Open Adoption Training for Parents is scheduled for February 4, 2012. We have invited 14 prospective adoptive families for IMPACT and have extended the invitation for the class to foster families needing to be trained as well. We have invited 25 prospective adoptive families to the newborn infant training.  Families may be trained in both programs if they wish to be considered for children as they are available and need homes, whether they are infants or older children.

The Adoption Program has approximately 35 approved homes watching to be matched with a child at any given time.

Please contact either Anne Boyte at or Electra Evans at if you have any questions about either of these classes.

Adoption: Creating Holiday Traditions and Rituals in Adoptive Families

Many children who have been placed for adoption from foster care have anxiety and uncertainty about holidays and the expectations these times carry.  It is helpful for adoptive families to quickly establish rituals and traditions that embrace their newly formed family members, so the child can feel a part of a heritage that is significant fro the family. Traditions such as these help create bonds in adoptive families. The most enduring traditions cost little money, but help everyone feel special. . Your family traditions will remain important as your child becomes an adult.

One way the adoption staff at Lutheran Services of Georgia helps families build these holiday traditions is through our annual Adoptive Family Christmas Party. This year Andrew Willis was our Santa Claus, juggling several pillows to stuff his Santa suit! We also have a volunteer who annually offers her services as a clown teaching the children to make animal shapes out of balloons and keeping them enthralled with her pink hair and colorful clown garments. Families are asked to bring a dish to share and the children often help in the preparation of a holiday favorite from their home.

What we have discovered over the years is that families early in placement come in numbers to the party but as time moves forward and they develop strong traditions of their own, the tether to the agency is gradually released.  We are thrilled to see this as we know this means the adoption is no longer the primary focus of the family life. We do see families who adopt newborn infants return year after year to share with great pride their bundle of joy’s growth and development.

On December 4, 2011, we had between 50-60 people attend our annual Adoptive Family Christmas Party. Several families returned as they are now ready for placement of additional children from foster care.

We feel very blessed to be a part of the children’s transition to permanency, love and a nurturing family to grow up in. This has become a seasonal tradition we are proud to offer our families.

Adoption: Lutheran Teachings Guide Us to Serve

We in the LSG adoption program recognize the journey of adoption for both the family and the children who are adopted. We also recognize it is a privilege to find a permanent home for a waiting child. Adoption is one of the many missions of this agency serving and engaging the community by bringing hope, healing and strength to people in need. This past year, we successfully transitioned all the families and the children from two other agencies to our adoption program who unfortunately had to close their doors due to budget cuts and the economy. In some cases, we accomplished this awesome task with no financial support with this transition. We are proud to say over this past year, we found “forever families” for 35 children in foster care which included seven sibling groups of 2, one sibling group of 3 and one sibling group of 4 children. We found a “forever family” for 8 infants in our cooperative open infant domestic adoption program and has facilitated ongoing connections between the adoptive families and the birth families. In spite of these accomplishments, we know that the work continues on because the need is so great for the hope, healing and strength that we at LSG provide.

Adoption: A Baby's Long Journey Home

A baby girl, born too soon, too tiny, and with so many medical complications, has shown us all what it means to be a true fighter. Lutheran Services of Georgia is known by local hospitals as a go-to agency to find families for domestic infants with medical issues, so it was no surprise when the LSG adoption case manager received a call about Annie.

At the time, her prognosis was very guarded, but soon the good days outnumbered the bad. And a family had come forward – mom, an NICU nurse, and dad, a teacher. Even though they live out of state, they visited Annie as often as possible through the many months she was in the hospital. Annie’s birth mother knew that her child would be in good hands when she selected them to adopt Annie.

Finally, in early August, Annie was released and today is a plump, happy little baby. There’s still a long road ahead for Annie and her new family, but we all know that there’s a lot of fight in that little seven-pound baby. One baby, one birth family, one adoptive family – one agency fulfilling its mission to bring people home.

For more information on Lutheran Services of Georgia's adoption services, click here.