By Faye Gaston
The Bullock County Department of Human Resources (DHR) sponsored a program at the Richard Stone Complex that designated November to be "National Adoption Awareness Month."
On November 20, 2019 Bullock County DHR Director, Tracy R. Larkins, welcomed concerned citizens. She urged the spread of the word through churches and the community that adoptive parents are needed.
She said the adoption of her daughter by her and her husband Don was one of the greatest blessings of their lives.
She said her DHR staff did an amazing job and gave the invitation to Open House & Ribbon Cutting on December 17, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at the DHR new building at 687 March Street.
Juanita Smith, DHR Service Supervisor, was the program M.C. She pointed out the table holding photos of seven children waiting to be adopted. She asked parents of foster children and adopted children and board members to stand.
She recognized Bullock County Probate Judge James Tatum who presides at the ceremony at the Courthouse in probate court for the final step in the legal process of the union of an adopted child and parents in a "forever family."
Chenequia Peterson, DHR Service Supervisor, told why this occasion was being held. Shundrea Smith read an inspiring poem.
National Adoption speakers from Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parent Association (AFAPA) were Mary Smith (Vice-President of Foster Care) and Sharlene Castell (Regional Director).
They shared statistics and information about the magnitude of the need of adoptive families. Some are adopted from foster care.
Both being foster care and adoptive parents, they shared personal experiences.
They explained that children need parents as role models so children can contribute to society in a positive way.
Thousands and thousands of children throughout our nation need adoptive parents. Juanita Smith presented bags of gifts of appreciation from DHR to the speakers. Proclamations saying November is "National Adoption Awareness Month" in Bullock County were read by City Clerk Presetta "Neecee" Walker for the City of Union Springs Mayor and Council, Mayor Mildred Whittington for the Mayor and Council of the Town of Midway, and Aging Director Jeanette Lindsey for the Bullock County Chairman and Commissioners.
The door prize was a t-shirt promotting adoption of children.
The program ended with Juanita Smith wishing all a happy Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Tracy Larkins prayed appreciation for the lunch and the opportunity for prospective parents to serve children as adoptive parents in a "forever family."