Gwen Cannon: The Value of Adoption and Foster Care

Gwen Cannon: The Value of Adoption and Foster Care

So in 1999, I was able to adopt. It was the best thing I could have done for the both of us.

Author : Christelyn Karazin

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Christelyn is married with four children.

Getting married, having a family and living happily ever after were the dream of my generation of the early 70′s. After being married for several years and no children, I wanted to adopt, but my husband’s family had a bad situation with an adoption and he didn’t want to. So, I continued to work and decided to complete my college studies that had stopped when I fell in love.

Working full time and going to school full time, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 1986. After giving my company a year to increase my salary from a clerk typist to a computer programmer, I left giving up the fourteen years I had accumulated. I was a consultant for two years before hiring in with one of the automotive companies in 1989. This was the best of worlds I thought, since now my husband and I would have all of the same time off, since he worked for another automotive company on afternoons. Due to my new position, I had the opportunity to travel and install programs for new car model launches. Well, while on one of those trips, I decided to come home a little early and surprise my husband, but I was the one that got the surprise.

We separated for several years and finally divorced in 1994, after 19 years of marriage. I had time on my hands, so I went to school to get a Master of Science in Information Technology. Just after I finished, we lost our dear father September 25, 1997. While going to school, I continued to consider the fact that I had a lot to offer a child, so after talking with my family, I decided to follow in one of my younger sisters footsteps and become a foster mom. This was the best choice for me rather than getting a baby daddy. I became licensed in 1997 and was working with an agency; I transferred from the automotive company to its credit arm, so that I would not have to travel. I graduated in June 1997 and received a telephone call in September about fostering a baby. I had told the worker that I really eventually wanted to adopt, but wanted to foster a child who could tell me what they wanted. She told me that she had a 3 month old who would have to go to a non-black family if I didn’t take him. They were all out of black foster parents at the time and this was an emergency case, since his current foster mom could no longer keep him. I quickly got on the phone to close friends and family and was given the assurance I needed to move forward, along with a long talk with GOD.

In October 6, 1997, the joy of my life came into my home. He was the eighth child to a young lady who didn’t have any of her children in her care. The first five was raised by her family; one boy went to his father’s parents and the other boy was in foster care with the same agency. We worked with the mother to try and get him back with her, but it didn’t work out. So in 1999, I was able to adopt. It was the best thing I could have done for the both of us.

In 1997, I had plans to visit friends in the Virgin Island, and tried to get permission to take him with me, but was not able too, so we went as far as Florida and stayed with relatives. He has been a traveling child his whole life. In 2000, we had the opportunity to travel and live in Connecticut for nine months, when the automotive and credit companies did a merger. It was wonderful; I took my mom with me, since dad had died the several years before. We were able to catch up with relatives in New York and New Jersey that we hadn’t seen in a while.

I have had some awesome support from my family in this journey and my son is now 14 and has entered high school. He is very intelligent, but sometimes lacks the focus to make his school grades match his standard testing scores. We are constantly talking about this opportunity and I support him as much as I can. He is loves sports and is playing junior varsity football. I am semi-retired due to down-sizing of the credit company and now have a part-time job. I also have a home based online greeting card business and you can listen to the webinars at: http://www.40waystousecards.com/schedule/time2sendacard. We print, stamp, stuff and mail the envelopes for you. I am truly blessed since I’m available to make sure he gets off to school and we get home about the same time. My son is aware that he is adopted and whenever he is ready, he can meet the rest of his biological family in person. He has contact with his brother who was in foster care the same time that he was.

We as a community have to think more about the children and offer assistance no matter what. The same sister of mine, who had fostered in the past, was a foster mom for pregnant girls and their children. She now works at a school that allows pregnant girls to continue with their high school education and bring their babies to school. It still takes a village to raise our children and we appear to have moved away from the village and have forgotten from whence we came. The things that need to be taken back are GOD, values and respect from the old days. I remember the day that if your neighbor saw you do something, then they would handle it and contact your parents. That sense of family has been lost and until it is found, we will continue to wander in the wilderness of having children outside of wedlock. It is not the fault of the child, but they are the ones who suffer the most. When will we wake up and realize that we must help, age should not stop you?

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