NOTE: All the names in this article have been changed to protect their identities.
In a modern world that is focused on negativity and dividing people based on their appearance or beliefs, we often forget about the simple traits that make us all human. No matter how big our differences may be, we all crave the human connection and the love of a family. Unfortunately, some children do not get to experience this love because they do not have a family. President Trump recently proclaimed the month of November as National Adoption Month – a time in which we can all raise awareness about the value of giving someone a family.
In 2019, South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) has helped with 105 adoption cases. Our staff and your support have helped at least 105 children find a home, family and lots of love.
Rose is one of those children. George Burrell had been the only father figure in Rose’s life. Although not related by blood, Rose had lived with George since the time she was born. When she turned 8, Rose was in danger of losing him. Rose’s mother had her when she was 16 – unable and unfit to raise the baby. The biological father was and remains unknown. Debby, Rose’s maternal grandmother, was granted legal custody of the baby. She and George began raising Rose together.
A few years later, George and Debby split up, but Rose stayed to live with George – her “grandpa”. Initially, she visited with Debby a couple nights a week, but eventually the visits were barely once a week. George continued to raise Rose, brought her to doctor appointments, enrolled her in school and attended all her school events. He was the only significant person in her life who supported her and spent time with her.
Over time, Debby’s behavior became erratic, oftentimes, in Rose’s presence. On a number of occasions, Debby tried to snatch the child from George. Rose was suffering from several mental disorders and the doctors agreed that her condition was stable only when she was with George. Nevertheless, Debby had a legal document showing that she had custody and there was no telling what she would do. George could have tried asking the court to change custody, but that would not eliminate all risk and uncertainty. The only solution was adoption – a permanent legal protection for the home that George had built for Rose.
This case is proof that it does not matter how complicated or unusual an adoption may seem on the surface. Every child deserves a “real” parent who will provide them with love, support, and stability. If you have a child in your life that you want to adopt, SCLS may be able to help. To see if you qualify for our free services, call us at 1-888-346-5592 or apply online at https://www.lawhelp.org/sc/online-intake.