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Adoption

Celebrating Our Forever Families for National Adoption Month

By November 11, 2023July 19th, 2024No Comments

“There are times when reunification with birth parents is not possible. For over 150  years, Wellroot has supported the adoption of children into safe and loving homes.” 

April Lock laughs when she says they should have known their journey to adoption wasn’t going to go as planned. April grew up hearing stories from her grandmother who was adopted out of the United Children’s Methodist Home, now Wellroot, and knew first-hand the positive impact a loving, stable home can have on a child for generations down the line.  

“I always knew that fostering or adoption was going to be part of my story,” April said. “I just didn’t know ‘how’ or ‘when’ it would be.” 

The Fostering Journey 

In late 2019, Shawn and April had given up on IVF treatments and started having conversations about fostering. Wellroot Family Services was suddenly everywhere. A Wellroot representative came to April’s work to speak at a “Learn at Lunch” event. Wellroot advertisements popped up at their favorite downtown restaurant spots, and a friend mentioned Wellroot’s work in a passing conversation.  

“I knew that Wellroot was going to be the route we took,” April said. These encounters with Wellroot were anything but chance; they were signs.  

“The girls,” as April affectionately calls them, came to them in December of 2020, when Nevaeh was three-years-old and Carsele was four-years-old. April and Shawn had managed to do their foster learning classes in January of 2020 and by October of that year, even with the ongoing pandemic, they were approved.  

Wellroot was with the Lock family from the very beginning, first helping Shawn and April complete their certification with the state and then providing support along the way. April found Wellroot to be a direct line to help, one she found she could call on whether the girls needed a counselor or help finding an eye doctor covered by their insurance. 

Brittany Berto, now a Community Cultivator at Wellroot, was one of their caseworkers at the time. “The Lock family was amazing throughout the entirety of the process,” Berto shared. “From the moment the girls were placed with the family, April and Shawn were ensuring the girls received the best education and medical, dental, and mental health services. The Locks were always supportive of the girls’ biological family and made an effort to stay in touch with them. Carsele and Nevaeh formed strong bonds with both April and Shawn almost immediately. The girls called them ‘Apple’ and ‘Shawny.’” 

Shawn and April were prepared to love and provide for Nevaeh and Carsele until their biological home life stabilized. Six months into their placement with the Lock family, however, it became obvious that they would have to think of the girls’ future from a different perspective.  

“We had to switch gears,” April explained. “Do we have these girls stay with us until they can find a forever home? Or, do we become the adoption placement? It was another three or four months of prayers and struggles back and forth to see where that should land. Shawn and I both woke up one morning and were talking about it, and it just kind of fell into place from there.” 

The Seamless Switch to Adoption 

By now, the Locks knew they could call on Wellroot at any time for support. They knew their journey from foster parents to adoptive parents wouldn’t be any different. “A good analogy for me is that Wellroot is like a personal trainer,” April said. “You don’t have to go find it. You go to them, and they’ll get it for you.”  

With support from Wellroot and their family, as well as their own careful preparation, the transition from fostering to adoption was seamless. The week before adoption day, Carsele and Nevaeh sat down with both sides of the Lock family to share their good news and invite their grandparents to court to mark the day they would finally share a last name with their beloved older sisters and ‘Apple’ and ‘Shawny.’  

“By the time we finalized our adoption, they had already been with us since December of 2020,” April said. “Today, we are working towards our third year with them. It went from having them in our home, caring for them and giving them essentials, to thinking about them the same way we think about Fallan and Martie in terms of a future.” 

On February 28, 2023, the girls walked into the Troup County courthouse with Shawn and April at their sides. They saw the faces of their older sisters, grandparents, aunt, cousin, and their Wellroot and DFCS caseworkers. The Lock family’s future is bright with promise. There will be extended Lock family get-togethers, first cars, vacations, college tuition, and weddings for their, now, four girls.  

You Can Make a Difference Today  

With the support of Wellroot Family Services, fostering children who need a home the most has never been more possible. The need has also never been greater. Learn more about foster care in Georgia 

Or, choose to donate to support children in foster care and the families that serve them. With your help, Wellroot and families like the Locks can continue to make a difference today and for generations to come.