Adoption, foster care options for those with love to spare
October 23, 2018
David Scotton of “I Lived on Parker Avenue;” Sandra Pickett, executive director of New Life Adoptions in Houston; Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops; and Julie Fritsch, director of the Office of Pro-Life Services were speakers at a Foster/Adoption panel at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church’s Monsignor Jamail Family Center. Photo by Jo Ann Zuñiga/Herald.
HOUSTON — David Scotton, a 24-year-old law school student in Louisiana, recently met his biological mother, who decided at the last minute while at an abortion clinic not to take his life.
“I wanted to thank her. I told her ‘I have a great life that you allowed me to have,’” Scotton said of his birth mother Melissa Coles who now lives in Indiana.
He was among a panel of speakers on adoption and foster care Oct. 12 hosted by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church’s Monsignor Jamail Family Center.
Scotton was adopted by a couple who had previously lost two sons, one stillborn and another from a genetic disease. In a documentary that features Scotton, “I Lived on Parker Avenue,” Jimmy and Susan Scotton recalled the joy of carrying their newly born adopted son out of the hospital on Christmas Eve just as it started to snow.
Panel speaker Jennifer Carr Allmon, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB), shared information on the St. Joseph Ministry, a new foster care initiative for families that can be parish-based. She told the audience that there is an average of 30,000 children in foster care in Texas. Those children have been removed from their families and are under the guardianship of the state of Texas for various reasons.
Foster homes are most needed for children age six and older, she said.
“A parish can offer spiritual, material, emotional and psychological support to children and adults,” Allmon said. “This support is similar to ministries already in the parish and can be incorporated like providing meals or car seats, infant formula and diapers provided through the Gabriel Project.”
Prayers during Liturgies which recognize foster and adoptive families can raise awareness of the needs of children impacted by severe trauma. These prayers and awareness can help build the St. Joseph Ministry within the church, she said.
For more information, visit www.txcatholic.org/StJosephMinistry.
Panelist Sandra Pickett, executive director of New Life Adoptions in Houston, a fee-based Christ-centered agency, said, “We work with women who choose to make an adoption plan, and they also choose the adoptive family.”
New Life Adoptions requires the adopting family to be a man and woman legally married for at least three years and be between the ages of 21 and 45 years of age. Its general website is newlifeadopt.com
Rebecca Torrellas, managing editor of the Texas Catholic Herald who recently completed the adoption of her son, Braxton, said the process to adopt can be grueling and expensive, but “so rewarding.”
“There are several home studies, and that includes an FBI check, Child Protective Services check, Texas Department of Public Safety Check, in addition to them visiting your home, interviews, and court appearances. It can be overwhelming, but if you take everything one step at a time, and have an experienced lawyer to help you along the way, you get through it. And when you hold that child in your arms, it makes everything so worth it! There’s not a moment that passes by that I’m not grateful for my son.”
Torrellas, who suffered multiple miscarriages that contributed to the demise of her marriage, decided to adopt as a single parent.
“I spent seven years to get myself mentally, financially, emotionally and spiritually prepared for a family,” she said. “I never imagined I’d be a single mom ever in my life, but when I got the call that a baby was on the way, I knew this was my son. There were too many obstacles that had already been overcome for me to get a call in the first place that I knew this was God’s plan. It truly was a miracle.”
When asked what advice she can give to those who are seeking to adopt, she said, “First and foremost, tell your friends and colleagues you are interested in adopting. You’ll be surprised at how many people know people that can help you on your journey. Whether adopting through the foster system, through an agency or through private adoption with a lawyer, it helps when there are people you already trust leading you.”
Young couple Travis and Chelsea Turgeon, married for two and a half years, attended the panel to research about adopting.
“We loved the panel and thought that David was wonderful and we loved to hear about the adoption process from the perspective of someone who lived it,” Travis said. “We enjoyed all aspects of the night and highly recommend it to any couple looking to adopt.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Kermit and Elizabeth Moreau are about to become empty nesters, with two in college and their third and last child, Audrey, now in high school.
“Foster care has tugged at my heart. I know there are a lot of children who need help,” said Elizabeth Moreau.
Their daughter Audrey, who attended the panel with her parents, said having a younger foster brother or sister “would be cool.”