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Women Helping in Creating New Families: Another Choice through Adoption
By Sonya Ramsey

          As we commemorate Women's History Month, we often celebrate prominent figures such as Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, or Hillary Clinton who have worked to push open the gates of freedom or serve as role models for millions of women. While learning about women such as these remain important, we must also look at the activities of thousands of other women who did not figure prominently in the history books.  These women activists worked to better the lives of children who for no cause of their own were left without proper parents.  During the 19th century, these early women reformers helped to bring awareness of the plight of orphans to the nation.  They raised funds to support these children and found them homes when there was no federal governmental support of foster children. 


          As we enter the first decade of the 21st century, the need to find homes for thousands of our nation's children remains a pressing problem. Our foster care system is burdened with high demands and limited funding as mounting social and economic problems result in more and more children being removed from their homes. Fortunately we have modern day women such as Ruth Amerson working to help these children find loving and stable homes. 


          Ruth Amerson was working as a social worker in North Carolina when she realized that older black children often fell through the cracks as their opportunities for adoption became smaller due to age.  A very spiritual person, she decided to dedicate her career to finding adoptive homes for older black children. In January, 1995, she opened Another Choice for Black Children, one of less than ten black-owned adoption agencies in the nation.  Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Mrs. Amerson's agency has placed over 1,000 children in homes. Another Choice works with the local and national social services agencies to match children with prospective parents.  The agency also has offices in Raleigh/Durham and Sanford, N.C.  


          While most people think of adoption, they think of adopting babies, Ruth Amerson and her fellow social workers work to dispel the fears and misconceptions prospective parents may have about adopting older children.  While the agency provides a realistic overview of the challenges, she also grants prospective adoptive parents an opportunity to see how wonderful being an adoptive parent can be. How amazing it is to give a child a forever family.  Prospective parents also receive support after the adoption process is completed.  The agency will even provide day care for parents in the case of an emergency. Ms. Amerson explains, "When you adopt with Another Choice, Another Choice adopts you." I know this because I am a prospective adoptive parent working with Ms. Amerson.        


          While this piece focuses on the efforts of Ruth Amerson in Charlotte, there are wonderful women working to find homes for our most vulnerable children across the nation. Do you live in the D.C., Maryland or Virginia areas? If so, Janice Goldwater, the founder and executive director of Adoptions Together, a full-service adoption agency can help you! The agency's motto is every family, every child, every step of the way. The experienced social workers at Adoptions Together provide options for birth mothers and adoptive parents who wish to adopt either domestically or internationally or through foster care. It is heartbreaking to see so many wonderful women and couples who could not become parents through traditional methods give up on their dream of having a family.  Ms. Amerson's agency and Adoptions Together wish to say that they can still become parents. They have "another choice!"


          If you would like to learn more about adoption, contact Another Choice for Black Children,  2340 Betties Ford Road, Charlotte, N.C . 28216, (800) 774-3534 or http://www.acfbc.org. Or you may contact Adoptions Together, at 301-439, 2900 or info@adoptionstogether.org

Dr. Sonya Ramsey, an associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has been intrigued by the lives of Black women educators for much of her academic career. Armed with oral history interviews, public records and reams of educational surveys and studies, Ramsey published Reading, Writing, and Segregation: A Century of Black Women Teachers in Nashville (University of Illinois Press). The book, based on her dissertation research, begins in 1867 at the beginning of Nashville’s segregated Black schools and ends in 1983, long after federal court-ordered public school desegregation.


Dr. Ramsey received her undergraduate degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and her Ph.D in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Her research interests include African American Gender History, History of Education, Oral History, Women's Studies, Southern History, and History of The United States Since 1865.