Back to georgialifealliance.com

Most people use Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or a host of other social media to show the best of what’s going on in their lives. The truth is, life isn’t always pretty. And for children who grow up in homes where they are neglected, abused, or their parents are substance abusers, life is a game of survival.

With Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan pledging this year to make foster kids and those who age out of the system a top priority for the state of Georgia, I thought it was about time to tell the story of what it is like for some of us who had to be removed from our parents’ care and placed in foster homes.

I am now a 34-year-old adult, but I still have many scars because of parents who just weren’t capable of leaving their demons behind and putting their children first. I was one of those foster kids.

Like many foster children, my biological parents got married too young, divorced and moved on. When I was 7 years old, I was adopted. That’s where the terror began.

I was never really accepted by this family, which wanted to have their own children. I was demoralized, humiliated, denied food, required to sleep in a cold garage, not given proper clothing, verbally abused and severely beaten. I was made to quit school at age 14 under false premises of changing schools so teachers and counselors would stop asking questions about why I was so thin and what was happening to me at home.

When I was 16, I was taken into state custody, but unfortunately was also abused by one of my foster parents – a member of my extended family. By the time I left the foster care system, I found my birth mother and stayed with her until I earned a high school diploma at an alternative school when I was 19.

I eventually moved to Athens and took some online courses before a series of jobs led to me Atlanta, where I now work for a wonderful company in the financial services industry.

Growing up in a highly dysfunctional home is nothing I would wish on anyone. In 2019, there were 13,900 kids in foster care in Georgia. I am one of the rare foster kids who has not wound up in poverty or turned to crime or drugs.

Seventy-one percent of girls become pregnant in the first year that they age out of the foster care system.

Less than 11 percent who age out of the system earn that high school diploma or GED. I was determined to get mine. I wanted to make something of my life after being told I was worthless for years.

Having a mentor who could have pointed me in the right direction would have helped. So many of us former foster kids truly are searching and need someone with wisdom. Thankfully, I found a solid church family that gave me love and support. Too often foster kids don’t have support, and they turn to drugs, prostitution or crime.

We also need advice on how to balance a checkbook, create a budget, do the laundry, grocery shop – all the life skills young people take for granted. Job training, including career counseling, would be a tremendous boost when so many of us are insecure, don’t know what job to pursue, or how to make a living.

As state lawmakers meet this winter, they are considering a host of ideas to help foster kids and foster families, including incentives for adoption, speeding up their cases in court and creating harsh criminal penalties for sexual abuse of foster kids. As a child who aged out of the system, I can tell you it would also be wonderful if the state encouraged recruiting mentors for former foster kids. Additional educational options could certainly help those who never graduated or perform well in public schools and need special attention.

Foster kids have come from some of the most painful experiences you can imagine. We have emotional battle scars that last a lifetime. Anything we can do to prevent this cycle from repeating itself is not only an act of love and compassion but a worthy act of preserving our society.

Chelsea Magee is our Director of Foster Care and Adoption Advocacy, a former foster child, and lives in Cobb County.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2020
Contact: Joshua Edmonds
[email protected]
678-597-8055

ATLANTA, GA—Days after President Donald Trump made history as the first sitting President to speak at the annual March for Life, Georgia Life Alliance Committee (GLA) announces they will launch the largest pro-life education campaign in state history during the 2020 elections. 

GLA, the state affiliate of National Right to Life, will take over all media outlets with a comprehensive education campaign utilizing social media, print, mail, billboards, radio, and television advertising, to educate Georgia voters ahead of the state’s critical elections in November.

“Big abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood routinely funnel millions in dark money from Hollywood and New York to legalize abortion up until and even after birth,” said Joshua Edmonds, Executive Director. “So, we are building a pro-life wall to defend against their influence in our elections. Georgia is a state that values life, and we are going to highlight that over the next 10 months.”

As the largest pro-life organization in Georgia, GLA led the fight to pass 2019’s Heartbeat Bill and will now fulfill its promise to lead the fight against abortion activists who are targeting pro-life lawmakers around the state.

“Our elected officials put their political futures on the line to do what is right – protect the sanctity of human life. Now we are going to do what is right and show that we have their backs, starting with our pro-life US Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler,” said Emily Matson, Chairman of the Board.

The campaign, which launches this week, will start with $3 million in planned spending and is expected to grow in budget and scope as the year progresses.

Listen to the first radio ad to be released here.

###

Georgia Life Alliance advocates for the vulnerable, the abandoned, and the defenseless: the baby still in her mother’s womb, the orphaned child desperate for a safe and loving home, and the woman who finds herself in a desperate situation. We work tirelessly to bring attention and healing to the struggles of the unborn and other at-risk groups, endeavoring to help secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Georgians. Learn more at georgialifealliance.com.


After suffering a crushing defeat when they tried to oppose the Heartbeat Bill last year; Senator Steve Henson, Senator Nan Orrock, and their pro-death supporters took the year to lick their wounds and have returned this legislative session with a new targeted attack on the innocent and most vulnerable among us – Senate Bill 291, the “Georgia Death with Dignity Act“.

There are attempts to introduce a version of this same initiative every few years, each with a different, catchy, and seemingly altruistic name – meant to ignite a sense of compassion and support from those who don’t realize that their only goal is to continue to attack and erode the value of human life, and our morals along with it. They have pretty words and misleading language, but as we’ve seen in every state or nation which has legalized this callous practice; a ‘right to die’ eventually means a ‘duty to die’, and ‘compassion’ always means killing. They try to tell us that someone begins approaching the end of their lives is merely a ‘shell’ of their former self, that they wouldn’t choose to live ‘like this,’ that they’d never want to be a ‘burden’ on their loved ones, and that the ‘compassionate’ or ‘loving’ thing to do would be to murder them. 

For me, this isn’t just about politics or scoring points at the capitol…and it shouldn’t be for you either. Senators Henson and Orrock have come for our families. They’ve come for MY family. 

I spent the majority of my childhood with my grandparents. My mother was very young, unprepared, and unmarried when I was born. She worked 2-3 jobs most of the time and would drop me on my grandparents’ doorstep for days or weeks at a time – often with little to no notice. I am certain that the intrusion of an infant when their own children were finally grown and out of the house was not ideal for them; but my grandmother never once let me feel like a burden. She joyfully nurtured and loved me. She fed me when I couldn’t feed myself, she interpreted for me when I couldn’t yet speak, she stood for me when I couldn’t yet walk. She took me to church with her every Sunday. She taught me how to saddle and ride a horse. She showed me that the difference between right and wrong doesn’t change and it has nothing to do with how we feel in the moment. 

Objectively; I was useless to her. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t use the toilet independently. I gave nothing and required much. I complicated her life at a time when she should have been able to finally begin to relax and take things a little easier, maybe even start to travel or take up those hobbies she’d always been too busy tending her family to pursue. I was inconvenient. 

My grandmother now lives every day dependent on oxygen tanks that must be changed every few hours, medicines and injections that must be administered in strict regimens. She has COPD, Alzheimer’s disease, and her doctor’s very recently found a cancerous and inoperable tumor. She is forgetful and clumsy, elderly, and feeble. The woman who showed such strength of character, the woman who was such a pillar of independence and grace for my entire life, the woman who taught me how to hold a fork and that you always cook bacon in the cast iron skillet before making cornbread, the woman who taught me to sew and read my bible, the woman who taught me right from wrong and to never look down on someone unless I was helping them up – that woman now depends on others for literally everything. She falls asleep during conversations, she forgets names and details, she struggles with daily tasks that used to be so easy for her. She is fading before my eyes. When I am with her; however, I still see that Spanish fire ignite her eyes when I’m telling a story that gets her spirit riled up, or I ‘accidentally’ use a swear word. I can still feel her love for me when I lie beside her, even though she sometimes can’t wrap her arms around me like she used to. I still see my grandmother. 

Senators Henson and Orrock would like you and I to believe that she should die. That my family would be giving her ‘dignity’ to allow her to kill herself. That the ‘compassionate’ thing to do for her would be to tell her that she’s a burden. That she should take a pill and end her life so that we can all move on with ours without the ‘unpleasant’ task of watching her fade from us. 

I refuse.

Will it break my heart to say goodbye to the woman who raised me? Yes. Without question. 

Will anything ease the loss of her when she is called away? Absolutely not. 

But when she does leave this world; it will not be with grief in her heart because the law has told her she has a duty to die and spare her family from the ‘burden’ of caring for her. It will be with me by her side, speaking for her when she can no longer speak, feeding her when she can no longer feed herself, standing for her when she can no longer stand. Fighting for her when she can no longer fight.

Those supporting this bill tell us that this will be too painful – that she’d be better off dead at this point because she wouldn’t want that to happen. That there will come a time, soon, where my grandmother will see my face and not remember who I am. That’s okay. I don’t do this because she remembers me or knows who I am – I do it because I remember who she was, who she is, and Whose she is. 

Murder isn’t healthcare. There is nothing compassionate about ending a human life when it’s become ‘inconvenient’. Do not believe their lies; there is no ‘dignity’ in telling someone that they would be better off dead. 

Stand for people like my grandmother. Help me defend her. 

Call Senators Steve Henson (404-656-0085) and Nan Orrock (404-463-8054); tell them that you oppose Senate Bill 291. 

As a pro-life movement, we must stand for those at the end of their lives with the same passion that we stand for those at the beginning of their lives. The time to speak up is now. If we win the fight against abortion but neglect to defend the elderly and infirm, we have still lost.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. (Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail)