National Adoption Awareness Month: Dr. J. Fidel Turner Shares His Story of Becoming a Single Father via Adoption
November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and we’re speaking with folks who know the adoption process and the joys of starting a family with children in need. Over 11,000 children are in the foster care system in our state, and many are waiting and hoping for adoption. Today, Dr. Fidel Turner, the Dean of the Clark Atlanta University School of Education, joins us to share his story.
I asked Dr. Turner to explain his relationship to adoption, and he shared that his family had participated in informal adoptions. They often took in family or community children. Sometimes, parents were heading to new cities for better opportunities, and the children would stay with their family until things were settled. He grew up living with informal adoptions in his family and larger community.
In 2014, Turner felt that his life was in a great place to become a parent. He was living in Washington DC, working at Howard University, and began to investigate growing his family through adoption. The Department of Family and Children Services hosted a “matching” program supporting foster care to adoption, in which Turner participated. Georgia has a similar program. The social services agency attempts to make the best possible match between the child and the prospective parent. Dr. Turner adopted a seven-year-old son. He spoke as a proud father about his son now being a senior in high school visiting colleges.
Dr. Turner accepted the Dean’s position at Clark Atlanta University and spoke about how fatherhood has helped him relate to students. Additionally, he can engage with future teachers and explain how, for many students, school is a safe place. He spoke about his son’s teachers, who testified on his behalf at his son’s adoption.
As a single father, I asked Turner what it was like to accept the challenge of raising a son alone. He speaks of his strong desire to parent and explains that “oftentimes men are not socialized to articulate their desire to become parents.” He says he always knew he wanted to raise a child to nurture and parent and speaks to the strong father figures in his life, including his great-grandfather.
For more information on adoption in Georgia
For more information on National Adoption Awareness Month