Jenny Bratton knows adoption works. She sees the proof all around.
On Monday, it was at the Cook Center, where Child Advocates of Navarro County celebrated adoption with its second annual Heart Gallery event. Adoptive parents told their heart-warming stories, and potential adoptive parents listened. Pictures of prospective adoptive children lined chairs on the back row of the seating area, and adorned the walls thanks to projectors.
“Thank you for your interest,” Bratton, Child Advocates executive director, told those in attendance.
In addition a variety of success stories, she knows the Heart Gallery itself has had an impact. Last year a couple attended and left “sure they wanted to adopt.” This year, a lady came early, did not stay, but told organizers she too was ready.
“If you are not interested in adopting,” Bratton said, “tell anyone you think may be ready.”
Alex Smiley didn’t speak publicly Monday, but Bratton did laud him with kudos. An employee since November, he talked Bratton into letting him take a group of four siblings to an adoption event, something she was apprehensive about. As a result of his persistence, that group is in the process of being adopted. So is another group of four, by another family who attended and was interested in adopting. And a teenager, on Smiley’s caseload, but who was taken by her Child Protective Services’ caseworker to the adoption event, is also in the process.
“It’s one of those things where you don’t realize it can be that fast,” Smiley said. “A lot of times, a case is a year long, and nothing happens.”
Suddenly, Smiley has nine kids on his caseload alone in the process of possibly being adopted.
“I’m ecstatic for these kids,” he said. “They’re really good kids.”
Smiley started as a volunteer after hearing of Child Advocates at his church. It was through a program Youth Pastor Jason White had put together.
White’s wife of 11 years, Natalie, spoke at last year’s event. The two have been adoptive parents for four years, and this year, Jason got tell his half of the story.
The two found out early on they were not going to have children on their own. After years of failed fertilization efforts, adoption became an option only after lots of prayers and heart-felt conviction.
White said he had lunch with a friend who talked about his children, both his natural born and those he adopted, as if there were no difference between them.
“I left a little more open to it,” White said. “And God was working on my heart.”
After praying with her parents’ pastor, Natalie said she asked God for a sign they were intended to adopt. On her drive home, there was a woman on the radio talking about the joys of adopting. The next time she was at church, a foster mother put a baby in her arms, and she realized she could love the baby like her own, she said. Then, in the same service, an elder’s wife told her she “strongly believed” they should adopt.
“I was thinking, ‘OK God, I get it. I get it,’” she said.
The two had been very hesitant to adopt, even as little as three weeks before. Jason didn’t want to bring up his change of heart, preferring the two be on the same page before considering something so serious. But at lunch after that church service, Natalie said she thought they should adopt.
Jason smiled, she said.
“That look on his face,” she said. “It will never leave my mind.”
The Whites went through two channels to adopt their children, Eli and Ava. One was through private adoption, the other through foster care.
“You here people say, ‘You’re doing a great thing for these kids,’” Jason said, “but I think we’d both tell you it’s the opposite. We’re the ones who have had enjoyment brought into our lives.”
Jenny Bratton knows adoption works. She sees the proof all around.
Three-peat: Blooming Grove's McGraw claims Grand Champion steer
It was a year of repeats for students entered in the 2014 Steer Show at the Navarro County Youth Expo.Lainie McGraw, 17, of Blooming Grove FFA, won the Grand Champion steer, as she did last year and the year before; and Noah Grounds, 15, of Blooming Grove/Barry 4-H won Grand Champion Showmanship, as he did last year. He also won the top prize for showmanship in the heifer show this year. He won reserve champion in that category last year.
Clagett takes top pen in Market Rabbits Division
Josiah Clagett of Corsicana FFA won Grand Champion in the Breeding Rabbits Division in 2010. It was his “rookie” year and first time to show.
Clagett came full circle this year to claim the other top rabbit title. He took home Grand Champion honors in the Market Rabbit Division Thursday at the 56th Annual Navarro County Youth Expo. The winning pen was the only one he entered.
Curl wins first leg of Commercial Heifers
Caleb Curl, 13, of Frost FFA, won grand champion of the commercial heifer show, the first leg of the commercial heifer overall prizes. Unlike a lot of the other animal categories, commercial heifers aren't show-things with smooth coats and stardust on their hooves. They're straight out of the pasture, a bit muddy and certainly not the lady-like, pampered creatures that will be led around the ring in the registered heifer show.
LIVE BLOG: College football signing day
Follow all the action on college football Signing Day with coverage from across the CNHI network as well as from the national sports media. Live coverage begins at 8 a.m. ET.
‘Annie Get Your Gun’ through Sunday at the Palace
It’s the big musical, the one that makes me think of ‘cast of thousands,’ or in our case, dozens at least, and it’s here only for a few short days. ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ is Irving Berlin’s candy box treasure of a play about Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter in love with a showman.
It’s presented by the Warehouse Living Arts Center but because of its size is on stage at the Palace Theatre. Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.
Short named Farmer of the Year
Agriculture businesses like farming and ranching are the backbone of Navarro County. Many farming families go back several generations.
Since at least 1965, the Corsicana Rotary Club (Wednesday club) has recognized and said “thank you” to the unsung heroes of the soil.
New clinic open
A new medical practice in partnership with Navarro Regional Hospital is now offering comprehensive occupational medicine services.
Purdon man sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for gun violations
Erik Willis, 31 of Purdon, was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to serve a total of 258 months in federal prison following his conviction at trial in July 2013 on three felony firearms offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Heat Advisory issued for North Texas
• Avoid the Heat. Stay out of the heat and indoors as much as possible. Spend time in an air conditioned space. Only two hours a day in an air-conditioned space can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness.
Corsicana’s Red Cross provides valuable assistance
Two weeks ago, when firefighters, oil field emergency crews and county crisis teams responded to a potential gas drilling disaster near Mildred there were also volunteers on the scene, serving cold water and Gatorade.
American Red Cross volunteers respond to a variety of situations, including fires, evacuations, tornadoes, and even bad car wrecks.
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- Three-peat: Blooming Grove's McGraw claims Grand Champion steer