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Where some see a problem, they found a family


March 'brought home' adoption need

October 16, 1997
Web posted at: 6:20 a.m. EDT (1020 GMT)

From CNN Correspondent Brian Cabell

RIVERDALE, Georgia (CNN) -- A year ago, Charlie and Jackie Hood were a family of two, eager but unable to have their own children.

Now they are a family of six. Shekia, 7, Travion, 6, Jalisa, 4, and Antavious, 3, are brothers and sisters now. All four were foster children, and they all became members of the Hood family last December.


Two years ago, "the Million Man March kind of brought home what we already knew," Charlie says. Namely, that nationwide there were hundreds of thousands of African-American children in foster homes awaiting adoption.

The Hoods originally planned to adopt only one child, but soon decided they had room for more.

"Instead of taking one and spoiling that one to the point of rottenness, we take four, and they all four turn out to be great," Charlie Hood says. "Which they are going to be."

The Hood kids aren't problem children, Jackie says, though she was warned all four would be a handful.

"I never did see them," Jackie says, shaking her head. "All the problems the foster mother said she had and everything, I never did see them."

The children adapted quickly to the stability and guidance of the Hood home. They've also learned to follow the household rules: "We shouldn't fight, and should not call each other names," Shekia says, as if called on to recite a lesson in class.

If a call went out at the Million Man March to help black children in need, the Hoods answered the call -- and found a family in the process. They did it through Roots, a private agency in Atlanta dedicated to placing African-American foster children with adoptive parents.

Before any adoptions are arranged, the prospective parents go through a rigorous 10-week parenting course.

"There are complications along the way," Roots director Toni Oliver warns a class. "We're going to able to peel back the layers and see -- what is it we want to achieve, and what might we run into; and when we run into it, what are we going to do about it?"

Adoptions of black children in Georgia have jumped 42 percent in the last two years. What impact, if any, the Million Man March had on that figure is impossible to determine.

But the Hood children don't care to debate the issue; They have a home now.


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