Atlanta councilwoman raises awareness about adoption

Many know that Keisha Lance Bottoms is an Atlanta city councilwoman. They might also know that she’s the mother of four. Less known, however, is that each of her children was adopted.

The District 11 councilwoman, and mother to a 12-year-old boy, 6-year-old boy and 4-year-old twins (a girl and a boy), is raising awareness about adoption in celebration of November’s National Adoption Month.

Bottoms is partnering with the Atlanta Department of Human Resources and Families First, a nonprofit family service agency, to encourage adoption and foster care as thousands of children need safe and permanent homes statewide.

We spoke with Bottoms about her experiences with the adoption process. Responses have been edited for length.

Q: Did you have reservations about adoption?

A: I did. We were dealing with unsuccessfully trying to conceive, and fertility treatments, and all the emotion that goes with that. For me the biggest hurdle was the first step, just seeking information. It sounds really silly, but when you're dealing with fertility and when you're a woman of faith, (I worried) does this mean I'm giving up because I'm looking at adoption? Even though adoption was something I always wanted to do, I thought it would be in addition to biological children. Once I worked through the unreasonableness of that thought process, it really worked out. (My husband, Derek) took the first step … but once I got going, I was all in.

Q: Any advice on where to begin?

A: I am biased — I would send them to Families First. They helped facilitate the adoption of my kids. There are a lot of very good, reputable agencies. You need to find someone with a good reputation who can do your home study (a review of family and home environment). I tell people all of the time, if someone wants thousands of dollars upfront, you should run in the other direction. Adoptions don't have to break the bank. They can be inexpensive, as some agencies have a sliding scale.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering adoption?

A: You just have to be patient. I will say when you are open to adopting biracial or African-American children, especially boys, the wait isn't as long as (for girls). It takes patience and knowing that when that match is made, you just know. It's difficult to articulate, because we turned down a number of babies for no other reason than it just didn't feel right. But with each of my children, I knew in my heart that they were the ones to say yes to.