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Adoption agency hopes to open in Augusta

Thursday, December 16, 2010; News 12 at 11 o'clock

AUGUSTA --- Right now, there is no permanent adoption agency in Augusta, but there are local places women can go to have an abortion. That's why a non-profit group out of Macon wants to set up shop here. Volunteers say there's a void in our community when it comes to choice, and they need you to help fill it.

Jody and Roxanne Camak's family picture includes five people, but there was a time when they worried it might just be a party of two. "We had done in vitro," says Roxanne, "but it failed. We did it in '94 in Atlanta and '95 in Augusta." When that didn't work, they decided to adopt, but they couldn't find an agency in our area. "I remember we went through a lot of times where we would have questions and be looking for answers, and didn't know who to ask," remembers Jody.

The Camaks had to go out of town. Roxanne's cousin knew of an adoption agency in Macon called Covenant Care. They were quickly accepted into Covenant Care program, and in 1996, they got word they were about to be parents. They named their little girl Audrey. Then, a year later, the same woman gave birth to Arlen. The Camaks thought their family portrait was set, but then, Graham came into the picture. "We brought him home, and our family was completed by three," Roxanne says as she smiled.

Covenant care filled their house, and now, the non-profit adoption agency wants to fill another void by bringing their agency here.
The Camaks aren't the only local couple to adopt from Covenant Care. "We've always had Augusta on the radar, but honestly, Augusta citizens came to us," says Loren Rae Easterling, the Director of Ministry Development for Covenant Care. She is also a caseworker who's helped families like the Camaks, but she also wants to help those on the other side of adoption too: birth mothers. "Your community supports two abortion clinics, " Loren Rae says. Again, there are no permanent local adoption agencies. She wants women to have a choice. She also wants women who choose to go through with their pregnancy to have options because "there are babies born here in Augusta and all over the state, and the moment they're born, DFACS is called, and that baby is not going to go home. It's going to the state."

Instead, Loren Rae hopes they could go home with people like Jody and Roxanne. Both are grateful their children's birth mother went to Covenant Care. Now, they're helping to bring Covenant Care here. They believe the non-profit could give hope to a lot of people, especially people who thought they didn't have enough money to adopt. They say Covenant Care "makes it very affordable." And what they got in return? They say that's priceless.

It is going to take money to get Covenant Care to our area. Jody is on a local board trying to help raise the $50,000 needed to open a branch here. A church in Evans is also stepping in. Berea Baptist Church is offering to match all December donations up to $20,000. If you would like to donate, you can click on the link below. We've also posted the link under the "Find It" button.

A member of Berea Baptist contacted me about all this after seeing our News 12 investigation into an alleged black market for
babies. Our reports uncovered information showing a Richmond County court officer and two judges could have stolen and then sold babies for a profit. The scheme went on for decades, and we estimate thousands of people were affected. Covenant Care hopes opening a non-profit adoption agency will help heal Augusta's painful past.


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