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November is adoption awareness month

For over two decades, National Adoption Awareness Month has been celebrated every November in communities across the country.

We use this time particularly to raise the awareness of children across America who are in need of loving forever homes and to recognize the value of those who share their love with a child in need of a family.

“We knew we probably wouldn’t be able to have children of our own after we married,” stated Susan Slater. “We applied to several adoption agencies and let our family and only the friends we asked to write letters of recommendation know we were trying to adopt a baby.

The process sometimes can be long and I didn’t think I could handle well-meaning people asking when we were going to get a baby.” As it was, the Slaters ended up waiting 10 long years.

Susan Slater, an elementary teacher, believes that God used that time to turn her prayers from asking for a baby to praying for His will to be done, and when the right child was born He placed him in their arms. “I had to put it in His hands,” stated Susan. “He knew what He was doing and I have never regretted it.”

Married in 1975 John and Susan Slater, who both grew up in Jeff Davis County, sent their first letters of inquiry for adoption of a baby in 1983.

They wrote their biographies, sent pictures, went through interviews and social worker home visits, and were even fingerprinted as a part of the process. 10 years to the month later, a little boy was placed in their arms.

“It was such an exciting and nerve racking time,” stated Susan Slater. “In the fall of 1992 we knew we were in line to get the next baby up for adoption from the Sellers Home in New Orleans but when Sellers merged into Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home I was afraid that would put us back at the bottom of the list.

Friends who came over didn’t know that just down the hall in our house was a complete nursery ready and waiting.”

It was 1 p.m. when Susan Slater got the call to go get their baby and John, who works for Windstream, was working in Bassfield. The couple had until 5 p.m. to get there. She called the family and when the three arrived back home at 9 p.m. everyone was waiting to welcome Jay Tyler Slater home.

Jay Slater has always known he was adopted. His parents made sure they told him the story surrounding his adoption and he has always been comfortable with it. When he was small he often asked his mom to repeat it especially liking the “when everyone was there waiting when you brought me home” part.

Later in school at PC Jay found it amusing when he was approached by a classmate who said, “Uh, I thought you might want to know, someone is spreading a rumor around that you’re adopted.” To which he easily replied,  “Oh really? Well, I am adopted.”

Jeff Davis County was privileged to be the place where Jay Slater grew up. He graduated from Prentiss Christian in 2011, from MS State in 2016 and is presently working at the MS Land Bank in Starkville. In the last few years he has connected with his birth mother and has a growing relationship with his now extended family, and that is a story for another time.

John and Susan Slater have some advice for those who are considering adoption. They say, “If you are thinking about it go ahead and get on the list. Don’t wait. The process doesn’t normally take as long as ours did but be patient, pray and don’t give up. Most of all put it in God’s hands. He knows the child you are supposed have.”

Adopting a newborn may be what you are meant for but also consider there are more than 110,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. If you are considering adoption take the advice of the Slaters and don’t wait.