Originally created 10/01/97

Adoption agencies seek to keep siblings together



Maxine Jordan wasn't expecting a two-for-one deal when she attended a state Adoption Matching Meeting in Atlanta three years ago.

But that's what the Martinez woman came home with: Roy and Jamal, now ages 9 and 10.

It was a simple decision, even though Mrs. Jordan and her husband, L.V. Jordan, had only intended to adopt one of the boys. When they realized he had a brother, the couple couldn't let the pair be split up.

The goal of an adoption matching meeting, to be held Thursday for the first time in Augusta, is to help find homes for hard-to-place children - older children, children with disabilities, or children like Roy and Jamal, siblings who should be placed together.

"We were already planning to adopt, but we were waiting for the right child," said Mrs. Jordan, who has already raised four birth children and another adopted child, all adults now. "I had already seen one of the boys in the book they have of children who need to be adopted, and I went to the meeting hoping to get a chance to see him there. He wasn't there - but I found out about his brother."

Across Georgia, almost 400 children need to be placed in permanent homes, said Brenda Brown of the Department of Family and Children's Services in McDuffie County. They are usually older children or sibling groups and are predominantly African-American, she said.

This is the first time the statewide matching meeting has been held in Augusta, although a similar function was held at Paine College last year. The Adoption Gala featured games, a magic show, food and awards, letting prospective parents meet children who needed to be adopted.

Children don't attend the matching meeting, but caseworkers will be on hand with pictures and videotapes, Ms. Brown said.

"It broadens (prospective parents') experience of the children, and may convince them to adopt a child they wouldn't have chosen otherwise," she said. "We have made some matches in the past that I doubt we would have matched any other way."

The meeting, designed to assist people already involved in the adoption process or who are considering adopting, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel, 2 10th St. For more information, call (706) 595-2946.