Kaitlin Morgan and Skyler Mize moved to Cherokee County in 2011. They began the adoption process with the Cherokee County Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) in 2017. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the adoption being finalized.
With November being National Adoption Month, Skyler and I are so excited to be able to share our story. We got married in October 2016, and we always knew adoption was going to be how we started our family. I grew up in Florida, and Skyler grew up in South Dakota. Prior to moving to the Hickory Flat area, we lived in downtown Woodstock. We settled on Cherokee County because of the amazing school system and family culture.
Our adoption journey started while we were traveling to Portugal, waiting in an airport terminal for a delayed flight. I came across an online catalog of all the children in Georgia who needed forever families. After looking into several options, adopting through the Cherokee County foster care system seemed like the best fit for us.
As soon as we landed back home, we attended an informational session at the DFCS office, led by Sylvia Freeman. That session led into our home study, which consisted of eight weeks of classes, as well as a ton of paperwork, a few home visits and a CPR and first-aid class. Fast forward two years, and we received Aiden and Sahara’s biography as a match. (Matches are determined by your home study and how you fill out your paperwork.) Aiden was 6 and Sahara was 5 at the time, and they are biological siblings.
We spent many weekends getting to know them, and we started to plan a move-in date. Then, the pandemic hit. We were told our kiddos were moving in sooner than expected. In March 2020, Aiden and Sahara moved in, the same week schools went virtual. We were new parents trying to conquer the world of digital learning, as well as getting to know Aiden and Sahara, who had previously spent three years in foster care. We were in survival mode the first week, but then we settled into a routine.
One of the best parts of becoming parents has been showing Aiden and Sahara all of their “firsts.” First time at the beach, first time skiing, first time on a plane, at a theme park, even their first time at a restaurant. With two kids, traveling looks different these days, but our trips are even more special sharing them with Aiden and Sahara.
Our adoption was finalized via a Zoom meeting in November 2021. And although we considered Aiden and Sahara ours long before that, it was a very exciting day. The kids couldn’t stop telling everyone their new last name and how they were officially adopted. It brought tears to our eyes.
From the time they first moved in to now, one of the biggest personality changes in Aiden and Sahara is their confidence. They know who they are and understand this is their forever home. Their confidence is undeniable.
I encourage all who have a heart for adoption to consider adopting in our community through the foster care system.
Foster Care, Adoption Resources and Support
- Cherokee County DFCS. https://dfcs.georgia.gov/locations/cherokee-county. To attend an information session, complete an inquiry form at https://fostergeorgia.com.
- Wednesday’s Child — Georgia is a media campaign that helps children in foster care find permanent, loving and safe adoptive homes. https://wednesdayschild.dhs.ga.gov.
- Georgia’s adoption photo-listing website, It’s My Turn Now Georgia, features children who are looking for forever families. https://itsmyturnnow.dhs.ga.gov/WebForms/Home.aspx.
- The Goshen Valley Foundation partners with families who are interested in becoming primary caregivers or respite caregivers, to ensure siblings in foster care are not separated. https://goshenvalley.org.
- The Foster Care Support Foundation, based in Roswell, serves all Georgia counties. www.fostercares.org/take-action.
- The Children’s Haven programs, including Chin Up, a site-based mentoring program, and the Caregiver’s Closet,
help build happy, healthy children. https://cherokeechildrenshaven.org.
– Kaitlin Morgan is a master hairstylist who specializes in blondes and extensions at Volume Hair and Lash Co. in Canton. She is an adoption advocate and mom of two.