How Homes Transform the Lives of Mississippi’s Children
We’ve provided some of our favorite adoption and foster stories below.
The Joyous Sound of Silver Bells
Auburn Lambeth and his wife had a biological son, but longed for many years to expand their expand their family through adoption. On December 3, 1963, the Lambeth family received what can only be described as a Christmas miracle.
“I was standing on a street corner in downtown Jackson ringing a bell for the Salvation Army when I saw my secretary running toward me down Capitol Street,” Lambeth said. “She was almost out of breath, but as she got closer, she called out, ‘Mr. Lambeth! Mr. Lambeth! They’ve got your child! You’ve got a little girl!’”
The Lambeths and their young son, Andy, arrived moments later at Mississippi Children’s Home Society (today, Canopy Children’s Solutions), where they found their new daughter and sister waiting for them in an antique cradle used by the agency since its founding.
“There in the cradle was the most beautiful little red-haired, freckle-faced girl,” Lambeth recalled. “Everyone in our family had dark hair. Andy looked at her with his eyes wide, then turned to me and asked, ‘Is that ours?’”
In 1965, two years after adopting the beautiful little redhead he named Linda, Auburn Lambeth joined the Canopy board of trustees. In those days, the agency operated the Crestview-Crittenton home for unwed mothers. Lambeth began visiting the home and spending time with the young women there, most of whom would be placing their babies up for adoption.
“The young women were a little withdrawn. It was not a comfortable position for them to be in,” Lambeth recalled. “As a middle-aged, married man, I knew I could never understand what a young, single, pregnant woman was feeling in that situation. But what I could do was tell that young woman what a loving and unselfish decision she was making, and how grateful I was. Because another mother like her had made that same decision, I had a beautiful daughter.”
Life’s Top Ten List
“My husband and I were standing in line for the ‘David Letterman Show’ when we got the call. I stepped out of line to answer the phone, then stepped back in the line and told my husband, ‘Congratulations. You’re a father. And by the way, it’s twins.’”
– Adoptive Mother
You Forgot Something!
“I’ll never forget the day my secretary interrupted a meeting to announce, ‘Your baby is here!’ I rushed home to pick up my wife so we could go and meet our new son. Judy ran out to get in the car, and I said, ‘We can’t leave. You forgot something.’ She said, ‘What?’ and I said, ‘Your skirt!’ She was so excited she’d come out to the car in her slip.”
– Arthur “Skipper” Jernigan, Canopy Board Member and Adoptive Parent
Keep Your Phone On
“My husband and I were taking a cruise, and I’d turned my phone off. When I got off the boat and turned it back on, I saw dozens of missed calls from my mother. Mississippi Children’s Home Services (now Canopy Children’s Solutions) had called her while we were away. She answered the phone screaming, ‘I told them to hold that baby for you!’”
– Adoptive Mother
“We got a call at 8:30 in the morning. They said, “Your son is here, and you can pick him up at 1:00.’ We didn’t even have a room set up. We went to Sears to buy a baby bed. It was just chaos, this wonderful chaos. When we came home with the baby, the house was full of people all waiting to meet him. When you get that call, your whole world changes.”
– Easy Biedenharn, Canopy Board Member and Adoptive Parent
From Finance Clerk to Foster Mother
Mamie Pitts served as the Mississippi Children’s Home Society’s (now Canopy Children’s Solutions) financial records clerk from 1956 until 1975. Moved by the motherless babies she visited in the Kate McWillie Powers Receiving Home on her breaks, Pitts once commented, “If I’m ever able to, I’m going to help children who don’t have a mama to take care of them the way my own mama took care of me.” Eloise McDonald, one of the Society’s social workers, overheard her comment and held Pitts to her word.
When Pitts left Canopy’s employ, McDonald suggested she and her husband serve as foster parents for children under the supervision of the Mississippi Department of Public Welfare. Over the next 12 years, Pitts and her husband fostered 36 children ranging in age from newborn to nine years old. Pitts had children of her own, but that didn’t stop her from shedding tears every time a child in her care said good-bye. “I can still remember some of their little faces as they were driving away,” Pitts said 25 years later. “I spent my whole career either indirectly or directly helping children, and it all started when I saw those little babies in the nursery.”
Therapeutic Foster Care Placement Results in Adoption.
In October 2012, Elizabeth Mack was licensed by Canopy as a Therapeutic Foster Care Resource Parent. A young boy named Cortney entered her home after enduring traumatic experiences in previous home environments with both biological and non-relative placements. Fortunately, he revealed feeling “right at home” once he moved into his TFC home.
Cortney thrived. He expressed that he participated in extracurricular activities at his school setting for two consecutive years, joined a karate team for martial arts, and has enjoyed many family outings and vacations on a consistent basis. He also received the fantastic news that he was successfully admitted into the APAC program with Jackson Public Schools.
Elizabeth Mack decided to create more memorable moments with Cortney, the most memorable of which was on July 23, 2015 – the day the his adoption was finalized and he was happily welcomed into his “forever” family! Ms. Mack expressed, “I fell in love with Cortney instantly and would have it no other way. I just had to wait until my baby was ready.” Cortney followed up with, “Yeah, I ‘m really happy here and I know that they all love me.”
Do you have an adoption or foster story of your own to tell? We would love to hear from you! Please contact us.