Our adoption stories are unique. Both of our adoptions were interstate (we live in Ohio, our Birth Family lives in Georgia) and each had some nuances that turned the processes complex.
In late October of 2012, I received a Facebook friend request from a person I attended high school with in the 1980s. I accepted the request and about a week later I received a lengthy email through Facebook telling of her step-daughter, Rachel. My friend from high school recalled that I had a Hysterectomy in 1983 (my Junior year of High School) and that I could not have children. She had heard through mutual friends from High School that we had attempted adoption several times to no avail that resulted in broken hearts. Rachel at that time was pregnant with a child that she needed to place into an adoptive family. After some amazing communications and a couple of quick visits to Georgia, our plan was developed that we would have an Open Adoption with Rachel and Brian Orr. We immediately retained a local attorney who in turn went in search of an attorney in Georgia. Our Birth Family lived in Hall County, Georgia, and so our attorney contacted the court in Hall County and the Bar Association and we were given the name of Judy Davenport Sartain and luckily, she agreed to allow us to retain her services.
Judy was a terrific advocate for both us and our Birth Family. She took care of all of our needs and questions. She counseled our Birth Family and served as an advocate and support system for them. Our beautiful Jonathon was bmn on June 15, 2013, at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Georgia. We were there for the birth and celebrated with the Birth Family as we started om· official journey together. We truly were blessed by a newborn but also an extended Birth Family that honestly is just part of our family as well. As we were released, Judy arrived to the hospital as expected and took matters into her control of releasing our beautiful Birth Family and us. Judy discretely managed a Charge Nurse bent on creating some drama. Judy made it so that we did not have to hand the baby off away from hospital grounds in some quasi shifty exchange of goods. She also made it clear that both parties were to be treated with respect. It was amazing to watch her work her magic.
Judy was VERY efficient in managing all of the paperwork and post birth items. Our dossier of inf01mation went to Atlanta in a timely fashion. It traveled onto Ohio quickly and there it stalled out. Om· dossier was on the desk of a person at Ohio ICPC that was on vacation. Thanks to Judy’s knowledge of the process, she was able to point us toward the correct agency and ultimately a Supervisor who must have heard the angst and anger in this homesick, adoptive Mom’s voice and got us released to return home to Ohio with our newborn miracle.
Judy continued to be an asset to us and om· Bi1th Family, answered all of om· questions along the way, and there were MANY questions. In Ohio, once an infant is placed into an adoptive family, they go into Guardian Ad Litem status and that period lasts for 6 months. During that time, the Social Worker makes monthly visits to the home and sends a report to the Juvenile Court in the county of residence. My family had a personal friendship with the Juvenile Judge in Union County, Ohio, and thus we had made request for an interim Judge to hear our case. In our fourth month of Guardian Ad Litem October 2013), our interim Judge suffered a significant health issue and had to excuse himself from the case. Thus we had to request a second interim Judge who joined our case late November and he was not comfo1table with processes that had been in place and introduced a whole new set of processes we needed to follow.
On Thanksgiving Eve 2013, I phoned Judy in distress because many of the items we were asked to do were just repetitive and some were rather expensive. She counseled me through steps we could take and then shared that she would get back to me in a few days because she was at the hospital with her son, Sam. After a couple of questions, I learned of the tragedy of Sam’s accident, yet, Judy being the professional she is, continued to help me with my child and our needs as her own family faced a horrific moment in time.
After much communication it was clear that our interim Judge simply had not been properly prepared by our Ohio attorney and it was clear that we needed help. So I once again phoned Judy and asked for guidance. She connected us through the Georgia Supreme Comt to an Ohio based adoption att01ney that was able to consult with our retained attorney to get our process completed and finalize Jonathon’s adoption. Our adoption could have closed in December of 2013. It finalized March 4, 2014. It would have drug on further and cost thousands of dollars more if not for the professional prowess and commitment to humanity of Judy Davenport Sartain. We simply adore her!
We were very busy loving on our amazing Jonathon when my phone rang on August 21, 2014, as I was driving home from the first day of school. It was our Birth Mom, Rachel On-. It was ve1y common that we communicated every day or so (still do) via text, email, or phone call. But this call was different. Rachel asked if I was driving. I answered yes. She asked me to pull over, so I did. And then she said that they were pregnant again and hoped that we would adopt this baby as well. And our response was of course a resounding yes!
So, we started the process to adopt Baby number 2. We retained an Ohio adoption att01ney, Susan Gainer Eisenman, the woman who had consulted on Jonathon’s adoption. We called our Social Work to update our Home Study. And we retained the services of Judy Davenport Sartain as our Georgia Attorney.
We learned so much during our first adoption, that the second adoption went off like clockwork. Judy took care of all things with the Birth Family, communicated with our Ohio attorney, and awaited the arrival of our second miracle. On April 25, 2015, we welcomed the adorable Noah into the world at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Georgia. As before, Judy arrived at the hospital the day of release, managed all parties, completed all paperwork, and got us headed to the hotel for our waiting period. In addition, Judy efficiently completed all pape1work, got it submitted to Atlanta, tracked it as it processed to Ohio, and waited with us for our release to come home.
On the second day our pape1work was in Ohio, there was a discovery that there could have been some Cherokee Indian heritage in little Noah’s background. We began to worry thinking that this could become a huge barrier to our adoption. He was so little, and we already adored him. We could not imagine there would be any barrier to him joining our family. I am sure that Judy sensed the worry in my voice and she continually reassured us that there was a safety process in place and she collaborated with our Ohio attorney to get us through that scary bump. She comforted our Birth Family through the process and she made it ok for all of us to feel the way we did. Most importantly she was the voice of reason that guided us through it. So a couple of days later we were released to retrun to Ohio. Our process concluded in exactly 6 months.
We are very grateful for Ms Judy for helping us to re-adopt thru the American court system our little guy from Russia. She made things very very easy. She was very reasonable in her fees. We trusted she had our best interest at heart. We definitely have a heart for adoption and love adding to our family. In every sense of the word. Our home is always open and welcoming of another precious one. Our motto is there is One Race and that is the Human Race. Red, black, white, green, purple is of no weighing factor in those children whom the Lord sends to our home. We love them all. Our home is always open and we see Value in every child and little baby and we love them dearly. We are very thankful for like mindedness working with Ms Judy in her practice. She not only practices what she preaches and lives it but she also has a passion for Adoption as well. We pray that one day the Lord will open our home up to more babies in the future. Using her would be a pleasure to go through that process again. Thank you Ms Judy Sartain. The Petitts.
Judy changed our lives!!! We had “high-powered attorneys” in the ATL constantly tell us “we couldn’t do this” and “we couldn’t do that”, making us feel helpless in our step-parent adoption. She guided us with compassion and complete competence, turning a years-long ordeal into hope in the shortest time…both with our step-parent adoption and newborn adoption. We felt unimportant to the firm we had hired, just another client to bill. Judy was always immediately responsive and never had a defeatist mentality. She cared, and it showed. Our two adoptions happened on the same day, about a half hour apart, in the ATL at Fulton County Superior Court. It was nothing short of a miracle. Our family has been forever beautifully impacted by Judy Sartain!
Judy finalized an ICPC adoption for us in 2017 just seven months after we reached out to her. Not only did she match us with a wonderful birthmother and father, she was also able to guide us through the interstate adoption process and connect us with an excellent attorney in the sending state. She was knowledgeable and personal, and always eager to answer every question we had.
~Jason & Gina