Promoting Adoption

Madison area group organizes
inaugural Adoption Expo

By Ruth Wright
Contributing Writer

MADISON, Ind. (November 2004) – It has been four years since Ken and Carla Goins returned home from Perm, Russia, with their baby daughter, Alysa. The then 9-month-old had spent the beginning of her life in an orphanage, referred to in Russia as a "baby house." Working with the Adoption Center of Washington, D.C., a non-profit child-placing agency licensed in the District of Columbia and Virginia, the Goins made the 12,000-mile round-trip journey to bring Alysa back with them to her new home in Madison, Ind.

Goins Family

Photo by Ruth Wright

Carla Goins, Ken Goins holding
Alysa Emily G. (front)

"For us it was just a breeze. Our older daughter, Emily, who was seven at the time, has been a great big sister. (Alysa's) been healthy and is very energetic. She will be ready for pre-school in the fall," said Carla Goins, coordinator of Trimble County School system's gifted program.
With the adoption of Alysa, the Goins family became part of the majority of Americans who are personally affected by adoption. According to a 1997 survey conducted by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, six in 10 Americans were either adopted, had a family member or close friend who was adopted, had adopted a child or had placed a child for adoption.
Allen and Bert Batman of Madison adopted their son, Ruflan, seven years ago. Like the Goins, they traveled to Russia, where they went through the country's legal process also with the assistance of the ACW. Ruflan, now in third grade at E.O. Muncie Elementary, was 27 months old when he joined the Batman's family. He had been in an orphanage since he was just a couple of weeks old.
"It went fast because we were so determined. I think once you get your mind set, you don't let anything get in your way," Bert Batman said of the experience.
Both Carla Goins and Bert Batman, who became friends through their adoption experiences, are now reaching out to others who have adopted children or are considering adoption. They have formed Chosen Children-Madison Area Adoption Group, which they hope will be a resource to the community.
More than 30 people attended the group's first meeting, held in March at North Madison Christian Church.
The group is now planning an Adoption Expo, scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon on Nov. 13 at the Venture Out Business Center, 975 Industrial Dr. in Madison. The free event is open to the public and will feature a continental breakfast and educational sessions on foreign and domestic adoption, home study process and agency booths.
"I think the main goal would be to help people see that adoption is a great way to create a family," Carla Goins said of the group.
Another is to help adopted children understand their heritage. Like Alysa and Ruflan, many children are adopted from foreign countries. The ACW, for example, specializes in international adoptions of children from China, Russia, Ukraine and Vietnam.
Establishing friendships and helping those who are interested learn more about adoption are other of the group's goals. "We hope to have guest speakers come in," said Goins.
Batman, who before adopting went through multiple surgeries and tried for six years to have a baby, said she wants to let people know that there are alternatives. "You don't have to not have children," she said.
Batman was inspired to co-found Chosen Children after participating at North Madison Christian in a "Forty Days of Purpose" campaign, based on the inspirational book, "The Purpose Driven Life," by Rick Warren, and speaking with Pastor Bob Hicks. "He told me to go for it, and that's when I called Carla," said Batman, who works in admissions at Hanover College.

• To learn more about the Chosen Children-Madison Area Adoption Group or Expo, call Carla Goins at (812) 273-6631.

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