Yessick dedicates life to helping Alabama’s foster children

Published 7:58 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Yessick family was packed and ready to head to the beach when the phone call came.

“If you can be in Bristol, Tenn. in the morning, we have a baby for you.”

The Yessicks quickly turned their thoughts in the opposite direction and two days later headed back home with their new baby girl.

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“My mother was the first to see me and the first to hold me. She is the only mother I have ever known,” said Marjorie Yessick.

Marjorie was not the first baby adopted into the Yessick family. Her sister was 10 years old and wasn’t so sure that she wanted a baby sister in her life.

“Jane had been an only child for 10 years and, when I came home, I had the colic and cried all the time,” Yessick said and added laughing. “Jane told my parents, ‘She’s not really ours so can we take her back?’ We still laugh about that.”

Yessick has always known that she was adopted.

“My parents read books to me and they always told me that I was their special gift,” she said. “Being adopted was normal for me. I can’t imagine my life being any other way. Growing up, my parents supported me in every way just as they did my sister. My dad would go to dance recitals and sit there with the biggest smile on his face. They were always there for both of us.”

Yessick said her parents told both her and her sister that when they got 18 years old, they would help them locate their biological mother if that’s what they wanted to do.

“All that they asked was that, before we made a decision, we would go to counseling,” Yessick said.

“Jane wanted to know so she went to counseling. But, when she realized all of the implications for her and her biological mother, she decided that wasn’t something she wanted to do. It was not anything that I wanted to do either. I had my parents and that was good enough for me.”

Yessick said she knows her life would be far different if she had not been adopted.

She has been blessed with a loving family and the most wonderful parents anyone could have.

So, as Miss Troy University, she chose Heart Gallery Alabama, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding permanent, loving families for children in Alabama’s foster care system, as her platform.

“This is a cause that I really believe in because I know how much love adoptive parents have to give and what it means to be loved by them,” Yessick said.

“The children of Heart Gallery Alabama want desperately to be adopted. When you ask them why, they say ‘to get a mom for life.’ Being a foster child is not permanent. When a foster child gets to be 18 years old, they are out of the state’s custody. They are on their own.

These children want to have a family for always. They want to be loved and they want to love.”

Unfortunately, these children are the least adoptable.

“Some of them have handicaps and other disabilities,” Yessick said. “And, too, they are older children. Most people are who looking to adopt want babies. But these children are so deserving of a loving family. I want to do all that I can to make people aware of their needs and Heart Gallery of Alabama is one of the best ways that I know.”

Yessick will be the featured speaker at the closing reception of Heart Gallery of Alabama’s exhibit of 40 professional photographs of children in Alabama’s foster care system who are waiting and hoping to be adopted.

The reception will be at 6 p.m. tonight at the Cultural Arts Studio on East Walnut Street in Troy, across from the Johnson Center for the Arts.

Anyone who is considering adoption or just wants to know more about Heart Gallery of Alabama is encouraged to come.