Gift of Adoption helps local family

Last week’s paper reported on the new Gift of Adoption headquarters in Charlotte.

Matthews residents Todd and Cindy Garner know the difference that non-profit groups like Gift of Adoption can make in people’s lives.  The Garner family is comprised of two parents dedicated to creating a family, and their two adopted children, Caleb, 11, and Claire, 9.

The Garner’s adoptions were very different.  They knew Caleb’s birthmother here in N.C., and they adopted him as a baby. Claire was adopted as a six-year-old in the Philippines.  Her adoption cost between $20-25,000 and required months of paperwork and waiting.

They tried to turn in paperwork at the Homeland Security building, but they found out they were not allowed in.  It was due in one week, and they had to mail it.  The paperwork made it on the last day, but was processed a day late.  The Garners contacted their Congressperson, who in turn forced the application through.  The red tape almost delayed them by multiple months and nearly cost them an additional $800.

“Adoption has its own pregnancy, labor, and delivery,” said Cindy.

Claire was born with a cleft palette, and the surgery had some affect on how she forms certain sounds.  She is also learning to speak English, as her native language is Tegalog.  Claire spent the first two years of her life living in a hospital, and the next two years in an orphanage.  The last year she was in the Philippines she lived in a foster home with six other children.  She was six when she joined the Garner family.

“The agency we used for our international adoption was really exceptional.  It was Christian Adoption Services here in Matthews,” said Todd.

“Periodically they have orientation classes for the public and we went to one of those,” said Cindy.  “The adoption agency gave us several website and references to go to if we needed to solicit some help,” and that’s how they found Gift of Adoption, which awarded them $1,500.

“By the time we came down to the end of this adoption – and it was a 13-month long process – you get really weary of the waiting…and dealing with international politics of adoption.  And by this time you’ve already put forth a lot of money.  When Gift of Adoption gave us their check it was a relief because it helped pay for our expenses when our funds were really depleted, and we needed to get to the Philippines to pick her up,” said Cindy.  “We’re just regular people – we’re not wealthy people.”

“For a lot of families I think the hardest part is the money.  Even for people that aren’t looking to adopt themselves they can help other people.  If they think adoption is something they feel strongly about, they can help other people by giving to these organizations like Gift of Adoption,” said Todd.

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Fall is upon us: Here are some area festivals celebrating Autumn in the Carolinas

Mint Hill Times

The weather is cooler and the kids have gone back to school. It’s time for fall festivals. The summer was very hot this year. Maybe it’s been a while since you spent a day outside. Pack up the kids, wear your comfortable shoes and bring some cash, not all festivals take credit cards although the list is growing. You’ll have a good time.

Some of these festivals charge admittance but many are free to enter. If you have a small budget this year, look for the free festivals and bring your own drinks and snacks. There are always samples and other freebies.
Fall festivals were started by farmers who wanted to celebrate and mark the end of the growing season. Original competitions were who could cut the most hay fastest and who could catch the most greased pigs.
You don’t have to own pigs or be able to cut hay to have a good time at today’s festivals. Just bring an umbrella in case it rains and be prepared to have a good time. Continue reading

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Matthews will launch its new residential roll-out recycling cart program the week of August 8

The Town of Matthews will introduce its new roll-out recycling containers in early August. All households in the Town will receive one new green roll-out recycling cart. The carts are 96 gallons and will be collected every other week on the same day as their garbage collection day. Garbage collection will still happen every week and on the same schedule. There is no charge for the first cart.

There are several benefits to having an every other week roll-out cart recycling program.

“The carts are easier for citizens to maneuver, have a lid which prevents littering and hold more than the small bins we now use,” said Matthews Town Manager Hazen Blodgett. “We will also save money by only collecting recycling every other week which means fewer trucks on the road and less air pollution.” Continue reading

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Matthews Fire and EMS Explorers take home honors

The Mint Hill Times The Matthews Fire & EMS Explorer Post 911, a group made up of local teens, recently won several honors at the N.C. Fire & EMS Explorers competition in Warren County.

The Explorers are teenagers between the ages of 14 to 18 who are interested in firefighting and EMS careers. They meet monthly to learn about these fields and to receive hands on experience in the fire and medical professions. At the state competition the Matthews Explorers competed against eight other teams in written, oral and practical examinations, a tug of war, a relay race, and various other races using fire equipment.

They won the written examination competition, placed second in the equipment practical competition and won third place in the oral examination. This is the first time the Matthews Fire & EMS Explorers have participated in the competition.
The Explorers program just started a year ago in Matthews.

Exploring is a program through the Boy Scouts of America which gives both females and males a chance to explore different career paths. They meet the first Saturday and the third Thursday of each month. Explorers are taught subjects such as CPR, first aid, fire hose training, ladder evolutions and pump operation.
At age 16, Explorers may begin taking classes through CPCC to become fully certified firefighters.

If you are interested in joining the Explorers call 704-847-9400.

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No charges brought against Mint Hill man


View Larger MapThe Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office will not bring charges against the driver of an ATV that killed Evan Wolf last week. Patrick Keaton, 43, of Mint Hill accidentally hit Wolf with ATV at a gathering at Christ Covenant Church June 21. Wolf, 15, was participating in a summer youth program called Seek the City when the accident occurred.

The Matthews Police Department has been conducting an investigation into the circumstances leading up to the crash since the incident occurred.

The investigation is considered closed at this time.

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Matthews Receives Grant for New Community Garden

View Larger MapThe Town of Matthews has received a $3,000 grant to establish a new Community Garden. Currently the Town has one Community Garden which is located at 427 Covenant Church Lane.

The grant was given to the Town by the Nourishing North Carolina Program, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the NC Recreation & Park Association.

The Community Garden was established as a place where residents of Matthews who do not have space for a garden could plant flowers or vegetables. For $30 a year you can rent an 8’x6’ plot. The garden has been very popular since it was first established. Currently there is a waiting list for people who would like a plot.

Over the next few months the Town will work to identify a second Community Garden site and use the grant money to establish it.

For more information on the Community Garden contact the Matthews Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department at 704-321-7275.

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