Amanda Alexander To Be Honored in DC as Angel in Adoption

Amanda AIASenator David Perdue Honors Amanda Smith Alexander as an Angel in Adoption™

To Be Recognized at National Event in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to Amanda Alexander!  Amanda will be awarded the 2015 Angels In Adoption awardee for outstanding advocacy in adoption issues.  It has been  a privilege to walk alongside Bryan and Amanda through the last several years as they have advocated for Anna as well as many other children.   Congratulations, Amanda!



Chickamauga, Georgia – August 24, 2015 – Senator David Perdue has selected Mrs. Amanda Smith Alexander as a 2015 Angels in Adoptionawardee for her outstanding advocacy of adoption issues. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which orchestrates the Angels in AdoptionProgram, will honor Mrs. Alexander at an awards ceremony on October 6 and gala on October 7 in Washington, D.C.

Amanda Alexander, originally from Fort Payne, Alabama, and husband, Bryan, adopted a little girl from Russia in 2008. Anna‘s diagnoses include severe RAD and FAS.   Amanda has sought out therapies and treatments all over the country for Anna, while raising their biological daughters, Sara and Lucy. Amanda is also Stepmother to twin boys, Tyler and Tanner.

Amanda, who is originally from Fort Payne, AL, is a graduate of both the University of Alabama and Freed-Hardeman University, retired early from her career with Tennessee Valley Authority to be a full time advocate for Anna.

Why You Should NOT Welcome My Special Needs Child to Your Church

“The truth is, I wish you would welcome my special needs child to your church, but for many, there is a work to be done first. Please check your heart and the heart of your church. There are families slipping through the cracks…90% of special needs families to be exact. The Church has a great opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Who will take up this cause?  It will take work and preparation, it will be hard, it will be messy, and it is not glamorous. But, dear friends, it will be so worth it.”

“I realize this may be one of the most controversial posts I have ever written. It has taken me months of writing, stopping, coming back, re-writing and I’m still not positive it’s perfect. But it is my heart…I want to share with you why you should NOT welcome my special needs child to your church…

Federal Support for Inclusive Early Childhood Programs

usdoe logo“The “Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs,” released jointly by the Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) on September 14, 2015, states that all young children with disabilities should have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, where they are provided with individualized and appropriate support in meeting high expectations.

Children with disabilities and their families continue to face significant barriers to accessing inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, and too many preschool children with disabilities are only offered the option of receiving special education services in settings separate from their peers without disabilities.”

To see the complete statement, click here.


Individual Education Account (IEA) – Voucher Option for Education of Students with Disabilities

school-vouchers-art-no-cutThe “Individualized Education Act”, adopted by the General Assembly in 2015 per Public Chapter 431, creates the Individualized Education Account Program and related accounts (IEA) for eligible students with disabilities to use for educational purposes. The program provides options for parents and students to choose the education opportunities that best meet their own unique needs through access to public education funds.

What is the current status of the voucher program?

What are the specific eligibility requirements?  Who is eligible?  Who is not eligible? (more…)


Turning Life’s Lemons into Lemonade: On Display

“Summer.  For special needs families it’s not just a season of humidity but a season of humility.  God always uses summer to once again reiterate how much I need Him every second of every day to walk this journey out. I’m slowly learning to embrace this season because I know God is working in me, but it is hard….”

Beth Bailey goes on to describe some things she has struggled with and yet, been encouraged by, this summer.

“After this experience I have such a different perspective on being the family on display in public.  (Not that I enjoy it any better).  (more…)


Occupational Diploma Information Sheet

 From the Disability Coalition on Education…


What is the Occupational Diploma?

The Occupational Diploma is one of three diploma options for students graduating/exiting high school; the other two options include a regular high school diploma (full diploma) or a special education diploma

  • The Occupational Diploma IS NOT the equivalent of a regular high school diploma (full diploma) nor is it the equivalent of any certification; a student receiving one will not be eligible for standard four-year university programs or entrance into the military
  • The Occupational Diploma is intended to have a stronger focus on vocational/career outcomes and may be useful for students with disabilities who pursue employment after exiting high school

Who is eligible to receive it? (more…)


Journey Educational Services

Journey Educational ServicesJourney Educational Services, Inc.

Luronda Jennings, Executive Director



Journey Educational Services provides educational support and supplemental services to students and young adults with disabilities to assist with obtaining a more confident, efficient, and productive way of life.  The mission of JES is to enrich, educate, and elevate school-aged students and young adults that are challenged with mild to moderate disabilities, as well as educate their parents/guardians on how to be an effective support system that will assist in elevation and lifelong productivity.

Find more information on JES Facebook page.