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Online auction planned to help with family’s adoption costs

BY REBECCA LEFTWICH becky@newnan.com

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ne of the biggest barriers to adoption is the cost, and a local moms group is helping a Newnan family grow by raising money in support of its attempt to adopt. Newnan native Lara Carswell and her husband, Robert, are growing their family through infant adoption. The Southside Moms of Multiples Club will host an online silent auction from Jan. 21-24 to help the couple raise the necessary funds. Carswell, a local attorney, said she and Robert – who works in engineering research at Georgia Tech – have always dreamed of a large family. “Infertility has made achieving that dream more challenging,” Carswell said. Before looking into traditional infant adoption, the Carswells grew their family through embryo adoption. About 600,000 embryos created for in-vitro fertilization are currently in storage in the U.S., according to Carswell.

“When going through IVF, parents often create more embryos than the number of children they want,” she said. “Once they finish having kids, the other embryos remain frozen in storage. Many couples donate them to other families, or place the embryos for ‘adoption.’” After two successful embryo adoptions resulting in their son, Leland, and twin daughters Charlotte and Elizabeth, the couple said they still felt the pull towards traditional adoption. Carswell said the biggest hesitation was the cost of adoption, with the national average for infant adoption topping $40,000. In 2019, after attending the RACE for Orphans, the Carswells said their then-7-year-old son asked them when he could have a baby brother or sister. He told his parents the family could adopt one of the many orphans in the world. Carswell said Leland’s open

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ADOPTION . 3

PHOTO COURTESY CARSWELL FAMILY

The Carswells are raising funds to adopt an infant. Pictured are front, Leland Carswell; back, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Lara and Robert Carswell.

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Newnan resident will be on ‘The Hustler’ Jan. 21 BY LAUREL HUSTER laurel@newnan.com

N

ewnan resident Richard Kerr will be featured on the new ABC game show “The Hustler” Jan. 21. The episode, “Watch Out for the Quiet Ones” will air on ABC at 10 p.m. The show, hosted by Craig Ferguson, follows five contestants as they collaborate to answer a series of 10 trivia questions worth $10,000 each, with the goal of building a collective prize pot that increases with each correct answer. One of the five contestants, the Hustler, already knows the answers, but must keep their identity a secret in order to have a shot at winning the grand prize, according to a press release from ABC. Throughout each episode, two contestants are anonymously eliminated by the Hustler, leaving three remaining contestants — the Hustler and two others — who must collectively decide who they think the Hustler is. If they are right, they share the prize pot that could be worth over $100,000. If

the two contestants are wrong, the Hustler goes home with the full cash reward, according to the release. Kerr has lived in Newnan since 2017, and is an editor for The Points Guy, a website created to help people maximize their travel. Kerr said he’d never done casting for any shows. However, in August 2019 someone who was casting for the show reached out to him in the online community for The Points Guy and asked if he would apply. He said he had to fill out tons of information, and the casting process took three months. Kerr said there were online applications, Skype interviews and he had to participate in online game play. “It was way more competitive and involved and intense than I thought,” Kerr said. In November 2019, Kerr was told he had been selected to go to the filming location, but he wasn’t sure if he was going to be a contestant on the show or an

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PHOTO COURTESY ABC/CHRISTOPHER WILLARD

Newnan resident Richard Kerr will be featured on the new ABC game show “The Hustler” Jan. 21. Kerr is pictured on the far right. alternate. Two weeks later, he was on his way for filming. Kerr said every contestant on the show is prepared to be the Hustler, and producers don’t tell the Hustler that it will be them until right before they go on stage. He said contestants had to give producers a lot of information about themselves. “Every odd, random, weird fact about your life,” Kerr said. Kerr said the contestants were kept isolated right up until filming, and he tried to role play the game before filming. “You’re sitting in this room anxious if they’re going to tell you that you’re the Hustler,” Kerr said. “You play mind games with yourself.” Kerr said he found out in December 2020 that the show would premiere in January. “It was an entirely new experience for me, a once in a lifetime deal,” Kerr said. “I had no idea how it was going to turn out,” Kerr said. “It’s a really fun show that makes you completely engaged. It’s a fun show to watch with friends and family; they did a really good job with it.”

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in His ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statues! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgements. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

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ADOPTION

lenges of the adoption process, they say, and their efforts so far have included selling T-shirts and homemade casseFROM PAGE 1 roles. The Southside Moms of Multiples heart and encouragement led the Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizafamily to begin planning and saving for tion that supports families of multiples. adoption. Bidding for the online auction supportBut as for many adoptive parents, the ing the Carswell family’s adoption efCarswells’ journey has not been an easy forts will open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, one. Jan. 21 at https://smm.betterworld.org/ “(We) were matched with an expect- auctions/carswell-adoption-SMOMC . ant mom who intended to place her Auction items include tickets to the child for adoption, but later changed World of Coca-Cola; tickets to the Tellus her mind and decided to parent,” Car- Science Museum; tickets to Zoo Atlanswell said. ta; two-night getaway in Chattanooga, A “failed adoption” is not only emo- Tennessee, including a whiskey distilltionally draining but can take a financial ery tour and bottle of whiskey; family toll as well. Most of the up-front costs – membership to the High Museum of in this case, $13,000 for the Carswells – Art; autographed photo of Guz Malzis unrecoverable, and they do not carry ahn; gift cards to Fogo de Chao, Pubover once the family is matched with a lix, Sam’s Club, Palmer’s, Gillyweed and new expectant mom. Rock Salt Milk Bar; and season tickets Despite the and Hups OM E downs, S E Rthe V IfamC E Sto the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra. ily says their faith in God gives them The auction closes at 8 p.m. on Sunstrength and confidence that the right day, Jan. 24. baby will join their family at the right For more information, visit the Cartime. Fundraising has helped keepthem swells’ Adoption Journey page on Facemotivated and busy through the chal- book.

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ichard, and his sister Emeline, are Basset Hound mixes who recently arrived at the Coweta County Animal Services shelter. They were picked up as strays along Elders Mill Road on Dec. 29. Richard is friendly, playful and outgoing, while Emeline takes a bit longer to warm up to people. They are about 10 months old. A family on Elders Mill Road found the dogs and kept them for a few days, posting online and trying to find the owners, according to shelter workers. Richard and Emeline got along great with the family’s dogs, and got along well with their children, according to shelter workers. The Coweta Animal Services shelter is currently open by appointment only because of COVID-19. Visitors need to know in advance which animals they are interested in. Animals up for adoption at the shelter can be viewed at PetHarbor.com . For more information contact the shelter at 770-254-3735.


Wednesday, January 20, 2021 — Marketplace — 5

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021 — Marketplace — 7

Odyssey Charter earns 100 percent audit scores

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NTH STAFF REPORTS news@newnan.com

O

dyssey Charter School recently scored 100 percent on its special education and federal programs Cross-Functional Monitoring audit by the Georgia Department of Education. Odyssey met or exceeded goals in 13 special education categories and 58 federal programs categories. Principal Scot Hooper praised the efforts of Director of Special Education Kathy Keown and Director of Federal Programs Bridget Wilson. “We are exceptionally proud of the special education department and our federal programs department for the work they have accomplished with our scholars,” Hooper

said. “Kathy Keown and Bridget Wilson have worked with the teachers and staff to make a cohesive team approach to special education and federal programs support at Odyssey Charter School.” Hooper said special education students were the fastest academically accelerating subpopulation at Odyssey Charter School in 2017 and 2018, according to the school’s College and Career Ready Performance Index. “Our federal programs department opened up opportunities the school had never experienced in the past,” Hooper said. “With these types of positive results, our scholars made significant academic progress, which is continuous and ongoing.”

PHOTO COURTESY ODYSSEY CHARTER

Director of Special Education Kathy Keown, left, and Director of Federal Programs Bridget Wilson, right, celebrate Odyssey Charter School’s 100 percent scores.

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