Georgia’s Magnolias and my rich history of the towering beauties
To be a Newton County Georgia native is such a blessing. I am a true Southerner at heart and when you go to Downtown Covington Georgia you meet true Southerner’s who always welcome you with an open hand, a hug and a smile. The historic square is my home away from home. Where we sip coffee, sweet tea and lemon sours from Square Perk and enjoy the patio during the warmer months. Home to The Vampire Diaries you can now enjoy The Mystic Grill with its rooftop dining and live entertainment. The historic square in Downtown Covington boasts of gorgeous towering Magnolias that sparkle with love, hope and offer you shade as you sit on the square benches and read or have your ice- cream from Scoops.
I have always loved Magnolia trees. I have a Magnolia tree near my home that I have been watching for several weeks now and when I went into the hospital last week they were just barely beginning to bloom. Still in buds. Not opened just yet. While at the hospital there is a window at the vending machine are and you can see the picnic tables and the foliage outside along with Peachford’s towering Magnolias. It gave me great comfort to see the Magnolias in bloom and reminded me of home. Exactly the spot where I drive immediately upon my release. I was adopted by Mr. Mayron Fuller of the Fuller Family Farms in Covington GA at Old Atlanta Highway and I -20 at the historic Newton County courthouse and am an only child of my deceased parent’s Mr. Mayron Fuller and Ms. Brenda Fuller, both deceased. This is what began my love of the historic downtown Covington Square. While doing my internship with Esquire Mr. John Strauss of The Newton County Public Defender’s office I was able to visit the Square often it was such a pleasure being Mr. Strauss very first intern through Dekalb Technical College’s Legal Office and Paralegal programs where I graduated with an A in my internship and with dual diplomas from Dekalb Tech. From private Kindergarten at The Little Red School House to college at Dekalb Tech, Covington Campus Newton County, GA holds my entire education it its hands. And now onto graduating New Rock day program classes through View Point Health, The ACT Team, The Respect Institute and the GA Peer Support Institute through the GA Mental Health Consumer Network. Working on delivering my project on The Five Stages of Recovery. I have attended many community events and photographed these events and shared them at my Covington News blog over the last nearly 3 years now. November being my 3rd year Anniversary as a top blogger with The Covington News. I have been so encouraged over the last week to put my stories from my blog into manuscript form and submit it for memoir publishing. I hope to reach the world with my story and reach the world of my love of my children. And for my children to know just how very much I do advocate for them in and outside the courtroom and just how important advocacy truly is.
> Candidates must have diagnosis of mental illness or a dual diagnosis of mental illness and addictive disease and must desire to identify themselves as a person with mental illness current or former consumer of mental health services.> Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and may be requested to provide a copy of this document.> Must demonstrate strong reading comprehension and written communication skills as indicated on their responses on the pre – test which is part of theapplication.> Must have demonstrated experience with leadership, advocacy or governance.> Must be well grounded in recovery. These facts are taken directly from the Certified Peer Specialist brochure.There have been 997 Georgia Certified Peer Specialists Since October 2001.
I have shared my stories of success and despair at my Covington News blog but one untold story is where I spent 90 days on the Forensic Unit at Georgia Regional in 2006. I have not shared this story with my readers out of respect and privacy for the other party involved. But it will be included in my memoir to come. While being hospitalized and jailed my mother passed away and I was unable to attend any of her services. She had a local hometown Covington service and also a service through the Veterans Administration Hospital in Atlanta where she served as charge nurse for many years. She died very suddenly and I still grieve her death and not having any closure to her passing. She was cremated as were her wishes and so there is no grave site to visit and take flowers or tokens of love. The Covington News staff is fully aware of my 90 days on the Forensic Unit and also have copies of my release of obligation and responsibility of this issue. It will be discussed when my memoir is published. I hope to name my memoir As She Paces. At one point in my life while being incarcerated and the 90 days spent on the Forensic Unit at GA Regional I never dreamed the day would come when I could share my story. I would journal and tear out the introduction pages of books with names and addresses on how to reach publishers and book company’s. This was in 2005-2006 and now I have been at Facebook since 2007 and at Word Press for nearly 4 years and at my hometown Newspaper The Covington News for nearly 3 years where there motto is “The Story of Your Life.” I am able to share on Facebook my blogs with TV Channels 2, 5 and 11. Local News stations. I am able to share with NAMI and just last night for the first time I shared my Covington News blog site with Random House and Penguin paper back Publishers. My advocacy did not just begin with my own biological daughter of 15 years old it began in 1992 with my son and my three legally adopted step – daughters. So with 20 plus years of advocacy I feel pretty strong that I would make a great Certified Peer Specialist. To adopt in the State of GA you must meet the following requirements:
Independent Adoption Report – State of Georgia
I. Verification of allegations contained in the petition
II. Circumstances under which the minor children came to be placed for adoption
III. Whether the proposed adoptive parent is financially, phsically and mentally able to have the permanent custody of the minor child
IV. The physical and mental condition of the minor children to be adopted
V. Whether or not the adoption is in the best interest of the minor children
VI. Suitability of the home to the minor children
VII. Other information – References
Four references were obtained on myself, Leslie Syles, school counselor, Julie Manders, school counselor, Mark Zielenske, family friend, Charles and Dot Sasser. All of the references support the adoption of the minor children by the petitioner, April Christina Fuller Sasser
This adoption took place in 1999 the very same year my biological daughter was born. Then from the Fall of 1999 – 2002 I was a college student, working full time and being primary care – giver to five children.
My advocacy for children began some 20 plus years ago and has still not stopped. Leaving behind a lasting mark in the O.C.G.A. The Official Code of GA Annotated for family violence victims, parental alienation, parental reunification and the mentally challenged. Our names will be forever in open court history from 1992 in Rockdale County with my three older daughter’s to current day in Rockdale, Newton and Walton Counties with my youngest daughter at hand. I hope to be able to include these case numbers and citing in my memoir.
I can recall Attorney Paul Oeland asking me, “Well April what are we supposed to tell Nancy now that you have been hospitalized?” Nancy being Honorable Nancy Bills who represented Mr. Sasser and gave a prepared proposed Opinion that I have custody of my youngest daughter and for Mr. Chuck Sasser not to interfere in the relationships with me and my older three daughters. Now Honorable Bills is head of the Domestic Violence Prevention program in Rockdale County of which I was hospitalized for. It has been clearly authenticated and presented in open court and accepted as authentic. And given there have been 997 Georgia Certified Peer Specialists Since October 2001. I think there was a lot he could have shared with her. Between Attorney Paul Oeland, Honorable Nancy Bills and Honorable Sidney Nation our lives were ripped apart and ruined all because I presented with a voluntary admission to Peachford for marital abuse after being treated at Northside and to Peachford for recovery and a diagnosis of depression and codependency as the care giver of many alcoholics and drug addicts during my life time. I have said it before and I will say again and time again. There has never been not one single hint, suggestion, implication nor accusation as to any wrong doing on my behalf as a wife or a mother for that matter. NO remiss, NO neglect, NO abuse, none whatsoever to even be thought of in 20 years in and out of the courtroom. None. Mr. Chuck Sasser has had 20 years if so. 10 years of a marriage and 10 years of court hearings surrounding custody and visitation. And no mention of such. Yet, I still suffer alienation and estrangement from my daughter’s and my own biological daughter stemming all out of hate and deliberate lies. There is no telling what my four daughter’s have been told. They will know the truth one way or another. They are all adults now and my youngest is a young lady of 15 approaching adulthood fast. To go from having very loving, open and trusting relationships with 5 children to never seeing my four daughter’s again has been absurd and very anguishing to me day in and day out. My son is now 21 and has been a very active, loving, full and open bond with me and does not understand why this had to happen this way who loves and misses his sisters he was raised with.
Our last year spent together as a family was spent at the Gwinnett Arena with the indoor football team The Georgia Force as I was contract paralegal and leasing office consultant to the Force team and their families who lived at the apartment community I worked for. Me and my children alone attended each and every game and one of my step daughter’s even celebrated her birthday at the Arena being allowed to cheer on the field with the GA Force cheerleaders. It was an amazing last year spent being a full time mother with a career.
A lady that I will probably never find again all by the wrongful injustice hands of this State of GA with me being left with the burden of proving marital abuse and hospitilization for marital abuse and depression and codependency as the caregiver to alcoholics and drug addicts who abused me. I was flourishing into a beautiful young lady with a college education, a career and 5 wonderful, clean and happy children up and until the time of my divorce and by the gut wrenching hands of this state.
Now granted the state has rectified and made right a wrong several times over whereas my daughter’s are concerned and I greatly admire Honorable Rhymer and Honorable Samuel Ozburn for attempting to put this family back together and for the reunification process and open and loving bond that has been ordered time and time again always with recommended therapy for everyone. I admire their decisions and am very grateful for their time, efforts and not only to just sit on the bench but to really care and share in great concern for all of us. Being Judges who met with my daughter and she expressed she did want to be an active loving part of my life. Well this has still not taken place all out of the act of hate from my ex husband and his family. With no leg of remiss, neglect or abuse to ever be mentioned as a mother nor as a wife in 20 years.
Deanna Dennis of Turner Broadcasting and a facebook friend of mine had the book “Let Your Life Speak” by Parker J. Palmer shipped to me from Amazon it is about finding your calling in life and your vocation. The State of GA has left me no other choice than to advocate for me and my children and for them to have the direct right to know the truth. I will continue reading “Let Your Life Speak” and “You’ll get through this” by Max Lucado donated to me by Peachford. With the forward Hope and Help for your Turbulent Times.
The State of GA has left me no other choice but to continue to embrace this injustice and heart wrenching life they have left me with. To be a strong advocate as is a requirement of the GA Certified Peer Specialist Project.