About Us

Adoption is not new to the African-American community. As a people, we have historically taken care of our own. The NC Association of Friends of Black Children developed based on this conviction. From its eighteenth year history of proving that Black families do adopt evolved Another Choice, the state's first African-American adoption agency focusing on recruiting adoptive homes for African-American and other special needs children.

Ruth Amerson Founded by Ruth Amerson, and opened on January 15, 1995, the agency has successfully united over a thousand children with families. The majority of these children are older children or members of a sibling group who only dreamed of having a permanent home. The agency has been recognized for its accomplishments on a national level by the Los Angeles Times. Much of that success can be attributed to an effort to meet families' needs in the most respectful and timely manner. Mr. Melvin Jackson, president of the agency's Board and former Executive Director, Janice Williams are both long time members of the NC Association of Friends of Black Children. Through that alliance, they recognize the need for and support the manner in which the staff of Another Choice interacts with families.

The agency's first physical location at 1506 Woodland Avenue was the result of the giving nature of Bill Wilson, a Sanford attorney who so generously donated space in that facility. At that time, branch offices were located in Rose Hill and Charlotte. The Rose Hill office was at 131 Wells Brothers Road in the home of then Social Work Supervisor, Barbara B. Brown. The Charlotte office, initially located at Galilean Baptist Church on 10th Street, began operating from the Varnadore Building on E. Independence Boulevard in May of 1995.

As the agency grew, an appeal was again made to the citizens of Sanford for a larger physical plant, and they responded positively. Mr. William H. Knotts leased an office suite to Another Choice on Wall Street in November of 1996. As new recipients of the Pairs and Spares federal grant, the state's first African-American adoption agency continued its focus on sibling groups and older children.

The publication of the agency's quarterly newsletter was undertaken by New Horizons Desktop Publishing, owned and operated by Billie Boyd Cox. The agency's continued growth necessitated more frequent travel and overnight stays by workers in other areas of the state. Hence, a partnership was formed between Another Choice and the Hampton Inn of Sanford.. Staff members of the Hampton Inn supported the vision of the agency as they sponsored families formed through adoption each Christmas.

Founder and Program Administrator, Ms. Ruth Amerson continued to garner nationwide attention based on the agency's placement rate. An outcomes based contract with the NC Division of Social Services, the Pairs and Spares federal grant, and a grant from The Duke Endowment provided the financial base for the agency's operation. Ever concerned about being able to meet the needs of the families and children working with Another Choice, Ruth and her staff applied for, and in October of 1997, received a federal grant -RESPECT, designed to provide post placement services to families.

Having secured the agency's finances for a time, Ms. Amerson began to seek a method of developing a larger pool of waiting families as African American and other special needs children continued to constitute the greater portion of the foster care system. While it meant relocating her family, Ms. Amerson made the decision to move the main office of Another Choice to Charlotte, North Carolina and to maintain a satellite office in Sanford. The main office of Another Choice began operating from the Holden Office Building on North Tryon Street in December of 1997.

Another Choice became a member of the NC Black Chamber of Commerce with the move to Charlotte. From that relationship, referrals and partnering led to the purchase of the agency's site at 3028 Beatties Ford Road. That purchase was financed through Centura Bank as an outgrowth of a business plan developed by A.C. Marketing. At the time of the purchase, the agency employed a full time staff of three full time staff, eleven contractors, and operated from a modest annual budget.

The agency’s service delivery was being expanded to include a family home for boys. This component of the program, scheduled to begin operation in early 2000, met with numerous conflicts in terms of building codes, zoning, and political pressure. While the idea was not abandoned, it had to be tabled until some of the obstacles could be removed. The group home will become a reality in the near future.

Hard work and proven outcomes helped the agency secure another federal grant in October, 1999. This grant, EAGLES, focused on recruiting homes for teenagers in the foster care system. Having expanded the agency’s full time staff to ten people and employed in excess of twenty contactors, including a fund developer, Ms. Amerson continued to navigate the agency to national attention as she began to serve on the Board of the North American Council on Adoptable Children. The organization held its annual conference in Charlotte, North Carolina during August 2001 as a result of Ms. Amerson’s involvement. She was also elected Vice President of the organization’s Board during that conference.

The agency’s finances have increased steadily since the move to Charlotte. In 2002-2003, Mecklenburg County Youth and Family Services and Wake County contracted with Another Choice for placement services and training. The Duke Endowment awarded the agency a grant to bolster its foster care component. In September 2002, Another Choice was awarded a grant from the federal government to implement the Men Embracing Children Collectively through Adoption (MECCA) program. This program focused upon using men as recruiters for foster care and adoption. As a result of the performance based contract with the state and the aforementioned grants, the agency’s operating budget has improved significantly since its move to Charlotte, even in the face of state budget cuts. In September 2003, the agency was awarded the Real Families for Real Children grant from the federal government to recruit rural adoptive and foster parents.

Barbara B. Brown worked hand in hand with Ruth Amerson to create a program that would serve as a vehicle of hope for African American families and children. Barbara Boney Brown was a solider, a visionary, and an outstanding friend. On January 19, 2003, Barbara departed from this journey and answered the call of a higher calling. Her spirit, her wisdom and her unquestionable love for children and families are unprecedented. We, who are left, must journey on for far too many children still have no place to call home.

Another Choice
Today, the agency has moved to a larger facility at 2340 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte, North Carolina. Another Choice continues to take the adoption world by storm. Ms. Ruth Amerson, now the agency's Chief Executive Officer, remains an advocate for families for the children waiting in the foster care system. She is included in the Millennium Edition of the National Register’s Who’s Who In Executives and Professionals. With God's continued blessing, Another Choice remains committed to the belief that adoption does change the world... one child and one family at a time.