If you ever doubted Black women are magical, this story will serve as a confirmation that we are phenomenal and should be protected at all costs. Even when society fails us, we keep giving. We never stop giving even when we don’t get anything back in exchange.
Kelley Jamison aka AyeYoKells is an example of what it’s like to give even when she doesn’t have to; even when life has thrown all the curveballs it possibly can. As a celebrity publicist who has worked with the likes of Boosie and Hillary Clinton, her work is always about putting her clients’ stories first, but she quickly realized she too is a brand with a powerful story that needs telling. From being adopted to finding her birth family, dealing with rejection from them, then domestic violence, abandonment, and homelessness; Jamison has seen it all and wants to give back through her all-black and woman-owned adoption agency (The Jamison Adoption Agency), opening at the onset of 2023 in Charlotte, NC.
“The overall goal is to make the Jamison Adoption Agency a franchise and all-stop location for adoption services, youth service programs, foster and guardianship education courses, and other social assistance services,” she says.
You might wonder, why an all-black adoption agency? After all, every child deserves a chance to find a lovely home. Although this is true, the statistics are alarming when it comes to the adoption of black children. Research from 2020 shows that “29,325 of the children adopted in the United States with public agency involvement were white. In that same year, a further 11,631 children adopted in the country were Hispanic and 9,588 were Black.” In addition, a study from NPR shows black babies cost less to adopt as they are the least preferred. Anyone considering making one of the most important influential decisions of their life and taking steps toward adoption would be wise to consult a professional like the adoption lawyer in virginia beach to help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible and you can focus on what matters.
At the end of the day, adoption is Jamison’s personal story. She recounts the moment she found it was adopted. “I was very young, about 12 years old at the time. I was at school having an exchange with one of my classmates when the classmate meanly said to me “That’s why you’re adopted.” I went home that same day and told my parents what was said and asked them why they would say that to me. After calling the school to speak to my principal, my mom told me I was adopted and shared how they became my adopted parents,” she says.
Although Jamison asserts she had a great childhood, like most adopted children, she became curious as to who she was. She says: “It did create some identity issues for me, and thereby fed my curiosity to know where I came from.”
This curiosity led Jamison on a quest to find out who her birth mom was. And luckily, she was able to trace her down. However, things were not all rosy. Although she lived with her mom for a period of time, she faced rejection and abandonment when she overheard a conversation her mom was having on the phone saying “I never came to her, she came to me … I wish she would go back to the people she came from.”
As the relationship began to fracture leaving Jamison to move out from her mom’s, she had no other alternative but to channel all our energy and frustration to work. She says: “Honestly, once I left my mom’s house I no longer thought about those situations. I suffer from high-functioning depression, so to cope with any traumatic experience in my life I would bury myself in work.
“I do feel like those experiences made me more hungry for success. I was determined to run a successful business and not be a product of the family I was born into. I wanted different for my life, and I wanted to be able to take care of my family.”
She went on to create and build a successful PR agency that caters to celebrity clients.
But still, this wasn’t enough for her. She still wanted to give back more. She knew there were children like her who needed a home, who needed love, and who needed guardianship, hence why she decided to open an adoption agency.
Jamison is proud that her adoption agency will cater to a demographic that is the least served. “Although there are service coordinators who specialize in finding babies for African Americans, there are not many black-owned adoption agencies. All kids deserve love, but there are not enough spaces which cater towards African American children. Black people as a community are continuously a negative statistic and a lot of it starts from home. Our direct focus is finding exceptional homes for minority children because after adoption a lot of African American children don’t end up in great homes, and this results in domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental issues, and more. The Jamison Adoption Agency is bent on showing the world that each child’s needs, whether educational, physical, spiritual, emotional, protective, or economic, need to be met. There is a purpose in prosperity for us and that’s being a blessing to others by becoming a miracle for those in need.”
With regards to why it’s women-owned, she states: “I wanted the agency to be all black and women employed because I love everything about black women. I read an article from Forbes that black women are becoming the biggest race for entrepreneurs. I love our strength, and I love the unconditional love that’s shown for our children, I was raised by strong black women, and I am a strong black woman. We all know that phrase, there’s nothing like a mother’s love. I felt like having an all-female staff would bring the genuine, concerned, excited atmosphere I would want at my agency.”
But, opening up the first Black and woman-owned adoption agency is no easy feat. “I have already generated 2 million in funding via business funding and sponsors but I do plan to open an official go fund for donations, sponsors, and more funding. I’m also partnered with a few companies now that are investors within the company, but I am always looking for more investors. Also, since my feature on Essence, I have had a lot of people reaching out to me about volunteering their services, asking how to support, donate, or just be a part,” she says.
As Jamison embarks on creating history and impacting the lives of generations to come, she wants her fellow BAUCEs to know that despite your traumatic experiences you can always flip them into positive ones and outlets. “Always stay positive, hopeful, consistent, courageous, and persistent, and move with good intentions,” she says.
Currently, the Jamison Adoption Agency has contracted 14 services to assist families with adoption. The grand opening will be held in February 2023 during Black History month.