Muhsin Muhammad Makes Room for More...
Muhsin Muhammad, former NFL Wide Receiver for the Carolina Panthers was known for making important and decisive moves on the football field. Little did his fans know that it was the adoption of his youngest son and daughter from Ethiopia that had him making room for one of his greatest plays, the decision to adopt not one, but two children from Ethiopia.
Muhammad retired in 2009 and since then he has been instrumental in helping to establish a chapter of a very important charitable organization in Charlotte, North Carolina. The organization is called The Gift of Adoption (GOA). Muhammad says, “I was approached by Jason Cipriani and I had no idea what he was going to ask me, but he asked me to be a board member for Gift of Adoption (GOA).
GOA is something that is near and dear to my heart because I’ve had adoption directly affect me and my family and we are advocates for adoption. Anytime I can help provide families an opportunity to adopt and provide children an opportunity to be united with their future families, I want to be a part of that.”
Muhammad and his wife Christa Muhammad admit that it was a decision they pondered and discussed quite often together, but when the final decision was made to adopt, they were both in 100%.
Muhammad said for him, the best thing about adopting their son and daughter is, “They have opened my eyes to how beautiful adoption is. I think the biggest thing for me is how much I have learned and how much I have grown and how they have affected me by showing me how beautiful adoption is.”
Consequently, GOA board member Jason Cipriani also spoke of how it can cost upwards of $25,000-$40,000 to privately adopt a child. “Sometimes there are even travel expenses to consider because the adoptee parents have to stay in the local area of the child for weeks or months until the paperwork from local authorities clears.”
According to board member Cipriani, “The Gift of Adoption (GOA) was established to help potential adoptive parents to handle the expenses of adoption. GOA is one of the most unique adoption organizations in this country because every dollar that is raised across the US goes to fund grants. All of the organizations overhead expenses, home office structure, administration expenses and infrastructure are already paid for. Unlike many other charities, 100% of the money GOA raises helps families in need.”
According to Muhammad, typically the GOA Carolina Chapters gets about 50 or so requests for funds and assistance. The fund grants average anywhere from about $3,000 to $7,000. He states, “The more money we raise the more families we can help. Of the 50 families that apply for grants, only about half of those families are supplied with a grant. So by launching this chapter we will be able to raise more funds and be able to supply more and give more families the opportunity to adopt.”
Christa wants people to know that adoption is not a short or easy process and it will be a challenge but do not give up. “It is requires tons and tons of paperwork, but for me it was definitely worth the wait.
When asked why they chose to adopt their children, Madden and Journey from Ethiopia, Christa stated, “Just having a love for Africa and the research we did for the country made us want to adopt from Ethiopia. We have been able to help children in America, but we decided to go home to Africa and reach out. We love the family structure in Ethiopia, a lot of religions get along in Ethiopia and Moose and I loved that. There is a lot of rich culture there and because of that Moose and I said, “This is the place,” and now Ethiopia is my second home.
When asked, how does it feel to have your brother and sister around in your life? Jordan Muhammad, biological daughter of Muhsin Muhammad and older sister to Journey and Madden stated, “Sometimes I forget they are even adopted because it feels like they have been here all along. I’ll ask them about events that happened before they even came to America and they won’t know what I’m talking about and it gets confusing because I forget that they weren’t even there. It is like they are biological too. I don’t even think of them as my adopted brother and sister. I have them included as just like one family. When I point out my brother and sister, I don’t say that they are adopted. I just say they are my brother and sister.
For more information about adoption and nationally chapters of GOA, log onto www.giftofadoption.org.