Dottie Adams’ life is one worth honoring, worth trying to emulate as we go about our business from day to day. From her home in Athens, Dottie raised two children, completed higher education, and worked on behalf of Georgia families beyond count. In her work, first at Advantage Behavioral Health Systems and then on the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, and in her spare time, Dottie went out of her way to help others and served as a dogged, hands-on advocate and teacher of advocacy for Georgia families beyond count.
Dottie’s work was not sweeping or glamorous, but it was absolutely essential to the many whose lives she touched. She was a friend and mentor to families from first diagnosis to transition into adult life. She would help parents see the gifts and capacities of their son/daughter every step of the way. This was a critical lifeline to families who may have felt overwhelmed and afraid as they confronted the reality of supporting a child with a disability through the stages of life. She was also an expert in navigating complex benefits systems. She shared her knowledge freely and helped people with disabilities and their caregivers get needs met.
She took on other projects, such as providing informal respite, finding good homes for adults with disabilities in need of housing, and intentionally seeking out friendships with the people around her who most needed a friend. She reunited families which had been broken by institutionalization decades before. Even after her retirement from the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, Dottie continued to make the world a better place. Her work with people with disabilities in Georgia and the American Cancer Society continued unabated up to her passing.
Wherever she went, Dottie made others’ lives better and solved problems. Her warm demeanor, obvious compassion, and strong, early commitment to full inclusion made it easy for people to trust her and seek her help. She was particularly kind to children. Her patience and genuine interest can be seen in the pictures of Dottie shared by her loved ones since her passing. Friends remember her as a good listener who was generous with her time and effort, a superb quilter who gave away more than she sold. People across the state are mourning Dottie’s passing, which is a testament to the number of lives she touched.
It is important to remember that we most honor Dottie Adams by trying to live as she did. We show our gratitude for her and for the many other unsung heroes who quietly devote their lives to advocating for people with disabilities and meeting basic needs, living and dead, by being strong advocates, helping our neighbors, being hospitable, and recognizing our own ability to make a difference. Dottie understood that she was needed; that it was important to give sincere, supportive encouragement. If we do the same, we, too, can help others and build welcoming, inclusive communities!inclusive communities