I've Got Your Back, and You've Got Mine

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i fully APPRECIATE the gift of Perimeter School now that i am a mom.

By Chelsea SABo, Perimeter School Alum

I can still remember the first day of fifth grade. I cried the entire way to school and at my desk in Ms. Johnson’s class. I was mad because my parents had decided to move me from the school where all my friends were to this new place called Perimeter School.



They explained that we had to move in fifth grade so that I was guaranteed a space in middle school. As a kid, I didn’t understand. Now, as I mom… I get it!

My parents loved Perimeter School when they took a tour. It had all they were looking for: a great education, engaged families, children being raised with the same Christian values, etc. 

Again, as a kid, this was all insignificant to my short-termed view of personal happiness. I didn’t need new friends, did I? Now, as a mom… I get it!



The friendships that I made at Perimeter School were more than just classmates, they were friends that resembled family. These friends have shown up in my celebrations and in my heartaches, both during my time at Perimeter School and today!

My best friend all through my time at Perimeter School was Rachel Hart. We carpooled together and were in classes together. Rachel and I were thick as thieves, and we had each other’s backs no matter what. When my first crush talked to me in the hallway, Rachel was there to scream with excitement. When that same crush asked another girl to be his “special friend,” I went to spend the night (on a school night) at Rachel’s house so I could cry with her.

One year, Rachel and I had a teacher that always separated us for talking (oops!). So, naturally we did not like her at all and would gossip about her on our car rides home from school. Our moms encouraged us to write notes to our teacher apologizing for our disrespectful behavior and to take flowers to her at school the next day. That teacher cried and shared with our moms that she was going through a divorce. Rachel and I had made her smile more than she had in a long time.

As much as Rachel and I loved each other, we would fight too… like sisters. One morning, Ms. Hart and Rachel arrived at my house to drive me to school. Rachel and I were in an argument and refused to talk to each other. So, my mom put on a pot of tea, and they sent us both up to my room. We weren’t allowed to come out until we had talked, forgiven each other, and were ready to be friends again. We were not just friends. We were family.

To this day, my friendship with Rachel has stood the test of time. We may not see each other every day, but we love each other fiercely and have one another’s back no matter the cost. Even though we attended different high schools, I was at all of her school plays, and she came to my tennis matches. In college, she was the first to know when I was struggling with depression. I was there when Rachel had her first baby, and she was there the day I adopted my son!

Perimeter School was more than a school for me. It was a place where I learned valuable life lessons, doubted and processed my faith, learned to be brave, and developed my own community.


Perimeter School was more than a school for me. It was a place where I learned valuable life lessons, doubted and processed my faith, learned to be brave, and developed my own community.



I never fully understood what a gift it was to attend a school like Perimeter School until I became a mom. I was given more than a good education and a Christian worldview. I was given a family, a village, people in my corner.

I am currently a single, adoptive mommy of an amazing little boy! I fostered him for three and a half years before his parents chose to sign surrender papers directly to me and make him my son. I was chosen to be Tyler’s mommy, and sometimes I can’t believe it’s really true. I now have the responsibility to care for the needs of his body, mind, and soul. And that is not something that I take lightly! Being chosen to be my child’s forever parent is the greatest compliment that I could have ever been given. His precious life was entrusted to me.

Now, I could go on and on about the privilege, blessing, and precious treasure (the name I remind him of every day) that Tyler is to me. But, there isn’t enough room in this article to gush with all my motherly pride!

I have now toured countless schools and observed countless classrooms myself. Why? Because, I want everything for my son. I want more than just a school with a great curriculum and test scores that race ahead of the curve. I want teachers who care and go above and beyond. I want parents who think like me and will protect my child’s innocence and childhood. I want friends for my son that will walk with him through the times of celebration and heartache.


I want everything for my son. I want more than just a school...


My son, just through the nature of his adoption, will have a lot of tough things to process as the years go by. And that trauma can either cause him great stress or can make him into a man of great resilience. I want the latter. But, a key component in post-traumatic resilience is social support. It’s a village. It’s a family stronger than blood. It’s people in your corner.

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I have given my life to being Tyler’s mommy, as well as working for change in the foster care system. About a year and a half ago, I started the Foster Care Alliance. We daily do life with single, biological moms whose children are in foster care (or at risk of being in foster care) because of past trauma and poverty. We like to say that we advocate for healthy families, one mom at a time.

At the Foster Care Alliance, we want to see families rise out of poverty, the hidden trauma of these mothers healed, and the inter-generational cycle of abuse stopped. There is a lot of research about the types of environments that raise strong, inter-dependent people, but it is newly being applied in foster care. We are conducting some cutting edge research in this field. These environments must include a healthy support system, trauma interventions when necessary, strong focus on education, and involvement in participatory arts.

This unique combination was something that I benefited from at Perimeter School, that I will always be sure my son experiences, and that I will live my life fighting for all children in Georgia to have access to.

The header photo of Chelsea and Tyler was taken by Haley Jo Photography.

Learn more about Chelsea’s work at the Foster Care Alliance.