Hi Trudy, welcome to FW! This is an incredible site filled with amazing people who genuinely want to help others be the best writer possible and all that, plus some wonderful Christian fellowship. This is like a family to me and has given me more than I could have dreamed of when I first joined three years ago.
First, I've made some dear, sweet friends from all over the States to Australia, Africa, England, Thailand and Latvia. These aren't just casual friendships but close friends, many of whom I talk or text each day.
I was going to ask if you were from Georgia the country or the state, but from your statement about returning to the States eight years ago, I'm guessing that you are referring to Athens, Georgia US. I'm not sure if the country has an Athens in it. Geography is not my strong suit. Though I do know there is a Athens in Greece.
The forums are a great place to get to know one another. The Water Cooler is a place to chill and talk about anything from the weather to just saying howdy. There are a couple of small groups who love and support each other. The Pacific Coast Rest Stop or the Southern Porch can be found in that section. (You don't need to be on the Pacific Coast or from The South to pop in) Since I'm assuming you are from the South, I'll leave the link for the Southern Porch here (like I said you don't have to be a Southerner to sit on the porch.)here
The prayer Forum offers an opportunity to pray with others or ask for your own prayer requests or share some joys. The Open Forum is the best place to find writing related threads.
It sounds like you have some awesome life experience to write about. The weekly challenge is probably the most popular place at FW. You do need to be a paying member to enter, though starting in January they are offering Silver members four credits to enter the challenge which can be used in a row or spread out over the year. If it does appeal to you and you can afford the few dollars each month to become a gold or silver member, it is so totally worth it. Plus there are all kinds of wonderful perks that go along with the Gold and Platinum members.
It sounds like you would be a perfect fit to enter this months blogging contest. You can find more information about it One Hundred Percent
The bad news is the deadline is rapidly approaching (I think it's Jan. 31)
Have fun exploring, try not to be too nervous. I know it can be a tad overwhelming at first. Feel free to ask any questions or join the discussions. But most of all have fun!