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#ClickforHope | Maria

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My son was about 18 year’s old and Erica’s mother was 16 when she had her. They were young parents and not able to care of her and be responsible. They would occasionally drop her off to me and wouldn’t come back for days. She was very little, only weeks old.  It had gotten to the point where they had dropped her off for me to watch her again and all she had on was a onsie in the middle of winter and burning up with a fever crying. I rushed her to hospital where they informed me that she had thrush and was running a fever of 104. They asked for my relationship status and if I was the mother. I said no and told them the situation. Once they heard what was going on they told me I needed to call DCFS and take custody of the Erica since she was living in an unstable environment. We went through so many court cases and by now Erica was about 3 months old, living with me. They granted me custody of her until her parents got their situation under control and could provide a safe and stable home for Erica. I cared for and loved Erica as my own. When Erica was about 5 months old, the court decided it was time for her to go back with her parents since they had an apartment and jobs. It was so heart breaking to give her back since I had bonded with her. It was like she was mine. I trusted God and knew He would be watching over her. Years went by and Erica’s parents split up. I saw her on and off again, and they still would sometimes drop her off by me so I can to see her. At the age of 10, Erica made the decision to live with me permanently because she wanted a stable life and stable school. By the time she came to live with me she had been in 11 different schools and moved around a lot with her mother and brothers. Again we went back to court and Erica gave her testimony and the court granted me guardianship of her. I put her in a stable school and had two jobs to so I could provide for her. I always told her to trust God in everything and to follow Him. When my husband was incarcerated in ’07 it was just Erica and I. I was still working two jobs to support us. We went through hard times financially, but  stuck it through continuing to trust in God as we dedicated our lives to Him in ’05. I raised Erica as my own and did the best I could by myself and with God’s help. At the age of 16, Erica reunited with her mom,  and wanted to go live with her. Again my heart hurt because it was like I was losing her all over again. I trusted God and let her go. After a year with her mom, she came back to me, as the lifestyle her mom was living was not what Erica was looking for. She moved back in with me, and it wasn’t easy raising a teenager, but we persevered. At the age of 20 she met her husband at our current church and got married at 21. I taught her that God was always watching over us, and to never lose hope.

What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story? *
God might be calling you to do something you feel you aren’t ready to do or even be able to handle, but you could be saving that child’s life and giving them hope and a future!

Hair and Makeup: Erica Alexis Artistry

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