In Romans 12:15 we are told to rejoice with those who rejoice! We were recently given the chance to celebrate and rejoice as one of our teenagers aged out of the care that we provide in our Children’s Shelter. “Amy” came into our care last summer. She immediately found a place in all of our hearts. As she walked into the shelter for the first time, you couldn’t help but see the brokenness. She has a past that would tear your heart in pieces, and you can see the hurt in her eyes. “Amy” didn’t talk much and was very withdrawn from the other youth. It took her months just to be able to look others in the eyes. We tried many times to set her up with mentors, but no one felt they could connect with her because she was so introverted.
Many of the staff prayed long and hard over “Amy”. “Amy” would be turning 18 soon and we knew that would mean she would age out and would not qualify to reside at the Children’s Shelter any longer. The thought of “Amy” on her own, with no support, scared us. She had goals of wanting to graduate in May and attend Lake Sumter State College, but would she be able to get that far without anyone there by her side? Many teens age out of the system and end up on drugs, in jail, sex trafficking victims, and so on. We didn’t want to see “Amy” go down that path.
We teamed up with First Baptist Church of Leesburg Sunday school classes, and we all prayed and searched for a potential sponsor family for “Amy”. As time was beginning to tick away with only a month left before her 18th birthday, God’s plans for “Amy” began to become clear. With much prayer and counsel, one of the Children Shelter’s Child Care Workers felt the tugging of God in her heart to take “Amy” in to her home. Dawn needed a roommate, and she expressed how she missed out on those years with her daughter and felt God directing her to become a sponsor home for Amy. The church came alongside of Dawn to offer support as she took on this ministry. Before leaving the shelter, we made sure “Amy” had taken her ACT, was given life skills to help her in her transition, got her learner’s permit, was given many opportunities for volunteer hours for high school graduation, and was confident to start this new life. First Baptist Village Park Campus also recruited volunteers to throw her an 18th birthday / transition party.
We collected numerous gifts to help her in her transition. And as of March 21st, “Amy” moved out of our Children’s Shelter and into her new home. But even though she is not a child in our care anymore, we assured her she couldn’t get away that easy! We will be sure to be at Dawn’s house to continue to provide accountability, encouragement, and the love of Christ. Please join us as we continue to pray for “Amy”. Our prayer is that she will be an overcomer of her past circumstances and that she won’t let her time in foster care hold her back from her true potential in Christ!