She was only 10 months old and her sister was just three. They’d been in and out of foster homes for most of their short lives. Their biological mother had substance abuse issues, which resulted in a lack of housing and income. They both had different biological dads – both in prison.
For Raeleigh and Daisy, life wasn’t full of love and comfort, like it should have been. But while they were struggling with an uncertain future, God was preparing a different ending for them.
Todd and Melissa Cook had struggled for years with infertility when God began to call them to foster care. They heard about FaithBridge through some friends who had fostered and then adopted through FaithBridge.
“We wanted to help children who didn’t have a family,” Melissa said. “And when we saw how many children were out there in the foster care system it broke our hearts.”
The Cooks attended an Encounter and then completed Foundations training – becoming licensed foster parents.
Their first placement arrived on December 7, 2015. Two little girls arrived on their doorstep, Raeleigh and Daisy.
“We loved them from the first day,” Melissa said. “Raeleigh was very sick, though, and her system was toxic from lack of nutrition. It took a while and a lot of love and sleepless nights to get her better.
“Daisy also struggled with her behavior since she spent the first three years of her life in different homes. It’s hard when a child has had so much trauma and it’s not their fault.”
According to their FaithBridge Family Consultant Christine Robison, initially the girls’ biological mother partpicated in several supervised visits with the children. The Cooks tried to develop a relationship with her, but the bio mom wasn’t very responsive to their efforts.
Daisy began attending individual therapy, as she was struggling with anger surrounding her visits with her biological mom. As time went on, the girls’ bio mom eventually signed her surrender of parental rights. Today, the Cooks maintain an email relationship with her, though she has no contact with the girls, and report “she’s very happy the girls are in a loving home with us”.
“The girls thrived tremendously with Todd and Melissa and made huge strides in their overall development,” Christine said.
On October 5, 2016, Raeleigh and Daisy were adopted by the Cooks.
“The girls have changed our lives in so many ways. They filled a void in our family since we had been trying for many years to have children,” Melissa said. “It’s been the biggest blessing to be able to give them a home, and then a forever home. They are so loved. I couldn’t imagine life without them!”
Throughout their foster care journey, the Cooks were thankful to have Christine, their consultant, by their side.
“She was amazing. She helped us with the process the whole time,” Melissa said. “She was always good with the girls and we still have a relationship with her to this day. We love Christine – she’s very good at what she does!”
And Melissa’s advice for other people considering becoming foster parents?
“It is a blessing but there are challenges that come with each child. No child is perfect, not even ones that you’ve given birth to. But if you have a heart for children it’s a great blessing for them because there are so many children without homes,” she said.
“I would do it all over again to help more children if I could. We love our little girls so much that even on the most challenging days we go to bed feeling blessed!”