Bringing A Family Back Together: Likisha and Jamya’s Story

Posted on June 1, 2023

Tennessee — Placed in foster care as a young child, Likisha lived a life in and out of care. Pregnant with her first child at age 16, she was also struggling with poverty, homelessness and trying to escape domestic violence. By 19 years old, Likisha was working hard to give her children the best life, but with a minimum wage job she couldn’t make ends meet.

“I was trying to do everything right,” Likisha said. “It just came crashing and crumbling.” 

Thinking it would give her time to get back on her feet, Likisha decided to temporarily place her children in foster care.

She tried to hold on to her children and to overcome challenges to provide a safe environment. But as time went by, Likisha’s parental rights were eventually terminated, and she was devastated.

“I felt empty. I felt like the only title that I’ve actually ever had, had been taken from me,” Likisha said.

Nine years later, when Likisha’s daughter Jamya was 14 years old and expecting a child of her own, she was referred to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program.

Through the program, the Foundation supports the hiring of adoption professionals, known as recruiters, who are dedicated to finding permanent homes for the longest-waiting youth in foster care. Recruiters begin their search within a child’s familiar circles of family, friends and neighbors and then reach out to the communities in which they live.  

If family reunification is a safe option, a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter will explore it … always.

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter Jocelyn shared that when she met Jamya, “One of the things that I noted in my getting to know her was that she only talked about her mother. Everything was about her mother.”

After listening to Jamya’s wishes, Jocelyn reached out to Likisha. 

Jocelyn and Likisha
Jocelyn (recruiter) and Likisha (mom)

“(Likisha was) very transparent about her own story and what she’s gone through,” Jocelyn said. “She did have a job. She had her own apartment, and she was actually working on buying a baby bed and just some different little things for her granddaughter.” 

Seeing the stability and love that Likisha could provide for her daughter and the hope Jamya felt when thinking about being together with her mother, Jocelyn worked with the family and the Family & Children’s Service of Tennessee to move toward reunification.

And in 2021, a judge ruled that Jamya could be with her mother, forever.  

“(Jocelyn) did something that was heaven-sent. She actually answered a prayer, and I thank her so very much,” Likisha reflected. 

Every child deserves a safe, loving and permanent home. Donate now to support the life-changing work of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids adoption professionals, like Jocelyn, in finding the right family for every child in their care.

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