When Foster Care Works

Lakesha Turner of Huntington, West Virginia, admits a foster family was the last thing she wanted for her daughter.

“I felt like they wanted my baby,” she said of Lindsay and Cory Emswiler of Charleston, West Virginia.

The Emswilers didn’t have plans to foster a child when they received a call about Lakesha’s baby girl.

“God had other plans, though,” said Lindsay.

Lakesha agrees.

The 26-year old retail manager spent three years battling a heroin addiction before she welcomed her daughter Le’Ona into the world.

“Two days before they were going to terminate my rights, I signed up for rehab,” she said.

Lauren Love Photography - 5After a relapse, Lakesha said she realized her motivation for becoming sober needed to be not only for her daughter, but for herself.

So in August, she enrolled in an intense detox program. It was while she was in this program that she developed a seemingly unlikely friendship with her daughter’s foster mom.

“I didn’t like the idea of somebody else taking care of my child, but I couldn’t do it, so I’m grateful they said yes,” said Lakesha.

“They have been such an amazing help in encouraging and supporting me since being in the detox center,” she said. “They’ve become part of my family, and they’ve accepted me into their family. I feel like there should be more people like Lindsay and Cory.”

Lindsay said it’s been a privilege to be part of Lakesha’s journey.

“I’ve literally watched her fight every day for her baby. She has beat the odds that some say are unbeatable. God has his hand on her life, and she is prospering!” Lindsay wrote in a recent Facebook post that was shared thousands of times within only a few hours.

Last week the families celebrated Lakesha’s reunification with her 15-month old daughter who spent a total of 252 days in foster care.

Lauren Love Photography - 1“I was excited. I didn’t really understand what happened in court until my attorney told me afterward that I got my daughter back,” said Lakesha.

Lakesha admits it hasn’t always been easy, but she’s grateful for her situation.

“Sometimes it’s hard because people do judge you, but I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for my struggle,” she said.

She plans to graduate from a faith-based sober living facility next month. Afterward, she looks forward to moving into an apartment complex where she will continue raising her daughter.

“I hope my daughter knows anything is possible. You have to want it and strive for it. Never give up, and never lose faith. God can pull you through anything,” said Lakesha.

Photos by Lauren Love Photography