God takes our lives in many directions and we often do not know why. He placed a love in Melissa’s heart for foster children many years ago; over the years she fostered more than 200 children, adopting nine. She knew their needs well and loved them by God’s grace alone. This is her story:
"Jessie’s seventh birthday was a very special day for all of us. On that day the caseworker brought her to our home and made us a family; as Jessie said, 'I’m here, now we can all be happy.'
The next seven years with Jessie were wonderful; she loved children, always wanting me to take more little ones into our home, helping with feeding time, rocking and playing with them and never minding being asked to help. Jessie was athletic, loved to swim, surf, skateboard, do gymnastics, track, camping and just being outside with the little ones.
A few days before Christmas 2003 Jessie came to me with blisters in her mouth and dark spots on her legs, which was immediately diagnosed as Aplastic Anemia. Jessie entered the hospital and fought for her life for the next four and a half months, but by God’s plan alone, she entered her eternity on May 11, 2004.
The day she died, my 10-year-old daughter, Trisha, sat with me, hand in hand, begging God to save Jessie. Her ICU room was filled with 50 people all singing 'Amazing Grace.' A few days later, my 3-year-old, Jordan, demanded to be taken back to the hospital to see for herself that we hadn't left Jessie there. She visited her room, where another little girl was now, and announced, 'That little girl is going to heaven too'; and so she did, just a few days later. She was recognizing God’s hand on all of us.
Very soon thereafter, I heard about a brother and sister who were both double amputees and we prayed hard that God would tell us what he wanted us to do; before long Timothy, 5, and Rachael, 13, became part of our family. We had heard earlier about three other little ones and we promised we could take them as well, if they were available. Pretty soon we were a family of nine, now including Lacie, David and Michelle.
God promises he will not give us more than we can handle and that he goes before us to clear the path for us. Through Jessie’s life and death, God showed us we could do anything he asked of us. The pain and sorrow of her death proved to all of us that we were a lot stronger than we ever knew, when Jesus himself walks with us."