In 2015, Shanon and Jennifer Pruitt attended a FaithBridge Encounter meeting at First Baptist Woodstock church. After two years of prayerful consideration, they decided that fostering is what God wanted them to do. After getting approved, they accepted four-year-old *Laila into their home. Laila had been placed in foster care after experiencing neglect from her biological mother who was also dealing with substance abuse.

Shanon (left) and Jennifer Pruitt (right) along with their 16-year-old daughter (middle) make fostering a family mission.

Shanon and Jennifer have a 16-year-old daughter, but had dreams of expanding their family. Jennifer said, “Me and my husband have been trying to conceive for the past 12 years. It was very hard to get pregnant and while we are at First Baptist Woodstock, we went to an interest meeting and that was the moment where we said ‘this is where God wants us.’ Fostering just tugged on our hearts and it has impacted our life in a wonderful way.”

Laila was the first child FaithBridge placed in their home, but when they found out that she had a half-sister that was also placed in foster care, they decided to welcome two-year-old *Mikayla into their home six days later so the siblings could be together.

After two months of having Laila in their care, *Henry, her biological father, was located and notified that she was in foster care.  Henry was estranged from Laila’s biological mother and unaware of her drug addiction, while he was living in New York. He came to Atlanta to be reunified with his daughter and take her back to New York to live with him.

“Laila’s father came to every single court date.  We knew he was committed to raising his daughter on his own as a single father,” said Jennifer.

After the final hearing, Shanon and Jennifer arranged to meet with Henry in person to give him Laila’s belongings. They also prepared a folder that included photos of them with Laila and lists of her likes and dislikes.  They even gave Henry their phone numbers and told him to contact them if he needed anything.

Jennifer said, “We told Henry to call us even if he just needed us to pray for him or simply ask what her schedule is like.  He was very thankful that she was in our home and he said that he could tell that she enjoyed being with us.”

About a week went by before the Pruitt’s heard from Henry. Jennifer said, “When we spoke by phone, he said it was hard and challenging, but we were praying for them and we are committed to helping them with anything they need. We want to be there to support both of them.”

The Pruitts’ now talk to Henry and Laila on a weekly basis. Jennifer said, “Of course when we found out she was leaving the state, we were devastated, but we’ve been keeping in touch. We talk on Facetime on a weekly basis and it’s put a mend on my heart. It’s been wonderful.”

These reconnections are especially impactful as they are able to continue to connect Laila with her half-sister Mikayla who is still in the Pruitt’s home. They are currently making plans to get the sisters together over the holidays when Henry returns to Atlanta to visit family.

The impact that fostering has made on their lives has is something that can’t be denied. Jennifer said, “It has truly been a ministry to welcome these children into our home. I cannot imagine what our life would be if we didn’t do this. When we think about the needs for these children not being met…we just can’t say no.”

She continued, “These children need help. They need love. Some have never had it. So even if it’s just for a short while, when you welcome these children into your home, they are experiencing God’s love.”

* At FaithBridge, we respect the children and families we serve. So while their stories are true, names and other identifying factors may have been changed to protect their privacy.”