Even though I do not have children of my own, I know the challenges of having children. I took in my significant other’s niece and nephew. Now I know you are probably wondering,” Why in the world would you do that?” It’s a lot more complicated than you might think. I could not just stand by and watch malnourished innocent children not be taken care of. How could I?

I decided to take them in and raise them when the youngest was just born and was only two months old. Needless to say, they are now one and three, traveling, healthy, and visited the beach for the first time. The point to this is that I was not ready for children, but knew I had to step up and take them when no one else would.

My challenge was changing my life to accommodate them. I was only 20, in college full time, with a fulltime job, and taking care of them. That was enough by itself. I can imagine the questions in your head now are along the lines of, ”Where was the rest of the family, where is their uncle, and why did Aundrea take them?” The rest of the family were not able to take them on. The uncle was helping me. We spent many nights awake and learning how to work with each other to take care of a newborn.

After many nights of asking myself, ”Why?”, suffering with sleep deprivation, and mentally breaking down, I got through it. It was the best feeling in the world to hear doctors say the baby was no longer on failure to thrive, and the oldest child was healthy. It brought tears to my eyes to hear that and to know I changed their life and they are seeing the world through new eyes.

Being that person to step up and take that on challenged  how I saw my life laid out in front of me, but I am so glad I made that decision. I now get to see them smile and enjoy being a child in a safe and loving environment. I thought my life would be on pause and I wouldn’t get to enjoy my young adult years because I took them on. It changed my life and made me look at a lot of things differently.

I say all these things to give you a moment to think about  the lives you impact. Even if you do not personally take on a child and go through adoption or fostering; it saves that child. To all the people that have decided to take on a relative or nonrelative, let me encourage you,  it gets easier. You may struggle through it the first few months, but as time goes on you will see things become better. To moms that are struggling; please ask for help. Know that because you need help, it does not make you less of a mother or a woman. I had to learn it the hard way as well. Asking for the extra help made it easier for me to raise them. There are people that will help you, have the courage to ask.

We all can help each other in some way, may it be big or small!

Author: Aundrea Hickson