Forever Family: Meet Ja’Niya

Forever Family: Meet Ja’Niya

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Sisters close in age.

Teenagers.

Pre-teens.

Do any of these ignite a sense of warmth or fuzzy feelings? For most of us we do not associate teen and preteen girls, let alone sisters as having a sense of closeness or warmth. When you think of teenage sisters you think of things like, “fighting over clothes, hormones, attitude, shopping.”

I am going to ask you to put away any preconceived notion that you may have when you think of teen sisters and look at the picture of these two sisters together. These two girls are just two of a large family with many siblings. Due to entering the foster system a majority of their siblings now live in different homes, some in foster care and some adopted.

Despite their painful journey the day with these two sisters didn’t bring any other words to mind but “connection, strength and beauty.” When 12 year old Ja’Niya came in the room she appeared quiet and almost aloof. Until her big sister walked in and her shoulders relaxed and her disposition changed. She was at home with her sister, even if their actual houses have had to change due to the painful nature of foster care.

Ja’Niya has stayed connected with her sister, and has found security and love and deep connection with her. You don’t see these two sisters arguing or bickering over who has the better shade of lip gloss or who looks better in that shirt. Unlike sisters raised in more “typical” homes these girls have learned to not be petty over small things, they have learned to embrace and cling to each other. They appreciate the beauty in the other and the strengths that they together would bring a family. They are kind, thoughtful and generous as sisters. They look out for one another and are a safe place for the other in the midst of the uncertainty that comes with being a child in the foster care system.

These beautiful, incredible young ladies are ones who have clung to hope and have stayed connected and strong on their journey. For some families having a sister close in age may be difficult. However, for these girls it has been their foundation and source of strength by having someone who understands them fully, accepts the past and loves unconditionally.

They already have a strong circle of trust and love. What they need are parents and/or siblings to come around and augment that, adding more pillars of support in their foundation. A family who will see their connection, their strength and be grateful to have the chance to keep them together. Parents who can pour into Ja’Niya in these chaotic teen years and build her confidence, help shape her self-image and let her know what a beautiful, capable, strong and resilient young woman she is and will continue to become.

This article was written by Ashley McKinley. the Program Development Director and North Carolina Forever Families Coordinator with Seven Homes Inc.

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