COVID-19 presents adoption challenges as sisters reunite in their forever home

Mid-South family finalizes adoption during COVID-19 pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - At just 18 and 16 years old, Jada and Jamaya, who are sisters, have been through a lot.

"Once upon a time, me and my sister we were separated for a couple of years and we didn't know if we were going to be put back together,” said Jada.

Like many children who enter the foster care system, Jada and Jamaya’s future was uncertain. Both spent about eight years in the foster care system.

But in 2017, Laquita Carpenter stepped in and became Jada's foster mom. Carpenter's biological daughter was Jada's mentor through Youth Villages.

"I asked God if this was for me to let me help. I actually said let me help one and then Jamaya came along and then I said okay, Lord, you sent me two,” said Carpenter.

At first, Carpenter didn’t know about Jamaya, but when she heard Jada had a biological sister in foster care she knew what she had to do.

"We have to put them back together because I have three sisters and we’re really close so I said we have to put them back together,” said Carpenter.

And put them back together she did.

Last week, Carpenter officially adopted the sisters days before Jada’s 18th birthday.

"Once that youth becomes a teenager that chance of being adopted it decreases significantly,” said Youth Villages Adoption Specialist Annette Israel.

The COVID-19 pandemic also didn’t help the process. It pushed back the adoption for several weeks and even closed Chancery Court.

With the help of attorneys and a Shelby County judge, this adoption among others was finalized that day.

Through it all Jada, Jamaya and Ms. Carpenter have turned to their faith and encourage others to do the same.

“Stay strong and have faith and keep going," said Jada. “Keep pushing no matter what. There’s better days coming. Everybody has their dark days, but there’s light at the end.”

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