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Meet Leslie Nelson

Meet Leslie Nelson

 Say yes to yes…that was the motto that our family took on during our move to The Woodlands a few years ago. Despite being sad about leaving, we were committed to quickly putting down new roots. With each new volunteer opportunity, Montgomery County truly started to feel like home. But something was missing…
 
A familiar longing that I thought I had managed to extinguish years prior came back into my heart — I wanted us to be a foster/adoptive family. However, the timing never seemed quite right. With three teenage boys quickly approaching young adulthood, the desire to welcome a new child into our home and hearts became so strong that I knew I had to do two things:

1. Pray.
2. Ask my husband, Gil, if he too felt this calling.
 
The first thing was easy, the second…not so much. I started the conversation, convinced that my husband would reject the idea. I was wrong. After a long, thoughtful pause my husband simply looked at me and said “Say yes to yes.” Unknown to me, the Lord had placed the same desire to foster/adopt on his heart as well.   
 
Our church provided us with pamphlets for local agencies, and quickly saying yes to yes took on a life of its own as we went through the licensing process.  
 
Within two days of becoming licensed, we got THE call. A sweet, 6 year old little girl needed a new home and family. Would we be able to take her in? YES! The next days were a blur as we readied her room and our hearts to start loving this precious child. The day had arrived to meet and bring Elize home. On the drive there, “Rescue Story” by Zach Williams came on the radio. Every lyric of that song resonated in my soul, and I knew that this moment’s decision to say yes had been God-given and God-ordained. After completing placement paperwork and learning some of what our daughter had been through, we excitedly rounded the corner into the room where Elize sat playing. She looked up at us and, with the cutest and squeakiest little voice, she asked us one simple question, “Are you going to be my new family?”  To which we, of course, replied, “Yes!”
 
It’s been over two years since that day, and saying yes to yes has looked very different.  It isn’t spoken as much as it is demonstrated. It’s seen in the times that we’ve stopped everything to listen to our daughter remember a painful or scary memory from her past. Saying yes has meant spending countless hours teaching Elize the reading and literacy skills she hadn’t received before coming into our home. Saying yes has meant comforting her after a nightmare to establish the trust that is necessary for a healthy parent-child relationship. Saying yes has meant watching our sons grow in their faith while they learned how to patiently care for their new little sister, even if it meant not having as much individual time with their mom and dad. Most importantly, saying yes has meant teaching our daughter to pray to a loving, Heavenly Father while she wondered how it could be part of His plan for her to endure so much loss and pain in her young life. 
 
Saying yes is hard. Loving a child that has come from trauma and neglect is also very hard.  Elize asks why her family was so broken. We tell her we don’t know and then pray for them.  She asks why we’re so different. We tell her about our love for the Lord and each other. She enjoys hearing stories we tell about the foster care classes we have attended and asks if her family can go too so that they can learn how to talk without cursing and hitting.  
 
Elize is beginning to understand and heal from the finality of her mother’s death. Additionally, she can see why she needed to be removed from her dad as his lifestyle couldn't possibly provide the nurturing environment where she needed to grow. Recently, she has been able to visit with her half-siblings, and new, yet cautious, relationships are forming as our family learns how to bridge the gap between her birth family and ours. Most days now are pretty ordinary. Elize has settled into a routine filled with school, church, cheerleading, and friends. She now enjoys reading too! The trauma she experienced in her early life will never disappear. However, the daily love and support she receives from us, her case worker, and countless teachers and counselors have allowed her to finally rest in the permanence of her forever family…and to think that it all started when God asked and a family simply said yes!
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