That baby, Jasiah, who is now 15, is still in her grandmother’s care and the two have formed a close relationship. But Azelle said raising children this time around has been a bit more challenging.
“I can’t keep up with her,” she said.
She gets support from her oldest daughter and her three younger children in caring for her granddaughter. But Azelle was excited to discover MCH Family Outreach during a local resource fair for seniors. She began working with Killeen outreach staff who helped her manage her fixed income by connecting her to food pantries, and giving her some support in dealing with her challenges in the home.
During the services, Azelle told Violet Read, director of MCH Family Outreach in Killeen, about her desire to adopt Jasiah. Although she had legal custody of her, she wanted to make it official and give them a “sense of belonging.”
Read went to work and started helping her through the process, researching lawyers in the area. After discovering the costs of adoption were beyond Azelle’s budget, Read and Azelle were both becoming discouraged. However, things began to turn around when they found a local lawyer with experience doing adoptions.
“After hearing her story, he ended up quoting half the price that we had been quoted,” Read said. “She was in tears. I was almost in tears and I don’t cry very easily! But it was a pretty special moment.”
“They have been a blessing to us,” Azelle said. “The program is amazing. It opens doors everywhere. Violet was always on top of it.”
Jasiah’s adoption became official on August 23. This fall, the family also decided to transfer Jasiah into homeschool. MCH case manager Sara Elliot has been helping them with the process. The family is entering a new chapter in their life and feels thankful for the support they have received from MCH Family Outreach.
“This program, I have recommended to – and I kid you not – to at least 20-30 people at church and people I know,” Azelle said. “I know a lot of grandparents who could really just use the helping hand. I know some who just don’t know what to do, where to go, or how to deal with things. This has been an amazing journey. And we’re still on it.”