Chosen Stories
31 May 2024

Malika and Nessa Story

Chosen - Adoption | Foster & Orphan Care Outreach | Mentoring

In the heart of Tennessee, there is a challenge you likely aren’t even aware of. A large population of at-risk youths have no place to call home. Instead, home is wherever there is space for the night. Our program, Adaya, meaning “God’s Jewels,” is made up of a team of individuals fighting to provide these youth with hope amidst the darkness of uncertainty. This program faces incredible challenges as most of these kids have been “in the system” for a while and struggle with big behaviors and other challenges that make them hard to place in a family or group setting. But at Chosen, we believe that every child is precious, deserving of love, and capable of healing, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

One of the Care Managers working with these youth is Erik. He recently started working with two young ladies and shared, “The challenge has been that, within the context of the program in Tennessee, we might only have a half-dozen sessions before a new placement occurs, and whatever supportive benefit was going to happen needed to have happened. You cannot rush trust or force relationships. Time – the very thing most needed in this context – is the one thing we don’t have”.

His initial encounters with Malika and Nessa were marked by skepticism and resistance, as is often the case when strangers enter lives scarred by past disappointments. All the signs of self-protection were there: folded arms, minimalistic responses, sharp, unwelcoming tone, inattention, sighs, and rolled eyes. Their mouths never said it, but their actions communicated clearly: “stop prying, I don’t want to be doing this. Please take the hint and go away.”

Undeterred by the barriers of mistrust and with patience as his guide, Erik persisted in the conversations – not in digging up details to conduct an assessment or to identify coaching goals – but a genuine curiosity about their story, about them – whatever story it was that they wanted to share. That first meeting ended with little promise. But there is so much power in showing up.

When Erik showed up to meet with the girls a second time, something remarkable unfolded. Walls crumbled, and conversations flowed freely, unearthing layers of identity, wounds, and aspirations buried beneath layers of self-preservation. What began as guarded exchanges blossomed into willingness on their part to accept and acknowledge pieces of their painful pasts and a desire to challenge to some of their irrational beliefs, inconsistencies, and unhealthy patterns.

Malika and Nessa are precious and worth fighting for. As we reflect on their journey, we are reminded that our support goes beyond mere interventions; it fosters moments of connection that have the power to change lives. Your generosity fuels these moments, turning skepticism into trust, resistance into resilience, and despair into hope.

Chosen Walks Alongside the Caregivers 


Every year, Chosen helps hundreds of adoptive families build bonds of trust. And we’re looking for partners to help heal their heartbreak. Your gift gives families the assurance they need to provide attachment and permanency for kids who desperately need it.

Looking for help? Get started here.

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* Names have been changed

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