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Invaluable Life Lessons From Prodigal Foster Daughter

Invaluable Life Lessons From Prodigal Foster Daughter
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Saturday, 05 May 2018 07:05 AM Current | Bio | Archive

One might call the life story of Mercedes Russaw the "Prodigal Foster Daughter."

Adoption.com relates her experience. It's both cautionary and uplifting. Mercedes was abandoned by her drug-addicted and trick-turning mother at age 2 and a half.

She and her younger brother was left with a "friend" while "mom" vamoosed.

Mercedes was fortunate, but didn’t know it. She was adopted by Patricia and Merle Woods, experienced foster parents. Their mistake was letting Mercedes biological mother — who had another seven children, all placed in foster care — drift in and out of Mercedes’ life.

A bad influence is still a bad influence regardless of its DNA.

The Woods knew Mercedes was in danger of wandering down the path her mother took and they did their best to shelter her, but when she was 18, Mercedes abandoned the Woods and went to live in a homeless shelter. This was only an intermediate stop in her downward spiral.

The bottom came when she moved back in with the woman who abandoned her.

She spent three years there and had a son out of wedlock.

It gradually dawned on Mercedes that the years she felt "trapped" with the Woods were in reality the best years of her life. That marked the beginning of her turnaround.

Today she is a member of the One Community Church in Plano, Texas. The church makes caring for children a central part of its mission in the body of Christ.

Mercedes was introduced to the adoption ministry in 2016.

Now she is a mentor to 15 year olds who are in the foster care system in Collin County, Texas. Her goal in the program is both achievable and practical. She told Adoption.com, "If I can be someone who influences a child to not harm themselves, or to believe they still have a purpose left in the world, that’s what I want to do."

Mercedes feels that as someone with costly, firsthand experience of the foster system and the mistakes foster children can make, she is uniquely positioned to relate to these children. She works over the long term with both the child and the foster parents to "identify needs that otherwise may not come to light."

Her own son is urging Mercedes to consider becoming a foster parent and possibly adopting, too, and she hasn’t ruled that out. But right now "she is focused on helping the kids [with whom] she’s currently working."

Let’s hope they listen and learn from Mercedes’ mistakes.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

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Mercedes Russaw feels that as someone with costly, firsthand experience of the foster system and the mistakes foster children can make, she is uniquely positioned to relate to children.
adoption, foster, ministry
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2018-05-05
Saturday, 05 May 2018 07:05 AM
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