Aya and her younger sisters Tala and Sarah were originally born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. In 2004, the girls were brought to the U.S. by their mother. However, due to her severe mental illness, Aya and her sisters were subjected to neglect, homelessness, mental and physical abuse. After the girls were taken into custody. Aya was separated from her sisters for 2 years and spent most of her time in between fosters homes. When Aya turned 15, she desperately wanted to be reunited with her sisters, but was in danger of aging out of the system. And then the impossible happened: Amy and David, found the girls. Through Barker’s Project Wait No Longer (PWNL) adoption program, David and Amy were able to adopt all 3 of the girls, at ages 15, 13 and 11. Despite their previous circumstance, Aya, Tala and Sarah finally had a home, and were surrounded by love and a stable family life where they were all together.
“Barker is what made my life a possibility. Without them, my story would’ve been nothing. Without my parent’s love and support, I never would have imagined going to college, much more pursuing a Doctorate in Education. Barker gave me the opportunity to meet the love of my life in seminary. And now we’re having a baby! I couldn’t be more grateful,” says Aya.
The Rhodes family have generously given their time to speak with prospective families and have discussed their story and answered questions at many PWNL Information Meetings and foster care adoption trainings, known as Pre-Adoption Training. In addition, Aya shared her story at the 2022 Barker Adoption Foundation Annual Meeting, in front of 137 attendees, something that would terrify most adults significantly older than her 27 years. She was an inspiration to all attending, and continues to be that to all who meet her. Thank you Aya, Tala, Sarah, David and Amy for all that you do to support Barker.