In Pine Bluff, two little girls were almost left up for adoption for the same reason, but a selfless relative stepped in to help.

Carolyn Edwards is retired. She lives in Pine Bluff and has an adult son of her own, but a few years into her retirement two bundles of joy showed up on her doorstep begging for her love.

First came Tiona, her niece's child. Then little Neveah, her cousin's baby.

DHS took them after they had drugs and alcohol in their system. Both were nearly placed up for adoption, at risk of getting lost in the system.  

"DHS just told me they was gonna take her – they wasn't mean It was just you got to go ahead and get her," Edwards said.

Edwards thought for a long while about what she should do.

"I said, 'Girl we got this little ole bitty house, we don't have no room,'" Edwards said.

Ultimately she said yes. Yes to both girls, who now both call her mom.

Why did she do it, though? Even for her, the answer is still unclear, but she attributes her faith and love.

"Only thing I could say is love and support. That's what we all need is love and support and be there through thick and thin," she said. "God made a way, cause I told 'em I didn't want any more" 

Now, Tiona and Ne'Veah's lives are changed forever because someone in their family stepped up.

"No matter what, you have to stand by your family," she said. "They are looking for love just like we are." 

As for her niece and her cousin, Edwards says she hopes they one day turn their lives around. Regardless, these girls are now hers.

"It'd be a different story if they got themselves together and if they wanted to meet them then the kids, I'm not gonna keep them from them if they wanna meet them but they are never leavin me, they are mine," she said.  

According to DHS, 24 percent of Arkansas children who end up in care are adopted by a relative. They say that if more family members intervened when needed, like Carolyn Edwards did, it would lift a burden off the system.