ATLANTA — Baby Jaxon's kisses mean the world to his mom, Brooke Beechuk.
"I always say he was born to save my life and I think that’s true," Beechuk said.
For mom and son, the road has been difficult.
Beechuk told Channel 2's Linda Stouffer that she got into drugs after high school. When Jaxon was born, both mom and son tested positive for opiates. Her son was placed in state foster care when he was just five days old.
Brooke told Stouffer she faced a choice:
"Was I going to get clean or was I going to let my addiction take over at that point?" she asked.
Luckily, Beechuk got the support she needed.
A local foster placement agency, FaithBridge FosterCare, found a local family for Jaxon. With their support and encouragement, Beechuk entered a tough rehab program, followed court orders and got her life together.
Then, she got her precious baby back.
"My life had turned completely around. I was employable, I wasn’t using," Beechuk said "I had family, I had friends and people that I could trust. And I was a mother. A mother who could take care of her child."
Beechuk said FaithBridge's support in teaching her how to be a mother was key to her recovery.
"There's a better way to live and I’m living it, and I’m living proof," Beechuk said.
Not all victims of addiction and their children are as lucky as Beechuk and Jaxon.
Child care advocates say the opioid crisis is straining the foster care system. Right now, more than 14,000 children are in state care -- more than ever before.
Bob Bruder-Mattson, president of FaithBridge, says that because of a shortage of foster families, vulnerable babies in places like metro Atlanta are often placed in a completely different part of the state.
"We could have kids here sitting in Cobb County and we could have kids placed 300 miles away in south Georgia," Bruder-Mattson said. "So how is a parent going to go through treatment and see their kids?"
Bruder-Mattson says Georgia urgently needs more foster families to help kids in need -- and to help their parents turn it all around -- like it did Beechuk.
"We’re loving people who sometimes don’t feel lovable and I think that grace is transforming," Bruder-Mattson said.
Advocates say you can also help foster families with things like laundry, meals, babysitting, supplies and tutoring.
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