A fourth-grade teacher adopted her most difficult student and his baby brother after forming an unlikely bond that turned the young boy's life around.
Chelsea Haley began working in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for nonprofit organization Teach For America in 2013, CNN reported.
The nonprofit seeks to "strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence," according to its mission statement, the Daily Mail reports.
During her time there, she met Jerome Robinson.
"At certain points, his behavior got so bad, I thought, 'I can't do this anymore. I can't be a teacher,'" Haley told CNN, admitting that she was not planning on adopting Jerome or his little brother Jace.
"I never thought I'd be a single mom at age 24, especially of two boys, one of which was my 12-year-old student. And the other one who was only a year-and-a-half," Haley admitted.
Jerome and Jace spent most nights with their grandparents and some time with their mother. The family lived in poverty and was mourning the death of two other family members.
"It was really hard on [Jerome's mother] after she lost her husband," Haley said, adding that the family lost a little sister, as well. "It was just a combination of tragedy coupled with the other social situations you face when you live in poverty."
The fourth-grader was struggling in school, and teachers were having difficulty controlling his behavior, according to Haley. She says she was the only one who could get through to the boy.
In 2015, Haley was closing in on her end time with the school when the principal suggested that she stick around "for Jerome." She decided to sign up for a third year as a special education teacher.
One night, Haley said she had a dream in which she felt as if God was telling her that she was destined to become Jerome's mother. She laughed about it, and went back to sleep.
But the following day at school, Haley said she felt very peaceful while she sat with Jerome as he took an exam.
"He just asked me if he could live with me," Haley remembered. "I told him I had been feeling the same thing."
Haley went to have dinner with the boys and their mother the next day. Haley said she was planning on moving back to Georgia at the end of her third year at the school.
"You can go back," the mother said to Haley. "But I want you to take Jerome and Jace with you."
Haley filed the paperwork to become Jerome and Jace's legal guardian. She also pulled money out of her retirement plan to place a down payment on a house.
The teacher said Jerome "has not gotten any suspensions or anything, which is a huge improvement from life in Louisiana."
"He used to fail all of his classes and just didn't care," said Haley, who is now teaching in Georgia. "Now he has made honor roll both quarters of his eighth-grade year so far."
"I always knew I wanted to be a mom and I wouldn't trade this for anything," Haley added.
Haley took to Facebook on Feb. 8 to thank everyone who supported her during her transition into parenthood:
Any and all money will go straight to getting Jace back to his preschool in the Fall and the remainder immediately to a college savings account for both boys.
I cannot even count the number of nights I have laid in my bed and shed tears (like, bawling, for real) to God to provide relief and financial support for my boys. For those of you who know me, you know all I have goes to my boys. Heck, I wear the same three pairs of shoes for every occasion.
When God told me I would be Jerome's mom, He also told me, 'It was going to be okay. You need to trust Me.' I have held on to those words of Hope for over two years and promised to be faithful, even when it hurt. I want to thank everyone in advance for everything you are doing and will do for my boys. We are so Blessed by you all. I know their birth mother will be moved when we call her with the news.