Shore Story: Foster kids need your support

This is part of the series Shore Stories: Life Along the Lakeshore, columns by local and former residents about their lives. 

I was  born in Suffolk, Virginia. At 2 years old, myself and my two brothers were taken away from a mom and dad who could not raise us. They did not have the cognitive ability to really know what the needs of growing children would be. They also did not have the financial stability that we needed and did not make our needs a priority for a bunch of different reasons.

Thankfully a wonderful angel called Child Protective Services to tell them there were three children home alone in the middle of the night. So a police officer and a social worker came to our home. The social worker took us home for the night and the next morning we were placed in a foster home that thankfully became our forever home a few years later. My foster mom said that when we came to her the morning of Dec. 5, we were hungry, dirty, and tired. I came with a head full of lice; one brother came with a distended stomach; my other brother came with a blanket on as a diaper.

Can I ask you for one minute to put yourselves in my foster parents shoes? One day they had no kids, and the next they had kids who needed so much both physically and mentally! 

The VandeVusse family adopted Jennifer Becksvoort and her siblings.


Because of the grace of God, we were handed to the best parents who lived in a community that wrapped their arms around all of us! The community showed up with all of the things that my brothers and I needed. 

They showed up with toys, clothes, and food.

I was only 2 when we were taken away, and I can honestly say that the biggest “memory” I have of moving to my parents house and in that community is the memory of feeling loved. We were a new family of five that were so very loved. 

Our foster parents, Robert and Barbara VandeVusse, adopted us. As soon as we  were adopted, we moved to Michigan where my dad grew up, so that we could be close to family. There is SO MUCH MORE to this story, but in my own life, I have chosen to focus this year on the needs of the foster children when they come to their foster homes with next to nothing.

It's my birthday month! My actual birthday is Feb. 23 so between now and then I would like to invite everyone to participate in something SO near and dear to my heart! 


I am partnering with a nonprofit right here in Zeeland that is called Mosaic Foster and Adoptive Ministry.

Mosaic is a clothing co-op for foster children. Foster children can come and pick out any amount of new or gently used clothing that they need, and there is no limit as to how many times they can visit the co-op. 

Mosaic also collects new or gently used toys, backpacks, books, blankets, shoes and winter coats and snow pants. 

Mosaic Foster and Adoptive Ministry is a clothing co-op for foster children. Foster children can come and pick out any amount of new or gently used clothing that they need.
Mosaic Foster and Adoptive Ministry is a clothing co-op for foster children. Foster children can come and pick out any amount of new or gently used clothing that they need.

What I would love to do with YOU is collect new and gently used items to bring to the co-op!

All you have to do is bring your donations to The Salon Co. At 119 E. Main St. in Zeeland.

I will bring them to Mosiac for you on Feb. 23! 

My dream is that the back room of the salon is FULL of donations! How cool would that be?!  

Mosaic would also benefit from monetary donations! Half of Mosaic’s budget goes to the rent of the space they are in, so if you are feeling led to help in a financial way they would love to accept checks specifically to help cover their rent! Please make sure to write in the memo line of the check that you would like your check to help with rent. Checks can be made to: Mosaic Foster and Adoptive Ministry. I will personally deliver these checks! You will also benefit from this donation being a tax write off!

Mosaic also has a need for donated gift cards, so middle- and high school-aged children can shop for clothes. Mosaic prefers gift cards come from Meijer, Walmart, Target, or TJ MAX. I will personally deliver these gift cards for you.

Tips for kids

I am going to personally use 100% of my cash tips this month to purchase gift cards for teens to be able to shop for clothes.

I don’t want people to underestimate the power foster parents, adoptive parents, grandparents, and the community have in the lives of children who have once experienced incredible trauma and such a traumatic loss like the loss of their biological family and community they were once part of. 

Because of fetal alcohol syndrome, genetics and trauma all three of us had struggles. One of our biggest struggles was cognitively being able to get through school! 

I never had amazing grades, but my parents knew from the moment I was in their lives that I was going to be a hairdresser. 

My mom would always say to me, “Jennifer, don’t worry about your grades, it is so clear that God has created you to be a hairdresser and you have everything it takes to be a great one!” 

Here is a photo of myself as a foster child with a dear friend who would keep a comb in his shirt pocket and pick me up after church every Sunday and allow me to comb his hair. I have always loved doing hair!

Being blessed with parents who could see our strengths and not worry about our struggles, parents who could help to pave the path that would lead us to the exact plan that God had for us was a life-changing blessing that stopped generational trauma and created  a life full of blessing and healing.

Ten years ago my mom, who has always believed in me, helped me to buy The Salon Co. 

I have no doubt that my mom and dad  were meant to be our parents.

Please help me overwhelm Mosaic foster and adoptive ministries with SO MUCH LOVE for our foster kids that live right here in YOUR community! Thank you to all of you who help in celebrating my birthday month by giving back to these beautiful children who need all the love and support they can get in such a hard and scary time in their lives!

Jennifer grew up in Holland but for the past 11 years has lived in Zeeland with her family. She enjoys spending time with her children, friends, and family on her down time. She loves to listen to music and enjoys spending time outside when the weather is nice. She has been a hairdresser for 25 years and through that feels like she has lived out exactly who God has called her to be.
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