Chelsea Haley was teaching at a Baton Rouge elementary school in 2015 when, she says, God told her in a dream she was destined to adopt one of her most difficult students.
She laughed, she told CNN in a story posted this week on the news network's website.
But that moment was the first in a chain of events that led Haley, 24 at the time, to become a single parent to Jerome Robinson, 12, and his younger brother, Jace.
"At certain points, his behavior got so bad," Haley told CNN, "I thought, 'I can't do this anymore. I can't be a teacher.'"
Haley, then with Teach for America, had managed to gain the trust of Jerome, a tough boy living in poverty and without a stable home. The day after Haley's dream, he asked her if he could live with her.
The following day, his birth mother asked the same thing, requesting that Jace also join Haley's budding family. Haley filed papers for permanent custody of Jerome in December 2015. Later she filed papers to adopt Jace as well.
The three now live in suburban Atlanta, where the boys are thriving, Haley told CNN.