Sunday, January 20, 2008

What We Do and Why We Do It

I don't believe I have ever done an actual post on this subject, so here goes! If you have known me for any amount of time, or have been reading my blog for even a month, then you must have noticed some random pictures of teenagers thrown into posts here and there. (For privacy reasons, those pictures have been removed.) And you must have been thinking, she is too young to be their mother! Who are those kids? The simple answer is that those kids are a pain in my neck and a piece of my heart. But let me start with how those kids became a part of my life.

When I was in college, for a short while I was part of a campus ministry called Aggies For Christ. Over school breaks, groups of Aggies would head out to children's homes to do week long mission trips. I loved going on those trips! They remain some of my favorite college memories. On one particular trip to Tipton Children's Home in Oklahoma, I got to know the houseparents that I was staying with, and the idea to houseparent started growing in my heart.

Fast forward three years. Boss and I had only been married for two years, we had already moved two different times, and Boss was working on his second career. He was in retail when we married, and after a year of never seeing one another and our first baby on the way, Boss decided to get his emergency teachers certification and jump into the more family friendly world of education. Boss was an excellent teacher, but he was unhappy in the particular work environment he currently found himself in, so we were once more searching for our calling in this life. I timidly broached the subject of houseparenting, and surprisingly Boss jumped on board. We prayed about the idea, and eventually wound up applying at a children's home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We served there for a year and a half.

There were many great things about our time in Albuquerque. Boss did not work outside of the home, so for eighteen months, our little family spent a lot of time together! That was the very best part. We made wonderful friendships with the other houseparents we served with, and we able to grow as a family during that time. While there, we had a total of 15 children walk through our doors. Some of them were there because their parents were ill. Others were there because their parents were in prison. And sadly, some kids were there because their parents were simply too busy with their own lives and relationships to take care of them. I am not sure we truly changed the lives of any of the kids we served during that time, but we did clothe them, feed them, show them what a healthy family was supposed to look like, and most importantly, we were able to introduce them to the love of Jesus. Seeds were planted, and I am trusting that the Father will continue to work in their lives. It was a wonderful time in our lives, however, things started to change in the staffing at ACCH, and for many reasons we decided it was time to move on.

This picture is of Boss and another house dad with some of the brothers that were in our care.

In February of 2007, we moved our family to Ohio, so that we could be close to family. I knew that my parents would follow, and I wanted my children to grow up with their cousins, and seasons, and all that Ohio had to offer. I love living here, and I am so glad that we made this choice. For our first six months here, Boss was back in retail, and his frustrations of working for the world came back stronger than ever. I, too, was struggling. I loved raising my daughters, but I missed my days of working at the children's home. However, our family was tired of moving, and we wanted to find a place to belong. We began praying earnestly that God would lead us home. In August of 2007, a friend from church told us about a children's home 45 minutes from where we were currently living, so we decided to interview. On the day that we interviewed, the Christian school on campus also offered Boss the position of Athletic Director at the school there. His dream job. I have only seen my husband cry five times in almost five years of marriage. The fifth time he cried was the day we accepted the position at Mid Western Children's Home. It seemed that every choice we had made in our marriage had led up to this opportunity. We felt so blessed, and we knew that God was answeing our prayers.

So, here we are. We live in a seven bedroom, four bathroom home on one hundred plus acres. My girls love growing up in the country, and my husband loves his role as Athletic Director. As for me, I am loving being a mama. My family is just like any other family, only at this time we have four teenage girls who are living with us. It is not always easy, and there are often times that my tiny daughters hear things I wish they did not have to hear. However, my daughters also have compassion and understanding that is beyond their years, because of the girls that live with us. My daughters think that all families are made up of different races, and they are learning daily about making good choices. I am so proud of who my children are becoming.

The girls I work with are very special young ladies. I learn something from each one of them, and I hope that they learn something from me. As I stated earlier, they are often a pain in my neck, but they also each hold a piece of my heart. In less than five years of marriage, Boss and I have had exactly 20 kids walk through our doors (not counting our own two), and we are forever changed because of each one. I am not sure how long we will continue to do this work, but I hope it is for a very long time.

1 comment:

Mob said...

What a wonderful story. What a great example of how to truly follow Gods leading for your life. I'm sure you are planting plenty of seeds that will be harvested by someone else later.