A Better Life
Changing the ending for yourself and your kids
I showed up on the doorstep of Union Cottage a scared 11-year-old. At the door were two House Parents and six boys ranging from age 9 to 17 staring me in the face ready to welcome me.
When I was taken from my birth mother’s house, I went into an emergency shelter. Kids are only supposed to be there 60 days. I was there 6 months. Nobody wanted me at that time. I was acting out. I was not that desirable, cute little baby… but Amarillo Children’s Home gave me a chance.
Right after I arrived I was taken down to the basement of the administration building to get clothes. Becky was the person who, at that time, provided everybody with clothes. She’s pretty much an angel – one of the kindest women I’ve ever met. She walked me through the basement and let me pick out some things. I had shown up with only what I had on my back. I started to let my guard down a little right there in that basement.
Amarillo Children’s Home builds family by the people they put in place here… they hire House Parents, administration and staff who want to make you part of their family – who teach you, nurture you and give you the structure they would provide their own kids.
I’m 34 now, and I honestly don’t have any idea where I would be without Amarillo Children’s Home – probably along the same lines as the place I was taken from – an emotionally and physically abusive parental relationship full of neglect. If ACH hadn’t stepped into my story, taken care of me and shown me a different way… well, you grow into what you’re around.
Without ACH, I would have probably fallen into that same pattern with my kids. But the people here showed me you can discipline and love, and you can do these things without yelling, being physically abusive or being neglectful. I have two kids, Zoey – who is two and a handful, and Oliver. My favorite thing to do with Oliver is sleep – he’s two months old. With Zoey, we do things like play ring-around-the-rosie until I’m too dizzy to walk. I really enjoy teaching her new words and new dance moves. It’s really cool to see her learn things and get so excited.
Like me, ACH kids come from the community and go back into the community after they leave. We all want strong, independent kids who grow up to be strong, independent adults who do positive things for the world around them. That’s what these kids can do.
Because of people like you – donors who have given to Amarillo Children’s Home – I am able to live a better life. I have an amazing wife I couldn’t have gotten without the lessons I learned and the structure and resources which were given to me by ACH. I wouldn’t be a good Dad to two amazing kids. I wouldn’t have this life without the generosity of this community.
I have a favorite memory from probably the 3rd or 4th day after I got to Amarillo Children’s Home. It’s a scary time for any kid. Everything is new. We were sitting down to eat that night – we had all made spaghetti. The houseparents had a young daughter – probably two or three. She just grabbed a handful of spaghetti and threw it at one of the kids. I was not expecting that. Everybody paused for a second; then an all-out food fight broke loose! Now, I wouldn’t recommend this, because they will make you clean it up, for sure! But that situation sticks out in my mind because it was the first time I ever felt safe – the first time I didn’t fear the reaction but felt safe and comfortable with a family.