Raising Kenyon/Fight SongNovember 22
Kenyon* came to us in 2013 at the age of 12.
His sisters lived here, and we wanted to keep their family together. The struggles of his past had left him in a state of high anxiety: he easily became agitated and out-of-control. We knew he presented unique challenges. We did not know how much he would teach us.
We saw that if Kenyon couldn’t stay with us and be successful, his future was very bleak. We believe we are partnering with God, teaching Kenyon his value and identity and speaking truth into him. Kenyon has embraced Christianity and grace. We believe Kenyon will change the pattern of his family history, and his future is being transformed.
He went to KAA (Kanakuk) camp and was kicked out two days in.
We knew it was a big risk, but we also knew KAA had the potential to be a great benefit to him. He was sent home, but success came because we learned more about his needs and his root fears.
Outside of a mindset that embraces healthy risk, Kenyon’s trip to KAA was a failure. But as we risk, we have to alter our definition of success: sometimes success from a risk means learning what works and what doesn’t work with one of our kids, or learning what they need in order to be able to help them through situations to a positive outcome.
Kenyon transferred out of Austin Middle School after 3 days.
We learned transitions were a huge difficulty – moving between classes was too stressful and he couldn’t cope. We worked with the school to simplify his schedule, allowing him to feel safe. As he felt safe, he was able to self-regulate, began earning awards for good behavior and was finally able to learn. Kenyon is now doing well at Tascosa High School and on-track to graduate in 2019.
More than any other child , Kenyon has led us into exploration – to see what is behind his struggles, to discover what works and what doesn’t. He is a prime example of how we must mold our program to fit each child’s needs rather than the other way around.
Kenyon left, and came back, left, and came back.
He was placed by CPS with his aunt after 3 years with us, but it wasn’t a good situation – he was left on his own for two weeks, going to school in order to eat. He came home to us. Two years later, he was adopted, again through CPS, but the family wasn’t prepared for his needs and the adoption failed after a few weeks. Again he came home, but each experience brought pain and setbacks.
Kenyon may be adopted yet again, or he might stay with us until he is 18 and beyond. We don’t know what his future holds, but we know we are committed to Kenyon, and we will be there for him, regardless. And we know that as we are there for him, you are there with us. Thank you.
WE FIGHT. Oh how we fight.
Because of Kenyon’s history and his struggles, the fight for and along him is long and hard.
His houseparents enter the fray daily: combating lies he has been told and lies he believes about himself, replacing them with truths; correcting his thought errors and reframing his world view; and working through his difficulties in processing the world around him. They have battled for him as he has returned to us after each failed placement, seeking to restore all that was lost.
We, as a community at Amarillo Children’s Home, have advocated for Kenyon through a difficult court case and for him to be in school, and we have struggled for him to achieve the things your average kid in Amarillo takes in stride: learning to control and calm himself in stressful situations, taking drivers ed, getting and holding down a job. He has taught us sometimes the battle must be one-on-one, and he has led us to the concept of a short-term respite home for times when a kid has more individualized needs and is benefited by a brief stay away from other kids.
We have battled to allow Kenyon normalcy, community and the freedom to be who he was created to be. We have fought for his individuality and to bring out his best.
As we have honed his strengths and grown him in his areas of weakness, he has met every challenge and surpassed it. We have struggled to build his confidence, his independence, his sense of responsibility for his actions and his capability to work through challenging times.
We have grappled with the desire to give in – the perception that the battle is too long and too hard. We must be determined to be “in it” for the long haul, willing to advocate for Kenyon, and all of our kids, to the end. We have realized we must keep in mind who he is, who he is becoming and Who the battle belongs to, or the fight becomes overwhelming.
The fight for Kenyon has kept us conditioned and ready to battle for our other kids. We are on our toes, alert and poised, but we know a left hook can take the best man down. We need your continued prayers and support as we continue to work alongside the Lord to contend for our kids’ futures.
Your financial support is vital to the victories at Amarillo Children’s Home! Will you join the fight? It takes all of us. Your gift provides daily opportunities for our kids to discover their God-given value and be forever transformed. GIVE NOW! The fight continues!
*name has been changed