The Divine Work Of RedemptionNovember 22
We are incredibly proud of the work we do with foster kids. We are proud of our mission statement and our team, the steps we take to accomplish that mission statement and the people working along-side us. We are excited about what goes on at Amarillo Children’s Home and the process of redemption that daily takes place here.
But we cannot serve our children well if we don’t take time to remember where they have come from and why they are here – if we don’t recognize they are with us as a direct result of great loss.
Perhaps you remember going to camp as a child, or spending the night at a friend’s or relative’s house for the first time – feeling unsettled, out-of-place, missing your home and your bed and your family… What our kids experience is similar to that – only amplified.
Leah* came to us at the beginning of the school year – an adorable 8-year-old – confused, sad, lonely and nervous. She had not anticipated being removed from her family, had not been eagerly awaiting an exciting sleepover. Instead, everything she knew was, suddenly and without warning, gone. When she arrived at ACH, she was driven onto a campus full of houses, introduced to new people she would live with as family and given a new room, a new bed, new clothes – things we consider wonderful, but to her were strange and different and scary.
The day was overwhelming. She tried so hard to be brave, and she managed to hold it together… until bedtime. Alone in a strange bed in a strange room, surrounded by people she did not yet know or trust, all the emotions came rushing in. She wept uncontrollably, unable to sleep. She missed her mom. She missed her family. She felt alone… and afraid… and alone.
It was emotionally difficult for her houseparent, Jennie Dunn, to go to bed, knowing the pain Leah was experiencing. But Jennie, a former foster-kid and ACH kid herself, knew there was nothing to be done but to face the ache.
Jennie recruited Irena*, a seventh grader in the home, to spend the night in Leah’s room so she wouldn’t have to be alone. A natural care-giver, Irena was a comforting presence. She told Leah all about ACH. She told Leah the people here were nice, and everyone in the home was glad to have her here. She told Leah they loved her.
Night after night, the weeping continued. Leah received a doll which she clung to as she wept. Gradually, the weeping time grew shorter, and Leah began to fall asleep more easily, to sleep more peacefully, safe in her new bed.
As we work out our mission statement in Leah’s life, we know beauty will grow from her ashes. We know the pain and loss will not be erased, but the safety and security she experiences here combined with the intentional calling out of who she is will result in her thriving and growing in wonderful ways. We can glimpse these things because we have seen it with our other kids, but to Leah, the future still looks uncertain and unclear.
While ACH only exists because of horrible loss, we believe that, as we are God’s hands at work restoring our kids’ identities, their great loss will be powerfully redeemed and their impact will be even greater because they have overcome.
Thank you for believing with us and for choosing to take part in this divine work of redemption at Amarillo Children’s Home.
*names have been changed