I am the mother of five boys that range in age from four to thirteen. There is plenty of wrestling, energy, and chaos in our home. However, there are also moments when everyone is getting along, things are peaceful, and I feel my heart overflowing with joy and gratitude for each of my sons.
It was during one of these peaceful moments that I felt God calling me to provide a home for kids in need. Earlier that week I had taken the PA child abuse mandated reporter training and my heart was grieved for all the kids that have unstable or unsafe living situations. A few weeks later I found out about a Christian ministry called Safe Families. Safe Families is part of Bethany Christian Services and its mission is to provide support to families in crisis. In our experience so far, it has been single mothers who love their children but have no support system to help them during a trial such as surgery, drug rehabilitation, or escaping an abusive partner. The goal of Safe Families is to keep children out of foster care, who don’t belong there, by supporting the parents in crisis until they are able to once again bring their kids back home.
We hosted our first child in March right as everything was shutting down for COVID-19. I will admit it was a stressful time to take on the enormous responsibility of caring for a two-year-old girl. I pleaded daily with God to give me enough grace for the day. God answered my prayers! Even though the boys weren’t always thrilled about the way she changed our home life, they learned valuable lessons about serving others with our time and sharing toys even though they might be broken in the process. There were also times when she made our whole family laugh with her two-year-old antics!
In July we hosted a three-year-old boy. He and my son instantly acted like siblings (laughing one minute and fighting the next.) It is difficult when taking on the responsibility of someone else’s child to determine appropriate rules and boundaries. There were some challenging behavior patterns demonstrated by the little boy, but when I met with the social worker and she explained his home situation, God filled my heart with love and extra grace for him. Once again I was very aware of my dependence on God, and once again God was faithful.
Being involved in Safe Families has been both a challenge and a blessing for our family. This is one way that we have chosen to act out our pro-life convictions. Our involvement in Safe Families is our way of being faithful to God’s calling to love our neighbor and sacrifice our time, comfort, and money for His glory.