I’ve already shared Part 1 of this story with you, but there’s more…
The call came at 9:25 AM. Was I in town? Could I come talk to a young mother? Yes… and yes.
So began my journey down a new path. I was scared.
But this time the story isn’t about me.
It’s about her.
Arriving at the women’s shelter, I met briefly with the director. Krystal (not her real name, of course) had arrived a few days before. She needed to work, but there was no one to care for her young son. Yet if she didn’t find a job – and stability – she was on a path to lose custody of her little boy. She was in a seemingly endless cycle of “impossible” that, not surprisingly, began many years before when she was her son’s age. It had continued as, for the next two decades she was abused – both in and out of foster care – eventually aging out of the system and left to fend for herself.
And things went downhill from there…
But now, five years later, she was ready to talk to someone about Safe Families for Children.
I met Krystal and young Jason, a rambunctious little guy with a bright smile and dancing eyes. While he played on the playground nearby, I sat quietly as the scared, twenty-something young mother shared her present reality, sobbing in frustration over the lifelong grip of hard times. There was no blame, only a Mama Bear kind of protection in her voice… and an eternal love on her face as she spoke of wanting the best for her son.
And there was courage.
I definitely saw courage.
Krystal had just learned about Safe Families, and it sounded too good to be true. Was there really a Christian family willing to provide short-term care for her son so she could get a job and actually afford a place to live? Would they really pay for all of his expenses – just because they cared? And she really wouldn’t have to give up custody? … because that was non-negotiable.
I assured her those families did exist, had passed the necessary background checks and home inspections… and the perfect one was just waiting to open their home to Jason – if that was her choice.
She said she was scared. Jason had never spent longer than a weekend with anyone besides her. They had been through some really hard times together, but she had assured him she would always be there for him. If she sent him to a safe family, would he think she had lied? Would he understand it was really only temporary?
She watched a video on the Safe Families website and then, with resolve in her voice and tears on her cheeks, she bravely made her choice.
She would accept the offer of biblical hospitality from strangers.
She would relinquish guardianship temporarily in order to break the cycle. Her child would not become another tragic statistic in an already overcrowded, overburdened foster care system. She would keep her family together.
I made the call to the Safe Families coordinator. The following day she met Krystal and Jason, and a brave little boy was taken to a host family where he was welcomed by two parents, their four children, and a variety of farm animals. He’s in Little Boy Heaven! The first day, he bottle-fed a baby calf – and talked to his mother on the phone twice.
Days later, Krystal had found a job and started working. Jason came “home” and spent the weekend with her. Sending him back yesterday was harder on both of them than the first time, but they’ll be fine. When I saw how Jason’s face broke into a smile and watched him run across the room to hug his host Dad at our meeting place, I knew he was in good hands.
As for Krystal, she has a long road ahead of her, but God is faithful, and the roadblocks are already being dismantled one by one. An anonymous donor learned of the young mother’s courage and determination to break the generational cycle – and paid off a several hundred dollar balance that would have kept Krystal from applying for low-income housing. The women’s shelter, seeing Krystal’s determination, will extend her stay beyond the 45-day limit as long as she follows their rules, keeps working, and starts saving money.
For Krystal, scared is the new brave. She’s pushing forward. Her sacrifice is great, but the future for Krystal and her son is bright with hope.
I’m cheering her on!
Will you join me?
I’ll be joining:
Testimony Tuesday at Holly Barrett
Playdates with God at The Wellspring
Unite at Rich Faith Rising
Titus 2 Tuesday at Cornerstone Confessions
#TellHisStory at Jennifer Dukes Lee