Mom made a brave choice to trust Safe Families almost six years ago.
Sometimes, I think it was for me. Either way, it has been a bridge for two families that never would have been crossed without it. A very, very, adventurous bridge.
A Story of Two Women From Chicago – One North, One West, And What Happened When Their Lives Intersected.
She showed up in our driveway at around three one toasty afternoon in July. She was in the backseat of a Safe Families’ staff member’s maroon Ford Focus. They were headed home after a long day of taking calls and finding homes for those whose lives were not going the way they had planned. Thankfully, our home was in the direction of her return home which allowed her to drop off our new “teacher” on her way.
We excitedly greeted the 18 month-old brown butterball who was quite full of herself (in an awesome way). We unpacked her diaper bag while she held on tight to her purple sippy cup – full of orange Fanta soda. My judgmental mind decided to override my heart of love. What was her mom thinking pouring that soda pop in her one-and-a-half year old’s cup?! A couple of years later, while pursuing my Master of Social Work degree, I would discover why. Sometimes, it’s the only drink there is, or all that there’s money for, or all that the corner store carries – the only one in walking distance from their apartment. What I also didn’t know is that her mom, unlike myself, actually shared everything she had with this little gift of hers – including her friend’s couch that she had been sleeping on for the past several months. And, while she probably loved her orange Fanta, she loved her daughter more, and knew that everything she has belonged to her as well. Touché.
Our previous four hostings were not like this one. I don’t think those moms were as devoted as this mom. That first night we called mom to assure her that her daughter was being well-squished by my own three girls. I asked her if there was anything else we needed to know about her precious little peanut and to plan a visit. She expressed that this was the hardest thing she’s ever done in her life – giving up her firstborn to a stranger. We bonded. I liked her. A lot. She was a hard worker who deeply loved her daughter.
Mom had seen the kids in her neighborhood often suspended from school or being disrespectful to their parents. She also saw kids doing drugs and getting into trouble well before high school. She did not want her daughter learning this behavior as she grew up. She was willing to risk jumping into the unchartered waters of Safe Families and utilize a Host Family outside of her neighborhood to avoid the trappings of her surroundings. Little did she know, my kids weren’t poster children, either…
by Kimi O.
Kimi has been a part of Safe Families for Children years serving in various roles including Host Family, Family Coach, and so much more.
If you would like to submit your story to be featured on our blog, please visit Tell Your Story.