The day was a Thursday, May 18th to be exact, as went along performing our daily activities without any knowledge of what the day would bring. However, within hours we would have an opportunity to serve and love another family on the brink of crisis.
Around 10am, Erin, who had heard of Safe Families for Children, made her way to our office. Her story was not unlike many we have heard before, and yet it was unique, heartbreaking, and tragic. This mother of a precious two-month-old little boy had realized she could no longer continue down the same path and needed to find support, forgiveness, and restoration. However, the road ahead would not be easy.
As the story was shared, one of how this mother had broken the law on many occasions and would now have to face the consequences, our hearts broke for her, tears were shed, and prayers were offered up. This mother, even after having made many mistakes and facing incarceration, sought to ensure her little miracle would be looked after and in need of nothing. This woman had no one to turn to and no one to help and the baby’s father was already behind bars. She had heard of how loving, giving, and supportive the Safe Families team, staff and volunteers alike, had been to so many others. Her heart soared with joy knowing her little boy would find love, protection, and provision.
The very next day, the our staff attended the probation hearing on behalf of this hurting soul in hopes of consoling and loving her through whatever lay ahead. Once it was confirmed that this mother would have to serve time, it was now time to make arrangements for the care of baby Isaac.
Upon returning to the office, the call was placed to a Host Family that attends Blue Ridge Community Church – the Tucks. As the situation was explained to this couple, immediately their hearts were pricked by the Holy Spirit, and they understood this was their assignment from a loving God to serve as His hands and feet to the weakest and smallest. So a few days later, Melissa and Zach took in little Isaac to be a temporary addition to their family. As beautiful as this is, this is not where the story ends; quite the opposite.
When the day comes for this mother to be reunited with Isaac as his protector and provider, she will not be doing it alone. The Tucks have committed to helping, supporting, and loving this mother as an extended member of their family. This is the hope for each and every hosting – that we love and embrace the full family into the Christian community.
In fact, this mother is so appreciative for all that has been done for her that she has commented, “No one has ever cared for me as much as you all.” Additionally, she is hoping and praying that she will be accepted into the Homes of Hope as a resident so that she and Isaiah may continue to make their way back through the continuum care of Patrick Henry Family Services.
It must have seemed like Christmas morning for Erin as she entered the doors of Blue Ridge Community Church. Amongst throngs of people, after having freshly been released from jail, Erin was able to make eye contact with her baby boy Isaac, just across the room, as if they were the only two people in the room. This mother, just 6 weeks earlier, had made arrangements through Safe Families for Children to have her little baby enter the house of another family in order to prevent him from entering the state system. Without the knowledge of when or where she would be reunited with her God-given miracle, one could’ve heard a feather drop in the room as she gasped and cried for joy upon seeing the beautiful smile from this precious babe.
As Erin briskly walked to where Isaac was being held by Melissa, she could hardly control her enthusiasm. During the previous six weeks the Tuck family had tended to Isaac as if he was their own, and now, they would turn him back to his mother and thankfully the relationship would continue. In many foster care situations when the child is returned to the biological parent, all parties turn and go their separate ways. With Safe Families it’s quite the contrary! This was now the beginning of a support system for both baby Isaac and Erin as they would be supported, mentored, and uplifted by the Tucks. Additionally, Erin and Isaac are being welcomed into the Homes of Hope, a continuum of support and encouragement of Patrick Henry Family Services, where they will gain real-life skills to navigate this difficult and relentless world.
For those who were blessed to witness this reunion between mother and baby, tears were observed, hugs were exchanged, and praises were lifted to the God of seven times seventy chances. This was more than a heartfelt moment; it was the beginning of a new life and opportunity for a mother and baby because Christ-followers understood their God-given mandate to take care of the widows and orphans through biblical hospitality and they acted accordingly. The Word of God was not just conveyed through empty speech, but it was implored and demonstrated through selfless acts of love.
This was an example and the pinnacle of the mission of Safe Families for Children – reunification and stabilization of the family. Even further, it was the reinvigorated display of the early Church of Acts 2 where believers came together to help one another, and through the display of Christian love, many souls were converted and eternal destinies were altered.
Where would this mother and baby be today if believers did not step up, accept, and embrace the Great Commission to show Christ’s love to all the world? What would be the message sent of the Christian church to a hurting world if we simply turned our backs on the weakest and smallest? Greater still, what can each of us do to ensure Christ’s love is shown as well as spoken?
Safe Families for Children is constantly looking those who see the hurt and distress in families; who hear the cries of pain from the lonely and despaired; and seek to serve as the literal hands and feet of Christ through wrapping our arms around and welcoming those lives, for whom Christ died, into our homes.
As we read in Isaiah 58:10, ”If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.” What are you willing to do for the Erins and Isaacs in your life?
by Patrick Henry Family Services, Safe Families for Children Virginia-based partner agency
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