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Autumn never stopped hoping

October 1, 2014

By Jim Edminson

The bright eyes and big smile of this 15-year-old don’t reflect the heartache and hurt Autumn has experienced. In fact, listening to her talk about her past is like listening to someone talk about someone who lived far away, someone who was from a different time.

“Even when I was in the darkest of places,” Autumn reflects, “I was hopeful. I was hopeful that I would get to where I am today.”

That far away place was a home filled with unrest. Autumn’s parents fought all the time. Her mother was immersed in a world of drug abuse and, eventually, her mom and dad split up. Autumn says spending her time living between the two made her feel weary and tired.

When living with Mom, Autumn says it was hard to physically care for her mother instead of having her mom care for her. Her world further spiraled down when her mother’s friend attacked and hurt her. She withdrew into herself, and darkness fell around her.

“I shut off the world,” she remembers. “I needed help and didn’t know how to tell anyone. I wouldn’t talk. I began to cut myself.”

Autumn went to live full time with her father. She was seeing as many as three counselors and was given medication. But little helped. One day her father decided to give her medication that was prescribed to him – powerful pain pills and antidepressants.

“I began hearing voices and having hallucinations that made me feel suicidal,” she says. “I was scared.”During a doctor’s appointment, Autumn disclosed what was happening. The doctor tested her for the drugs she mentioned and then called the Department of Social Services. The next day, Autumn was taken to Truett Home in Hayesville.

Truett Home began serving children is 2008 as a result of a partnership between Truett Baptist Association and Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH). BCH staff and houseparents provide care for up to six boys and girls ages six and older.

It’s been a year since Autumn came into care, and her life is now better. “I used to take four prescription medications, but now I take one – and it is half the dose it used to be.”

Autumn credits her houseparents and social worker for the difference. She says she has learned coping skills that make her less dependent on medication. She has also learned the tools to use in building positive relationships with adults and peers.

“I like the structure we have at Truett Home.” she says. “I used to come home from school and not know who was going to be there, if anyone. Here there is always someone waiting for us when we come in from school. I can expect it, and I know what is expected of me.”

Autumn says she accepted Christ when she was in the seventh grade and went to church every chance she could. Being at Truett Home has helped and she has grown in her faith. She credits her houseparent Judy Blanton with helping her to know God personally.

“My earthly father was so bad,” she says. “I never thought about God as a loving father. But now I’m learning that He loves me the most, and all that’s changed – He is my loving Father.”

Autumn says she reads the Bible regularly and she feels she can talk to God and trust Him “with everything to do with anything.”

Now, her mother has made a complete turn around. She is clean and is receiving the help she needs to stay that way. She has a place to live, and mother and daughter have been able to visit each other. The time is coming when Autumn will leave Truett Home to reunite with her mom.

“Mom is going to church again,” Autumn says. “She is committed to a new life – a life where we can be together.”

Autumn has begun her sophomore year of high school. She dreams of going to college and one day becoming a traveling nurse. Autumn says she never stopped hoping. She appreciates all the help she has received and thanks God for “his blessings on me and my life.”