Two-and-a-half-year-old Claira tumbles, laughs and then continues running to the playground behind Moody Home in Franklin. Claira, her older sister Annabella, and mom Caitlin are part of Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) Family Care program.
“Family Care is the best thing that ever happened to me,” 29-year-old Caitlin says. “Everything is looking up for me and my girls.”
Caitlin cannot remember a time before coming to Moody Home when she wasn’t searching to fill the void inside her that she has had since childhood.
“Looking back,” she says, “I realize I struggled with how I felt about myself. I didn’t ever seem to measure up to others.”
In middle school, she began hanging out with people who made her feel accepted. “When I was with my friends, things were great. When I was alone, it seemed that I was always in pain.”
Caitlin says that even though they were the “wrong crowd,” they made her feel wanted. She began to make bad choices and things “got out of control quickly.” She dropped out of high school, married at 19, and had her first child. Two years later, she was divorced.
“I was alone again,” she says solemnly. “I felt lost. Things went bad – it was worse than before.”
A new relationship and marriage brought Caitlin hope. But it wasn’t long before her husband became abusive. One night, he locked her in the house where they lived. She escaped and called the police. Things began to unravel and the threat of losing her children made Caitlin seek help. She ended up at Moody Home.
Family Care homes help mothers build successful, independent lives. The service helps them regain control and make a plan for the future.
“I told them that I would do whatever it takes to make the bad go away,” Caitlin remembers.
Things began to turn around. In a pivotal moment, Caitlin recounts how she called out to God and asked Him to take control – “to turn my life around.”
“My life has become a miracle,” she says. “God has put all things into place. He has transformed me into who I am today. It’s not been easy, but I now see God in the everyday little things and it’s made the big challenges doable.”
Caitlin says she strives to follow in His footsteps. She is a member of nearby Cowee Baptist Church. “They have welcomed us with open arms. I love them.”
She says she is a better mom. She has a job and owns a car. Education is her top priority.
“My education has been a long road,” Caitlin says. “I returned and got my high school diploma and then a community college associate degree. Now, I’m two semesters away from earning my degree in biology from Western Carolina University. I want my masters and then my PhD. I’ll need to work hard. With God’s help, I’m on my way.”