Note: Jake’s story is written in the nine-year-old’s voice. The story is real, but the names of the children are changed due to the sensitivity of their situation.
Have you ever wished you could fly? I have. I dream about it all the time.
My Superman t-shirt is pretty old. Even though I’m nine years old now, it still fits me. I put it on with the cape I made and go outside to play.
I run, close my eyes and jump as I high as I can! It feels like I’m flying.
When I stop running, I always look to see how far I ran. I turn around and see my house behind me.
My home is a dark place — it’s where bad things happen. My stepdad yells a lot, but my mom never seems to care. When he gets really angry, I shut myself inside my bedroom and hope he doesn’t come inside. I do it to protect myself. Most of all, I do it to keep my sisters safe.
My sisters are only three years old and five years old. I can’t stand to hear them cry whenever my stepdad swings open our bedroom door.
In my dreams, I put on my Superman shirt, take my sisters by their hands and we fly away. We fly higher and higher until we can’t see our house anymore or hear our stepdad yelling.
One day, I decide to stop dreaming about flying and really do it.
I wake up early one morning. My sisters are still sleeping. I know my mom and stepdad aren’t up because they never wake up early.
I put on my Superman t-shirt and pack some stuffed animals and toys in my backpack. I look around the house for some food, but there isn’t anything. There’s never anything to eat.
I wake up my sisters, putting my finger to my lips and tell them to be quiet. The last thing we want to do is wake our parents.
I take my sisters by their hands. We tip toe through the house and out the back door.
“Where are we going?” they ask as we stand at the street in front of our house. I didn’t know where we were going. I just knew we had to get away — as far as we could fly.
Cars pass us as we walk down the road. We walk for so long that our feet begin to hurt and our stomachs start growling. If we were at school, we would have already eaten lunch. It’s okay because we’re used to being hungry. We can’t stop now or our stepdad might find us.
All of a sudden, we hear the sound of a car door shutting behind us! We turn around and see that it’s a policeman. His car is parked, and the lights are flashing.
“Hey, guys, what are you doing out here by yourselves?” he asks.
What if the policeman decides to take us back home? Our stepdad will be so angry. I don’t even want to think about what he will do.
I take a deep breath and ask, “Could you please take us to foster care? Our parents are mean to us. We’re hungry, and they hurt us.”
He doesn’t say anything at first. He only looks at us with sad eyes. Then, he tells us everything is going to be okay.
The next few hours go by fast. One minute, my sisters and I are climbing in the back of the police car. The next minute we’re talking with a lady in an office. She says she is a social worker who helps kids like us.
She tells us not to worry because she is taking us to a new home. She tells us it’s a place where we don’t have to be afraid, where nobody gets angry with us and there’s always lots to eat.
She says our new home is big and there’s lots of kids there who’d had a rough time like us.
It’s called the Baptist Children’s Homes.
We walk up the sidewalk to the cottage where we’ll be living. A man and a woman and a bunch of kids are waiting for us on the porch.
The man tells us his name is Mr. Robert and his wife’s name is Ms. Diane.
“I’m Jake,” I tell him. “These are my sisters Robin and Sarah.”
Mr. Robert and Ms. Diane are called cottage parents. They’re here to take care of us and all the kids in the cottage.
Before I know it, my sisters and I have our own bedrooms. And we have new clothes to wear. Mr. Robert explains that churches help us and pray for us. He says they make sure we have everything we need including lots of food.
At dinner, we sit down with the other kids at the biggest table I’ve ever seen! There’s so much to eat. We never ate like this at our house. Mr. Robert prays for our food. And he prays for me, my sisters and the all the kids.
I love our new home. I think this is what a real family must feel like.
Mr. Robert and Ms. Diane take our cottage to church. I love going there. We go a lot. It’s where I asked Jesus into my heart — it’s where I got saved.
I wished I could fly, and my wish came true for me and my sisters. It’s funny, I didn’t know where we were going the day we left home. I didn’t know what would be waiting for us when we got there. But now I know what was waiting for us — love. It was love.
Experience the story by watching “SAVED” – the video for Baptist Children’s Homes Annual Offering. Watch the video at www.bchnc.org/bchsaved. Download a digital copy to share with your church at www.bchoffering.org. The Week of Prayer is November 12 – 19, 2017.