Updated: Nov 15
It is 7:30 in the morning. Sara is dressed and each of her children are dressed and ready for the day. There are a couple of chores left: sterilizing four-month-old Micah’s bottles, putting the pink bow in 16-month-old Aria’s hair, and packing four-year-old Ellie’s backpack. Ellie is watching Paw Patrol, Aria scoots across the floor leaving the shoes her mother just put on her feet behind her, and Micah is attentive to his older sisters’ movements, looking left to right as he sits in his carrier ready to be placed in the car.
The little family’s routine each workday is the same. Sara works at a daycare center in a nearby community. Her children attend as part of her employment. Getting the job was at the top of Sara’s list of goals. Participating in the Family Care program and living in Culler Cottage at Mills Home in Thomasville provides what Sara needs to build a stable life for her children.
Family Care offers a supportive residential environment for committed hard-working single mothers and their children. The program is goal-focused, helping moms transition to a successful, independent life. Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) operates four homes at two locations: Thomasville and Kinston.
Sara and the children drive away from the cottage on time. She feels successful and is hopeful. It is much different from last fall when she felt like her life was spiraling out of control. She was pregnant with Micah and doctors told her that there was a mass on one of his lungs. What had seemed like a normal pregnancy became high risk. There was heartache when the relationship with Aria’s and Micah’s father ended. Uncertainty became a part of every area of her life. There were more questions than answers. Where would she and her children live? How could she care for her children alone? Would her unborn son be okay? She needed a safe place to regroup. She needed help.
“I was told that I couldn’t be a good mom to three children,” says Sara. “I needed to prove everyone wrong.” Bobbie Heilig is the Family Care manager at Culler Cottage. She works closely with the moms and manages the day-to- day life in the cottage. She connects the mother and family with the necessary resources and community services needed to help bring stability to her life. “Sara’s case was a little different,” says Heilig. “We were unsure whether we could help her. She was unable to work while carrying Micah and his needs and future were unknown.” Heilig struggled. The program wasn’t designed to meet such unique needs. She made it a matter of prayer and came to believe BCH could not turn Sara away.
With her supervisor’s approval, she called Sara with the good news. The 28-year-old mom moved her family to Culler Cottage in January of this year. “I was nervous—you think it might be like a homeless shelter,” confides Sara. “I couldn’t have imagined the cottage would be this wonderful. You walk through the door and it is home. It is a place where you feel God’s arms wrap around you.” In the Family Care program, moms learn parenting, budgeting, and job skills. Mothers commit to work and/or attend school at least 30 hours per week, save a percent of their income, and provide appropriate care for their children. Each family is responsible for cottage chores. Fostering spiritual growth is part of daily life. “I always say it is God,” says Sara. “There is no other way to explain this year—it is God.”
As Micah’s due date approached, there were more and more doctor appointments. It was scary as Sara went for ultrasounds every week. Micah was born on May 6 and the doctor said the mass was gone. There was no medical explanation. “My faith is important to me,” declares Sara. “I know God does miraculous things. He is mindful of me and my children. We are here for His purpose and I’m very thankful.”
Sara is doing everything she needs to do on her path toward independence. She works hard and BCH is committed to walking with her. She stays on top of everything. She is attentive to her children’s needs and never complains. She supports the other moms at Culler Cottage, understanding them and offering dignity and grace to their families. “It has been great to see God’s faithfulness,” says Heilig. “I believed Sara was supposed to be here—and God has affirmed it.” Sara’s future is not completely mapped out, but she knows what she wants. She desires to keep her family together and give them the best life possible. It is her prayer.
When you give, you bring hope to single moms like Sara. Through your generosity, you are bringing a bright future to single mothers as well as their children. Make a life-changing gift at bchfamily.org/givenow
Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children