Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

Former Resident of our Oklahoma City Campus

Andra L. Baker

1957 to 1958


Dear OBHC staff,

Thank you for your incredible work, your Christ-inspired care of children in need.  You will never know how your mission impacted my life, but at least I can attempt to tell you and certainly thank you for being there in my family's time of crisis and need.

I lived at your home in about 1957-58.  I was about 2 or 3 years old and my DOB is 8/25/1955 (my name is the same as today -- see below).  My brother, Ronald Edward Baker, was also there and was about 5 or 6 years old.  My father is Fred L. Baker, mom was Helen E. Baker (deceased) and we came to you from Okmulgee, Okla.  I believe we were there for at least 6 months, possibly a year.  My mother had become very ill with severe depression and was admitted to the state hospital for a lengthy course of treatment and my father placed us in your care.  I'm not sure why other family members did not take us in, but we ended up with you, and later back with our family once Mom was discharged from the state hospital.

My first memories in life are from your home in OKC and are centered mostly around a wonderful and precious woman we called "Mama Betty."  I am wondering if this might be Betty Bishop, whom I read about on your website, as she would have been there during this time.  I only have about 3 solid memories from your home, but they are each very positive and warm.

The fact that we were placed with you for this time period was something that the family never discussed.  I never asked about it, although my brother and I did share our experiences on a few occasions as we got into our teen years.  But I never asked my parents about it until I was in my mid-30's.  I was told only that there was no one in our extended family who "could take us."  Discussion over.

In about 1974 I was a student at Southwestern State College in Weatherford, OK, and my boyfriend was a student at OU in Norman.  I went to Norman one weekend to visit him and we drove into OKC to go to a movie and dinner.  We were driving along and suddenly there appeared a group of red brick buildings that made my heart jump -- somehow I felt that I knew these buildings.  It was a little "eerie," yet exciting.  As we got closer I saw a sign that said "Baptist Children's Home" (or something close to that) and I knew it was the place of those earliest memories.  I felt a wonderful sense of peace and gratefulness.  I intended to "investigate" and ascertain whether this was actually the same place my brother and I had lived, but as a busy college student I never pursued it.  Plus, I already knew that it was the place.

I am so happy to have found your website and to be able to contact you to say "thank you so much!"  I would love to know if anyone at your home remembers "Mama Betty," and if she might still be living.  It would mean so very much to me to be able to do something for her or her family or your home.  I will certainly make a small donation, but I really just want to talk with anyone who can tell me any first-hand accounts of this wonderful woman who made me feel so safe and secure when I was completely vulnerable and lost.

God bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you!  There must be a special place in Heaven for folks like you -- one day I look forward to seeing Mama Betty there and I will give her the biggest hug of any child she has ever known and cared for (if I can get through the throng that will surely be surrounding her!!!).  I'm sure there are countless ones like me who love her and who have been blessed by her mercy and kindness and love.

Thanks are inadequate; a donation is inadequate; but thank you so much.  Your reward will be great according to Scripture.

Yours in Christ,

Andra L. Baker, former resident


It's all to the glory of God -- and I believe it's also a reflection of some very early influence from a wonderful woman called "Mama Betty" and a God-inspired organization called Okla. Baptist Homes for Children!!!  I will meet her again one day and tell her myself, face-to-face!  My early experience there in OKC really did have an impact on me in a positive way.  Not many would understand it, but being "placed" for that period of time was a BLESSING in disguise!

Andra L. Baker, MS,LPC,CCBT
Licensed Professional Counselor
Certified Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist

Andra L. Baker


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