stories from the book
by James V. Browning
They Have My Love and Thanks
Hello, my name is Kristin. I arrived at the Baptist Children’s Home in Madill in 1991. I was 14 years old. I couldn’t understand what I had ever done so wrong that I had to be away from my family and my home.
There were a lot of difficult times; my mother was going back to college and working, so we never spent any quality time together. I would see myself to bed at night and see myself to school in the morning. When we were together, I felt I was always in her way.
For awhile, I hated everyone at the Home. They were so easy to love, so easy to accept. Eventually, I did love and accept them. I accepted my houseparents and their children as my family. They were always there for me. I was able to confide in them, trust and depend on/in them to always be there for me when needed. I never felt I was a burden to them. It felt good to be loved and to have someone to love me back. I won’t say I was perfect or innocent, because I wasn’t and I’m still not. But it felt great to feel I was first in someone’s eyes.
I didn’t see or hear from my family for six months. Then when I did, they would come down and take me to a motel near by to visit, just so they wouldn’t have to drive all the time.
A year passed and my family had moved three times. I never saw any one of the three houses. Then a year later, they moved to their permanent home in Tulsa.
My first Christmas at the Home, I had plans to be with my family. When it came time for all the children to go home for the holidays, my family never showed up. I spent Christmas with my houseparents and their two boys. Guess what?? I had an exceptionally terrific holiday. I was happy!
School wasn’t something I liked very well. My freshman and sophomore years, I goofed off so that in my junior year, there was no way I could make up the credits to graduate. I was 17½ when I left the Home and landed on my own two feet. I married my high-school boy friend four months later; found a wonderful family and a wonderful home in the country.
Two and a half years later, I had a beautiful little girl named Sarah. She was and is the light of my life. I have a mother-in-law who is my best friend, a loving husband, a gorgeous daughter, three brothers-in-law, two sisters-in-law, a father-in-law who makes me laugh, five nieces and three nephews. They all mean the world to me. And my houseparents live only 25 miles from us. They call themselves Grandma and Grandpa to my little girl.
My husband, daughter and I attend the same church he and I attended when I lived at the Home.
The Baptist Children’s Home taught me to believe in myself, to believe in God and how to love again. Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children taught me to live life one day at a time. The Home gave me so much grace and gratitude. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them. I give my love and thanks.