Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

James Browning

stories from the book
by James V. Browning

The Best Place in the World

Maribel Rodriquez

Before I came to the Baptist Home, I lived in Puerto Rico and while I lived there, my biological mom came to get me. She brought me to the USA. The reason for me going to the Home was because I wasn’t cared for at my home. My mom found out about the Children’s Home from a friend who went to the church we attended. I was so happy to leave my home.  

At the Baptist Children’s Home, I remember the time I walked on the sidewalk and looked up and there were girls to play with. I spoke Spanish and there was one girl who could speak to me. The reason I was excited was I was safe—no more fear. My first housemother spoiled me. I was so afraid at night that she let me sleep with her. The Home really took care of me; they provided clothes, food, education, church, everything.

During the holidays, they gave us a family to go spend time with. We had parties to go to. We always had Bible studies. Mr. Browning always protected me from others hurting me.

As we got older we got to babysit for money. We were required to save part of what we earned for college or when we left the Home.

Mr. and Mrs. Fite really became my parents. I was under their care most of the six years I was in the Home. Mrs. Fite took us shopping and also made our clothes. We got special clothes for Easter. I admired the Fites because they always made sure I was taken care of. I remember their marriage as peaceful. I know their children were raised right. I’ve seen the Fites cry and laugh, and love God, their family and us. Mrs. Fite often walked 10 times around the campus and we girls would walk with her. We watched her make herself younger and beautiful. Mr. Fite was quiet and a good male role model for me. He always opened the door for Mrs. Fite and gave hugs. 

Mrs. Fite always fixed us birthday cakes. Mr. Fite’s favorite, and mine, was cherry cheese-cake. She was the best cook and she let us cook, too. Mrs. Hack, my social worker, watched over me also. She always listened to me and even helped me after I left the home. When I got kicked out of my parents’ house, she help me get an apartment, job, etc.

The kids I knew at the Home were so close to one another. You never heard of us hurting one another. We cried and laughed and told each other things we couldn’t share with anyone else. Etta Cochrane and her brother, John, became my big sister and brother.

Mrs. Glasgow was another person who became a close friend as my housemother. She taught me to love and forgive.

Today I am a happy mother of an 8-year-old girl; I have a job and we attend church regularly.

As I close, I want to thank all the workers at the Home, and all the people in the churches who sponsored us and took us on good vacations, and all Oklahoma Baptists everywhere. Thank you for giving me a home where I was loved. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: “The Home is the best place in the world to grow up.”

I don’t regret my life at the Home, it saved my life.

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