Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children


1943 to 1952

Shirley J. Ross

Shirley J. Ross
Barbara (far left) and sister Shirley (far right) lived in the nursery with other little ones.

Two-year-old Shirley J. Ross and her three-year-old sister, Barbara, came to the Baptist Children’s Home on October 12, 1949. They were brought to the Home by their five older siblings. Their mother had gone to a state hospital, and the children were overwhelmed by the responsibilities of going to school and running a household without their parents. There, Shirley and her sister found love and attention in the arms of “Mama” Betty Bishop, who cared for the children in the nursery.

Shirley remembers feeling very secure with Mama Betty, who once found her hidden behind a door, cheeks packed with candy from the candy jar, her chin wet and sticky. Shirley loved spending time with the Maxeys, who lived on the hill overlooking the Home. However, Shirley still felt the sting of being an unwanted child. She desperately desired the acceptance of others and dreamed of being adopted.

Spooner Cottage - 1941
Spooner Cottage, 1941

Shirley and her sister moved into the Spooner Cottage with their new housemother, Cleo McDonald. Devotions and Bible stories were a nightly routine, and Shirley finally found the acceptance in Jesus Christ. From that time on, Shirley knew she was God’s child and she had a Heavenly Father.

It wasn’t long until Shirley was adopted into the real family she had dreamed about. In her adoption, Shirley got what she wanted, but credits loving Oklahoma Baptists with giving her the solid spiritual foundation she needed.

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