Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

The Pursuit of Happiness

"...encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

AutumnA natural caregiver, sixteen-year-old Autumn has a way of putting people around her at ease even when she's not, a maternal skill she learned when looking after her three siblings. The only one in her family still residing at Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC), Autumn misses her siblings, but has turned her energy and focus to the girls in her cottage and friends at school.

"The girls in my cottage call me 'soccer mom,'" Autumn says with a giggle. "I actually have a nine-year-old roommate because they knew I'd try to encourage her and stay positive. That's a lot of responsibility, but I can handle it."

"I just want to see people happy," Autumn explained. "Seeing a smile on other people's faces? Well, happiness is contagious. I love being positive. I actually received an award in my choir class last year for being positive and encouraging."

Autumn's deep desire to see and make people happy sometimes costs her. "Sadness can be just as contagious as happiness," Autumn continues. "I hate upsetting people. It hurts me to hurt them, so I can't stay mad at them for more than a day."

Although she excels at listening to others' problems and offering comfort and support, Autumn finds it difficult to lean on others in the same way. "I've actually been through so much this past year," Autumn says, her lovely smile faltering a bit. "It's just been rough emotionally, but I don't like to talk about myself. It's not really my comfort zone. If someone else has problems, I like to help them, but I don't really want to make things about me."

Fortunately, Autumn has found support and companionship in the adults at OBHC. "My housemom, in particular, has really been there for me over the past three years. She works in the Children's Hope program now, but she's just one of the happiest people you'll ever meet. She takes on every problem with a smile. She's basically been a mom to me when I didn't have one. I know I can always come to her when I'm hurting or struggling, and she can help. It's a huge relief to know I have a person like that to talk to whenever I need. Sometimes that makes all the difference."

"I appreciate my OBHC caseworker, Miss Kate, too," Autumn continues. "She is such a strong person. I don't really know how to say it except that she's a rock. She's a mentor to me, but she may not know it. I just really look up to her. I love the passion she has for what she does. You won't ever catch her doing something halfway. You can tell by the way she talks to us she really cares about us. Even if she doesn't understand us fully, she accepts us. She loves everyone."

Autumn has found spiritual encouragement and accountability at OBHC. "They encourage me to set goals and study my Bible," Autumn said. She explained how her personal quiet times have improved since arriving on campus. "I used to just read, but lately I've been trying to read and think about scripture. Sometimes, the things that happen in life are hard for me to understand, but Bible study helps me to focus on the right things. I'm changing for the better."

Autumn isn't sure what she wants to be when she grows up, but she has plenty of time to decide. Right now, she is finding joy in the pursuit of her favorite activities. "I still love music with a passion," Autumn exclaims, smile brightening. "You know, it's scientifically proven music helps people emotionally. I also love learning math because problems always have an answer."

To those who support OBHC financially, Autumn says, "I don't want to just say you've given me a better future. That's not accurate because I may not have had one without you. The truth is you've given me a future...period! Thank you."

October 2018


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