Loving Every Second

by Angela Sanders, Freelance Writer

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)

As far as seven-year-old Aleigha can tell, living at Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) is like attending one long slumber party to which all your loved ones and best friends have been invited. Following her mother’s graduation from a rehabilitation program in June 2020, Aleigha, along with her mother and brother, came to live at OBHC to take part in the Children’s Hope program.

“We used to live with my Grandpa,” Aleigha explains, “but someone told my mom about this place. She went to see how it looked, and she saw enough beds for all of us, so she thought it would be a good place for us to live. Plus, she could go to school to learn how to help the dentist.”

Aleigha and her family
Aleigha and her family

Aleigha is very pleased with her mother’s decision. “I thought it sounded fun here, and it IS fun,” she says with a smile. “We live with another family that has a baby and we are all best friends! Miss Sylvia, Family Advisor, lives with us, too, because she likes hanging around our families, especially the kids. She talks and plays with us and sometimes lets us watch movies with her.”

Aleigha is enjoying getting to spend more quality time with her mother at OBHC. “We get to play and sometimes have snacks together, and she lets me help with lots of things,” Aleigha announces, hands on hips, chest puffed out, “like the groceries. I like choosing them at the store and putting them up. I can carry the milk. Sometimes, I help her make cinnamon rolls for my friends… stuff like that. Yesterday, we made s’mores and had more of our friends over.”

Aleigha also enjoys the Monday night classes held on campus. “People get better at stuff when they go to Monday night class,” Aleigha explains. “We get to learn things about being helpful and grateful and joyful. See, there are nine fruits of the Spirit: being joyful, peaceful, kind, some other things…and joyful. They teach us about Jesus, too. They teach us that He died for our sins.”

“But I already knowed about Jesus,” Aleigha continues. “Yeah, I did. I pray to Him all the time; sometimes it feels like all night. I do that because I know He helps people who pray.”

Soon, Aleigha’s mother will have saved enough money to move into one of the duplexes on campus before eventually moving off campus into her own home, but Aleigha isn’t so sure she wants to leave her cottage buddies. “It’ll be okay, though,” Aleigha reassures herself. “They told me that everyone can still play and ride bikes together and go to classes and stuff. We don’t have to miss each other. Also, the ladies like Miss Madi, Child Resource Coordinator, will come over to say ‘hi’ to us whenever we want them to.”

Someday, Aleigha hopes to become a doctor. “I just want to help people when they feel bad,” she explains. “I hate for people to be sick or sad or get hurt. If you fall off a bike, I will help you, and if someone knocks your arm hard and you drop your papers, I will be the person who picks them up. I’m like my mom that way. She’s a very kind woman—she’s always been good—and I’m her friendly girl.”

Aleigha sighs deeply. “I don’t want to leave yet, though. I really love this place. Everyone is the best kind of people.”

To those who financially give to help provide everything Aleigha and her family currently enjoy, Aleigha offers her thanks and a dramatic air hug. “Thank you for letting us live here,” she says with a huge smile. “You could have just kept this good stuff to yourself, but you didn’t, and that’s really kind of you.”