Through the Struggles We Grow
By Catherine Finch
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
Lorelai* was adopted when she was six years old. Along with her brother and sister, she was welcomed into a new family and left foster care behind. Lorelai was grateful to find a family and stay with her siblings, however, she was confused as to why she could not live with her biological mom.
As she continued to grow up, Lorelai struggled in her relationship with her adoptive parents. Prior to her adoption, she had been accustomed to “raising” her siblings and was frustrated when her adoptive parents told them what to do. Her biological mom had been in jail for much of her childhood, and Lorelai felt a strong sense of responsibility for her siblings’ well-being.
Lorelai tried to get along with her adoptive parents, but it was hard.
“I could not seem to get along with them,” said Lorelai. “I didn’t want to stay at home. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I knew what I was doing, but I just couldn’t help myself.”
After one particularly big argument with her adoptive mom, Lorelai started looking for children’s homes in the area, and thanks to a recommendation from a friend at church, she discovered Baptist Home for Girls (BHG).
Located in Madill, Oklahoma, BHG is an Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) campus where up to eight girls are placed in cottage-style homes under the supervision of a husband and wife serving as houseparents. The girls enjoy day-to-day life together; they share meals, activities, on-campus programs, chores and homework. They attend Madill Public Schools and are encouraged to participate in a variety of school and church activities. The campus has an active and therapeutic animal program with many of the girls involved in 4-H and FFA. These programs teach girls responsibility, patience and compassion.
Two days after her interview with BHG, Lorelai arrived on campus. She was twelve years old.
“At first, I thought everyone on campus would be a hypocrite,” said Lorelai. “Any Christian I had ever known had blown up in my face or had written me off. However, I knew I was at BHG for something more, but I just didn’t know what it was.”
Now, Lorelai is fifteen years old, and she completed her freshman year of high school in May. She has lived at BHG for nearly three years. Before she arrived on campus, Lorelai did not care about her grades. She did not have a lot of self-esteem and did not think she could be capable of anything of worth. In her first semester of school while living at BHG, Lorelai’s grades jumped from barely passing to all A’s and B’s.
“At first I wanted to be good at grades to make my mom proud of me,” said Lorelai. “But I soon realized that when I applied myself in school, I felt good about myself. I had a sense of self-worth I had never had before. I was proud of myself.”
For Lorelai, her time at BHG has been instrumental in her personal and spiritual growth. She became a follower of Christ in August of 2020 and sees herself as a leader to the girls in her cottage. Her houseparents, Kevin and Kelly Meridith, have loved her in a way that she has never experienced.
“They are amazing people,” said Lorelai. “They have shown me love every step of the way, and I have never felt that from parents before. They have given me hope, they have treated me as their own child, and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.”
Lorelai is excited to have her own family one day and show them the love she has experienced at BHG. She has hope for her future and knows that her story has shaped her into who she is today. “One of my favorite sayings is, ‘Through the struggles we grow,’” said Lorelai. “And I truly believe I have done that.”
*Name changed to protect their privacy.