Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children

 

Raising the Bar

“I will turn darkness into light … and rough places into level ground.” Isaiah 42:16

Teagan showing a sheepMatter-of-fact and mature for her age, eleven-year-old Teagan has no patience for manipulation or drama. She appreciates people who will shoot straight with her and love her unconditionally. At Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children she has found a group of loving, committed Christian adults who will do just that. In their care, she is thriving.

“I was kind of excited to find out I was coming here,” Teagan begins. “When my parents said it was time to go, I cleaned my room, packed up, and we left. I got a little nervous on the way, though, because I had been told bad things about shelters and children’s homes and didn’t want to end up somewhere that was like a prison. Then, when we pulled up, I saw little houses and a playground and animals.” Teagan sighs and smiles, slumping a little. “I was amazed and relieved.”

Teagan’s house parents, Jeff and Amy Williams, helped make Teagan’s transition a smooth one.

“The first night, they thought I was shy,” says Teagan with a chuckle. “They kept telling me there was no reason to be scared or nervous and I could relax. By the next day, though, I was talking to people and got to know the other girls. Very first thing, Mr. and Mrs. Williams told me how we do things here, what daily life was like, and explained the schedule. It all made sense and sounded good to me, so I started doing it. I’ve learned about respect and responsibility, and they trust me. They say they’re really proud of me.”

Besides establishing clear boundaries and laying out the kind of achievable objectives Teagan craves, Jeff and Amy Williams have created a warm and nurturing environment for this little girl who wants only to please.

“We have a lot of fun,” says Teagan with a broad grin. “They’re so goofy! Mr. Williams, he’ll chase us and act like he’s going to step on our toes and stuff to make us laugh. When we’re sad, they’re like a normal mom and dad and try to cheer us up by playing around. I’ve never really had that before. If it’s serious, though, or we just need to talk to them about something, Mrs. Williams will go to the prayer room with us to talk and give us good advice. She’s helped me learn to get along with the other girls.”

Thanks, in part, to the Williamses’ consistent, compassionate example, Teagan professes to be more open to the Gospel now than ever before. While she decides what to do with the life-changing truth she’s learned through regular cabin devotionals and church attendance, Teagan enjoys practicing the life and relationship skills she’s acquired.

Teagan explains, “We’re learning how to pick up after ourselves and clean so we’ll have good environments to live in some day and not a pig sty. We’re also learning how to get along with people. There will always be people you don’t get along with, but you have to deal with them anyway. They might be at your job or live in your apartments, and you have to have patience with them or it won’t be good for anyone.”

Teagan is learning this patience through constant interaction with the seven other girls in her cottage and through her involvement in the ag program.

“I raised a sheep and a goat last year,” Teagan says. “This year, I’m raising a steer. His name is Tolby. He wasn’t halter broke when I got him. Some people say that’s bad, but I think it’s good because this way he can learn the right way to do things from the person that’s going to be with him for a while, and we can get to know each other while he figures things out. It takes a lot of patience, but we will be bonded when it’s all done.” 

Teagan has big plans for the future. “I talk a lot at the cottage,” Teagan admits, “so they tell me I should be a lawyer or something, but I want to be a nurse instead. They make good money, I think.” In the meantime, Teagan is content to run and play and live and learn in an environment where she knows what to expect from herself and others on a day to day basis and her intentional efforts earn her sure reward.

To those who provide this ideal environment for her, Teagan offers her enthusiastic thanks. “You don’t have to give anything just because you have it, but you heard God when He put the idea in your head and decided to do what He said. I think that’s really good!”

November 2017



For privacy and safety reasons, some residents' names and/or photos have been changed.

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