Jackie Turner: There’s a mother inside of you: Acres of Hope
You don’t see behind the scenes when they arrive. You can’t hear the thoughts racing in their hearts and minds. They have been homeless, couch surfing, living in tents under a bridge, rotating from program to program, and experiencing loss.
Yet the greatest loss of all is the loss of not being able to provide for your child. Then watching them walk away hand in hand with a social worker, who promises they will find a good place to live. Only the women wish they were the source of that safety and stability.
The many stories I have heard of mothers wishing their children never went into care. Yet the many stories I have heard of dysfunctional cycles and generations of brokenness that never revealed there was a life outside of abuse, addiction, or hardships. When women come to Acres of Hope they get to breathe again. They are given a home for up to two years while they begin picking up the pieces of their lives. Then the transformation of hearts are revealed, as stories like this are told:
“When the kids came home I was scared. They were taken away from me before and I was doing the hard work to renew my life. Before I wasn’t able to provide for them, I didn’t even have what I needed to provide for myself. I had grown up in and out of the system. I had faced cycles of dysfunction. That dysfunction became my life.
“Being in a state of dysfunction is where I learned to be comfortable. That was until I came to Acres of Hope. I learned there was a different approach to life than what I had grew up seeing. I saw healthy moms comforting, edifying, and providing for their kids. I wanted that with my children. On my own, I didn’t even know where to begin. I would come home to my cottage and look at my children’s beds and wonder if I could give them the love I hadn’t known when I was growing up. Could I do something different than what the generations before me had revealed through their lives? I found out in time that I could. When my kids came home looking in their eyes and holding their little faces in my hands I knew I would give everything to protect them and keep them safe. Acres of Hope gave me a new foundation, so I could break dysfunctional cycles and because of it, I learned to be a mom.”
There is a place here in Northern California that is breaking the cycles of homelessness, trauma, legacies of addiction, abuse, and dysfunction. It is a place where a woman who has children can learn there is a strong mother inside of herself. She just needed the safety, stability, and a support system that would show her a love that she hadn’t experienced in her youth, so she can give her little ones the love they need.
This is what hope looks like. This is Acres of Hope.
To learn more about Acres of Hope and how they break the cycle of homelessness visit http://acresofhopeonline.org.
Jackie Turner is the ministry outreach coordinator for Acres of Hope in Auburn.
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