At 17, Tina was already too old for her years—and too young to be a mom.
We met Tina as she was finishing treatment for alcohol addiction in a rehab facility. Even now, you could see the mistakes of her past in the scars on her arms and the shame that made her drift away from eye contact. She’d been running hard down the wrong road all her life, and she had no plans to change direction until the fourth pregnancy test in a row finally convinced her this was really happening. Following maternal instincts she never would’ve guessed she had, Tina checked herself into rehab two weeks later.
Now she was eight months pregnant, and heading home would reopen dangerous doors to temptation. We provided Tina with a free room at The LIGHT House Maternity Home and stuck by her side like family through the especially vulnerable time of newfound sobriety combined with childbirth. With an emotionally open community holding her steady, Tina didn’t need to turn back to old methods of coping.
And then he was there: just a warm slip of satin bundled tight in her arms, clear-eyed like his future still had some sort of chance. Tina still didn’t know what she was doing, but she knew that baby Everest deserved better than the chaos that had left her own childhood cluttered and confused.
So she stayed in the sanctuary of the maternity home, and she practiced new skills like swaddling and car seat safety. As Everest learned to lift his head and then roll over, Tina was learning everything from infant CPR and affordable nutrition to anger management and self-defense.
Tina didn’t have time to go looking for her old life of addiction. When she wasn’t working her retail job, she was advancing through The LIGHT House program to build the parenting, personal, and professional skills she’d need to provide her child with long-term stability. Now she could balance a checkbook, craft a resume, and recognize the signs of an abusive relationship before she was caught in the thick of overwhelming emotions. And on the nights when the baby simply wouldn’t sleep and the grief came in howling with darkness and doubts, Tina whispered the verses she’d taped to her wall to remind her of who she was in Christ.
Fourteen months after a too-skinny pregnant kid had first kicked her Converse onto the carpet and made herself at home, Tina and her son were ready to move out. She had found nurturing childcare, been approved for an apartment, and even saved enough money to buy a car. She wasn’t adrift; she had a complete community surrounding her still. But Tina was proud of her ability to care for her own family as a capable adult.
She wasn’t an addict, a victim, or an underaged statistic. The baby was cared for—but so was Tina. Whatever she’d done, whoever she’d been, she was caught in the love of a good Father God.