The following testimony is from Teri Altpeter, who shared her story at our May 28th "We Need Your Light" Concert and Packing Event. In case you were unable to attend, I wanted you to hear her powerful testimony of how the church community wrapped around her while she served a family with four kids, through Safe Families for Children.
There was a single mom in my community that had to go to Mayo Clinic for treatment and possible surgery. It was guesstimated that she would be gone for 2 mos if treatment worked, much longer if surgery was necessary. These four children were very involved in school and their father lived and worked several miles away from them. The mom has been putting off going to Mayo for more than a year and her body was breaking down. She was in so much pain. Besides how could she leave her children for that long? Who would care for them for that long? Friends of hers suggested Safe Families and they knew of a local family, mine.
Since we only had one child and plenty of space for more, we said we would consider it. It was something that had to be thought out thoroughly for logistic reasons. We were going from a family of three to a family of seven. There were now four schools to get five children to and they had the same start times on opposite sides of the town. There was before school activities, after school activities, extra-curricular activities and visitations with their father to coordinate. This required extra help. (Their father took them every weekend when he wasn't traveling for work. He also would take one child out one night a week for dinner when he was able.)
Through friends and family of ours, friends of theirs, the Compassion and Justice team at Huntley Willow and God, we were able to provide a safe, loving, all needs met environment for these kids. We had drivers for the 'to and from' schools, gas and grocery cards provided, delicious meals dropped off, and even money given. All our needs were met. Our home was in harmony with all the lives inside of it. There was a peace that had fallen over the home. One night my husband looks over at me and says: "Call up that adoption agency, we need to have children in our home on a permanent basis." As you know, that lead to our adoption of Zane.
We became close with the children and the mom and even their father. Mom's treatment did work and she did return home within 2 months. Her health is good, though she does have some challenging days. She has completed beauty school along with training at a large salon and is working full time for the first time in many, many years.
The mom also fallen in love and is now married a wonderful Christian man. They attended marriage classes here at Willow and was married in the Chapel. I with a couple of the close friends who wrapped the tightest around the family, walked down the isle in order that is in honor of the "Parents of Bride".
I believe none of this would of happened if it wasn't for Safe Families who gave the mom piece of mind in trusting us and the church friends in our the community supporting us in providing for these children.
Teri Altpeter has been a Safe Families Host for about 7 years, and is on the Vulnerable Children's Ministry Leadership Team at Willow Creek Community Church, where she serves as a Safe Families Church Coordinator.
For more information about Safe Families for Children, visit www.safe-families.org.