A typical day at Miracle Hill Children’s Home is filled with love, laughs, hugs, play time and sometimes an argument or two. I realize that I am completely biased when I say that the boys in Ligon Cottage are the most wonderful children in the world. We currently have nine boys between the ages of 5 and 8 and all have different stories of abuse or neglect. The trauma that my boys have experienced affect how “typical” our day can be.
Like most families, we have homework after school, followed by playtime and then dinner and devotions. We are blessed because we get to eat all of our meals as a family. This can be hard for some children. One sibling group was constantly standing up to eat their meals. We asked them why one day, and they said that when they were at home, they didn’t have a table and chairs and usually ate standing up or sitting on the floor. Other kids may not have gotten much food to eat at home and are very happy when they get seconds. With nine children it is difficult to prepare foods that everyone will like, so we came up with “grace” food. Each child gets to choose one food that whenever it is served, they don’t have to eat — that is their “grace” food.
Some days my boys have family visits with parents. These visits can be stressful for the child. They are usually excited to see their family, but many times children have nightmares before or after a visit. They have fears that we can’t always make go away. If we know a child is going to have a difficult night, we try to make accommodations to help comfort that child. It might involve special one on one time, reading a bedtime story, or praying. Another difference in our home is that we sleep with lots of lights on. The bathroom light and hallway light are left on all night to make each of our kids feel safe. One sweet five year old insists that someone stay with him in his bedroom and that the light stay on until he goes to sleep.
Bedtimes can be very special. One of my six year olds insists on a story, prayer time, a back rub, a bear hug, a soft hug and butterfly kisses every night before bed. I love it! Bedtimes are usually when kids tell you what’s going on in their minds and hearts. Many times they say they miss their mom and dad and want you to pray that their parents are safe. Other times they will tell you a secret that they’ve told no one else. Recently, one boy told me that he was afraid to go to sleep because when he died he wasn’t going to heaven. He is now! He asked Jesus to forgive him of his sins and come into his heart.
I won’t bore you with details about the arguments, after all they are children and that’s what children do. I will tell you that if one boy is sad and crying, there are eight others who know what they are going through and know how to sit with them and be their friend.
By the way, did I mention that Ligon Cottage has the most wonderful children in the world?