This month we are highlighting short-term care and our blog comes from Dave Bowers, DTCRA Leader and Outreach Coordinator for Safe Families Northern California (SFNC) and Shelly Wells, the SFNC Program Coordinator. The following story highlights the experience of the LaRocque family (pictured above) who brought consistency and support to their host child, “Lucy” and her young mother through this short term care experience.
“I (Shelly) recently read a blog of a wise women who said of child rearing, ‘the days are long and the years are short.’ As a mom with a son in his last year of High School, I ask myself, ‘where have the years gone?’ And if you are a family with young kids or somewhere in between, I am sure these words easily resonate in your heart also. We all had days that we counted down the minutes until bedtime and we had a quiet house to ourselves. Providing short-term care to children in need of a temporary safe place can feel this way sometimes as well…days might seem long but you blink and kids are being reunited with their parents. Steve and Jennifer LaRocque along with their three girls show us that, as believers answering God’s call to defend the fatherless, we must live out the gospel with intentionality for all to see.
From the beginning the LaRocques were ready to say “yes” to whatever and whomever God laid before them. Less than one week after their Home Study was complete, they had their first placement which lasted several weekends. Shortly afterwards 13-month-old “Lucy” came to live with their family and in the process of building a strong connection with her, the LaRocques also developing a strong relationship with “Lucy’s” young mother, a 21 year old doing all she could to get herself out of her crisis. While this young mom was under some very difficult circumstances she was embraced like family. From trying to get her connected to a local shelter for women to taking her to church with them on occasion, the caring friendship that developed between these two families reminds us of the mutually positive impact short-term care makes.
As a mom, Jennifer has seen the many blessings these hostings have had in the lives of her own children since being involved with Safe Families. She has been able to watch her 6-year old learn to gently care for another child and her 8-year old be willing to share a favorite toy with a new friend as a result of the lessons learned being a host family. The commitment to care for kids in need has not come without long days and some sleepless nights but, as Jennifer reﬂects on God’s goodness, she is thankful for how Christ has used experiences like the one with Lucy to mold and shape her family.
The hard, but good, gospel work of hosting children whose lives have been turned upside-down by circumstances outside of their control has already begun to bear lasting fruit in both families lives. While the short-term care opportunity helped the LaRocque family learn more of God’s character and heart for His children, “Lucy” and her mom have gained practical support in a crucial time. Since “Lucy’s” first visit to the LaRocque family, she has returned off and on to short-term care homes, with the LaRocque family taking the lead on most of these hostings.”
While “Lucy’s” mom still has many obstacles to overcome, the developing network of support and relationship between the LaRocques and this young, single mother in need has allowed her to continue her journey towards wholeness while keeping her daughter safe. Without the dedication and sacrificial giving of the LaRocque family and host families like theirs this young mother and her daughter may have had a very different story.