The Shepherd's LightHouse, Inc.

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        Shepherd’s Lighthouse Butterfly Stories

 

                                    

                                        

      

 

                                                                 

Butterfly 04001 came to Shepherd’s LightHouse in June of 2004. I remember this day because I had anticipated her arrival for a month. See this butterfly was the very first resident into our program. All of the hard work that had gone into preparing a room for her and her then 6 week old baby had finally paid off. As I was standing there this mother came over to me and handed me her baby. I looked down into the eyes of this tiny gift and realized that I had to do whatever it took to help this mother find her life path.

The months went by and I could see change starting to take place with this mother. She was lost in the beginning but, was willing to do whatever it took to get her life back on track. She became stronger and was able to make solid decisions that with our guidance helped set her free from the life of uncertainty and depression. Butterfly 04001 stayed with us until July 2005 and in that year she learned values and techniques that she still uses today. Moving forward 10 years I can happily say that this butterfly is married with 5 other children. The tiny baby has brothers and sisters and she lives up north. She calls every holiday and checks in with us on Facebook. She admits that her life post Shepherd’s Lighthouse has not always been easy but, because of being here she now can take on any challenge with a renewed strength.

                     

 

Butterfly05001 arrived in 2005 she was homeless and needed our guidance on how to get her children returned to her. Her poor choices in life lead her children being placed in foster care. When I first met this Butterfly I could see the passion in her eyes and the sorrow that comes with not having your children with you. She had a fire in her that helped her overcome obstacles that kept her separated from her children. This case was difficult due to the shear nature of seeing the brokenness of her children when the children came for a visit and had to leave without their mother.

Within the eight months that this butterfly stayed with us she was able to find employment, get her children placed with her, and moved into a nice trailer. After moving this butterfly was met with facing her demons and did not win. She lost her children again and lost her home. This mother was one of the most fearless mothers that kept on fighting for her future no matter what came her way. Her children eventually was place with her family in another state while she remained here. She often told me that that was the best thing for her children and she now has found peace with the knowledge that she could not take care of her children.

Today this butterfly is married again to a wonderful man and visits with us when she can.

 

 

                                            

Butterfly 05006 had two wonderful daughters when she moved in 2005. This young mother had struggled all of her life trying to get her life back and moving in a positive direction. While living at Shepherd’s LightHouse this mother was taught how to value herself and the importance of putting yourself first. This mother admitted that she would always look for someone to be the leader in her life. She had lost her identity as a mother and as a woman.

Butterfly 05006 stayed with us for five months. Her children faced a lot of changes while being with their mother. The oldest suffered with the inability to focus and concentrate. This lead too many battles between her and her mother. She missed her father and wanted to live with him. The younger child was just a baby and learned how to walk while here.

When it came time for this butterfly to leave she moved out with family. She did get her own place in a short period of time. Her organizational skills and the new found belief system she learned at the LightHouse led her to finishing an online class and landing a wonderful job.

She since has gotten married and gave birth to a little boy. She no longer lives in this area but, sends us up dates about her life.

                                             

 

Butterfly 06004 found herself overcoming many things in the late years of life. This butterfly was 43 when I met her and had a young son. She had to allow her son to live with family while she got her life together. She was a long time drug addict and had not been able to overcome this obstacle. When she made a commitment to her life instead of drugs she was able to learn how to live her life one day at a time. Her son was returned to her and she was able to get a very good job working at a local nursing home. Her son was able to become a very good student in school after receiving tutoring and stable housing.

She admits that she still makes poor choices and did struggle after leaving our program. Counseling that she received did help her reunite with her family. She did move into a nice home and moved her other children in with her. This family today is still together and is learning how to work together.

                                 

 

Butterfly 08012 was living place to place with her four children. This mother had tried for years to get her life going in the right direction but was unable to. With four children this mother had to learn how to be a single parent. During our evaluation it was discovered that Butterfly 08012 was completely overwhelmed with the children and lacked any parenting skills. We had to work on her abilities to discipline, cook healthy meals and organize her life. There were times that I did not think this mother would be able to take care of her children.

I am proud to say this Butterfly was able to set up all systems of support for her family. She got a job and moved out into her own place. Today she remains on her own and has held down a job for six years with the same company. Her children are doing well and each one attends school or daycare. This butterfly calls time to time to let us know that she is ok and that everything is alright.

 

                                 

 

Butterfly 09025 came to us depressed and desperate. She had nine children and all but one was living with family because she was unable to provide for them. This mother was broken and missed her children very much. The only thing she wanted was to live with all of her children under one roof again. We took her for regular visits with her children and she worked her goal plans every day. This mother loved her children but, seemed to find herself caught up in situations with the fathers that she could not overcome. She admits that she was glad her family stepped in and helped her.

Unfortunately time ran out for us to help this Butterfly and we had to move her into another agency program. She did stay in that program long enough to get her children back and all of them are now living under one roof. She is still working and did have number ten child.

                                       

                             

The story of Butterfly 10022 starts back two years prior to coming to Shepherd’s Lighthouse. It was a warm day in Kentucky and her husband told her that he was taking their six children to the store with him and would be back in a few. He kissed her goodbye and that was the last day this mother would see her children for the next two years. She looked everywhere and could not find them. The husband had brought the children to Florida on a bus and had hidden the children using fake names. He lived in various places and told the oldest ones that their mother did not want them anymore. He brain washed them so they would follow his instructions.

The children did follow their father and he soon found that raising six children on your own was not easy. He moved a woman that he was dating in with him to help with the smaller children. This woman only loved the man not the children the youngest child suffered unspeakable pain for being in this woman’s care. He was locked in the closet, not fed for days, and was subjected to beatings. The father turned his eyes away from this and kept living with her. The youngest was so badly under nourished that it stunted his growth and cause him to have heart damage. The father in fear of being caught by the police called the Department of Children and Families and turned the children over to them.

This was the beginning and end to a long journey for a grieving mother in a small town in Kentucky. Butterfly 10022 road into Ocala on a bus in August 2010. Our program was notified about this family and after hearing the story I had to help this mother anyway I could.  When I first talked to this woman I could see the pain in her eyes that poured out with each teardrop. As we talked about her children she knew everything about them but, since she had been separated from them for two years she had to earn their trust again.

She longed to hold her children and kiss them but, they held back from her at first due to not knowing her. The youngest one was only a baby when he was taken from her so he had the hardest time reconnecting and bonding with her. We worked eight months with this family helping them reunite and to complete a case plan for her. The children did come to live at Shepherd’s Lighthouse a few at a time until all of them were under one roof again.

In April 2011 late in the afternoon the call came in that this family was released from all court cases in Florida and could return home to Kentucky. Me and my case manager loaded up this family and their belongings and drove all night to drop them off at their home. I will never forget the looks on their faces to finally be home and have each other. As I walked through their home they would say this is my room that is my bed. It filled my heart with such joy knowing that I had been a part of bringing a family through this life storm. Time to time we still hear form this family and they always are thankful for the help that was given to them.

Butterfly 10022 will forever be in my mind and heart. This case made me believe in Shepherd’s Lighthouse and the dedication to helping others that it stands for even more.  

                                          

 

Butterfly 09022 was accepted into our program in 2009. She brought with her two small girls. The children clung to their mother tightly upon their arrival but, quickly learned to trust others. This Butterfly learned many life skills here and was able to open up about her past. She had struggled a lot with not being able to provide for her children. She had the skills to make it but, lacked the confidence in herself.

While working with this Butterfly I saw a ray of sunshine coming forth. She landed a job and moved out into an apartment. Her children grew to trust others again and they finally had a home of her own for them. She did admit that she did struggle at times with her new life but, was willing to make it happen.

As I look back at Butterfly 09022 I realized that five years has past. I am proud to say that this mother and her children are still living on their own and she is a P.M. Manger at a transitional housing home. She no longer lives close to the Lighthouse but, she says she is still doing well. She did learn how to drive and now has her license. When contacting us she says that her children are now 10 and 6 with a little addition of a brother 2. I am very proud of this mother because she never gave up and kept moving forward with her life. 

                                           

 

When Butterfly 06028 arrived I saw a scared young mother confused with no direction. In talking with this mother I noticed that she talked very loud and very fast. She would talk so fast that I would have to tell her to slow down so I could keep up. I felt that she needed to get everything out so she did not forget something.

The poor choices that this young mother made was numerous. She had one child before the age of 21 and that one was taken from her because she could not provide for her. I remember the only thing she would say is I want my family complete I want my daughter back. After going over her case a life goal plan was set into place for her to follow. Finally she would have direction in her life and have someone to help her make it.

Christmas time came and went while this mother was here. She worried about not having gifts for her child and clothes for her to wear.  See she never forgot her child that was taken from her. That year her child received gifts from the Shepherd Lighthouse supporters. We were able to mail a box of gifts to her daughter. We were told they did arrive and the child was over joyed with them. This mother did not get to share in the joy of seeing the child open her gifts.

By the New Year we had done everything we could to prepare this mother for her new life. She had completed all of her classes, had her job, had systems of support set up, and moved into an affordable apartment. Her daughter would be able to come and live with her soon as long as she continued to do well.

We checked in time to time to make sure that she was doing well or she would call us every day. She had made it, she was working, sustaining, and living on her own. Then one weekend we did not hear from her and she had missed work. We went to her apartment found that she had not been there. I cannot tell you the fear that came over me for this mother. We desperately tried to find her but could not. Then she called she had left with a group of people and ended up in Gainesville. Not sure how she got there or who these people were. She couldn’t remember everything she had done but, ask if we would come and get her. The case manager and myself took the Lighthouse van to Gainesville and met her at a gas station parking lot.

She had not eaten or bathed in days. All she remembered was going there the rest was a blur. We were so happy that she was going home with us and that we out reached a hand to her again. This Butterfly did not stay in this area for long because she lost her apartment and was led to move to Tampa. While in Tampa she met the love of her life and got married. She has added two other children to her family and got her oldest child back to live with her. Her and her husband did have a fourth child that they knew they could not provide for. We received a call from her and we were able to help talk her through an adoption process. This was very hard for her but, she states it was the best thing that could have happened.

She remains married today and her children are all doing well.