Theresa was not a foster mom or in any program that would prompt DHR to call her. The call came because the oldest of the four new children (a 7 year old) had specifically requested her. This wasn’t the first time he and his younger siblings had been taken out of their home. It wasn’t even the first time the youngest of them (a 3 month old) had almost died due to his mother's extreme neglect (this time due to falling off the couch and hanging himself on a sheet). He was blue and unresponsive when the police arrived, and he was so starved that he was barely over his birth weight). All of the children were horribly sick as well. What was different this time is that the 7 year old remembered a Sunday School lesson from a year prior when Theresa did a segment on safety and how to reach out to safe adults if needed. She had told the children they could always call her if they ever needed anything. Tyler remembered that and asked DHR to call her.
Theresa and her husband took one hour to talk and pray about it before making the decision to take in the four additional children (aged 7, 3, 2, and 3 months). After DHR placed the children with them for their safety, my friends were issued permanent custody by the judge. Because Theresa and her husband were not in the foster care program, they did not qualify for any type of funds whatsoever. (I know it doesn’t seem right, and surely there should be a way to get monies to care for these kids, but after a year of caring for these children, they have yet to find a way to qualify for financial help. Believe me, they’ve tried.) And they have now depleted their own savings by caring for these children.
Drug abuse, neglect, and sex trafficking is what these children came from, and the baby has been in regular therapy due to physical problems caused by lack of oxygen to the brain when he almost died. Theresa navigates a minimum of 25 appointments per month for speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy, mental health counseling, medical specialists, etc. And in addition to all the regular bills that would be expected in raising these children, this couple has also incurred extensive legal feels to fight for protection for their own family and children from the abusive parents. (Because they have not been accused of anything, they do not qualify for free legal representation. They have spent $10,000 out of their own pocket for legal fees alone.)
Theresa and her husband are saints in my book and quite literally lifesavers for these children. As they now have numerous kids to care for and continue to fight legal battles to protect these children from their abusive parents, they need help. Sometimes it really does take a village. I asked her if I could start a Go Fund Me campaign for her. Her attorney has advised her that we must use fake names to protect their identities.
Would you be able to help? If you can contribute literally any amount at all, they would be incredibly grateful. And if you would say a prayer for them, they would appreciate it more than you know. Thank you for whatever help you can provide.
- Cheryl Jackson
- Elena Willets
- Elena Willets
- Michael Thornton
Organizer and beneficiary
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