Kristy endured a childhood of confusion, abandonment and abuse, yet one courageous move allowed KyUMH to help her life change.
Kristy’s young, mother wasn’t ready to be a mom and her father was never part of her life. She was often left with a local family by her mother for several days. After keeping Kristy so often, the family threatened to file abandonment charges. Naïve, Kristy’s mother allowed the family to take custody of her without becoming legal guardians. Over the next few months, Kristy’s mother would pick her up for brief visits. Each time, she pleaded with her mom not to take her back. Believing the repetitive separation was too much for her four year old, Kristy’s mother stopped visiting.
Kristy's guardians were physically and emotionally abusive. They told her the memories of her birth family were all in her mind, her parents died, they didn’t exist. They sent her to school in first grade bruised and wearing a pinned-on cloth diaper. She was made to rewash all of the dishes if one was found unclean. Her bedroom door was so filled with cracks that a glass of water would freeze in cold weather. Her home life had become so oppressive Kristy attempted suicide while only in fifth grade. School became her only refuge, “It’s where I felt loved.” Often when she was sick, the school custodian realizing how much she dreaded home, allowed her to sleep on a couch in the boiler room and cared for her so she wouldn’t have to go home.
At fourteen, Kristy was always locked in her room by sundown with no bathroom access. One evening, she sat on the floor and prayed desperately to God for help. Then, with a sudden burst of courage and strength she felt from the prayer, she kicked the old farmhouse door until it broke from its nailed-up hinges. When her guardians came to investigate, she began fighting them. “To get where I had to be, it was something I had to do. I would never have done that, it was the first time I had ever done anything disrespectful.” The following day, a social worker took Kristy from school to the courthouse - her guardians had filed charges against her. After hearing teachers’ suspicions of child abuse, the social worker and judge sided with Kristy. That’s when Kristy first came to KyUMH.
Soon after arrival, Kristy realized that KyUMH was a safe place. For the first time, she felt loved and accepted. She realized her prayer had been answered. She fondly recalls her time there and recounts some of the little things that meant a lot to her, “We got an allowance - I never had an allowance before. We even went shopping – I had never gone shopping.” Kristy regularly met with counselors and dealt with anger toward her guardians and toward her mother for leaving her.
Today, Kristy has a family of her own with her husband, J.D. and three sons. She has been a stay-at-home mom until recently starting work in an after school program.
Reflecting on her time at KyUMH she said, “You don’t see what a blessing it is until you’re older and look back, thinking - if it wasn’t for that place, I don’t know where I would have been. I’m grateful to have had that opportunity!”
Thanks to your support, the Kentucky United Methodist Children’s Homes has helped Kristy, and others like her, open new doors to the life God intended for them.