Many of our neighbors are facing life and death situations and we may not even know about it. Just two years ago, Melissa Brown was admitted to the hospital in dire need of a miracle. She needed a heart transplant. On August 29, 2015, her prayers were answered when she received a heart.
But a donor heart comes at a price; someone’s loss was her gain. The loss of a husband and son made Melissa’s second chance possible. A year post-op, she came face to face and met the donor’s mother and wife. As a token of her appreciation, Melissa gave each of the women special teddy bears with a recording of the heartbeat that gave her new life. There were many tears and hugs. It brought great comfort to the family.
What Melissa has done with her new life is nothing short of extraordinary. Along with her sister, Sarah, the two women attended classes to become foster parents. Since September of 2016, they have had thirteen children, mostly boys – ages ten to eighteen, come through their home. Sarah is currently in the process of adopting a nine year old.
These women both work full time jobs, and yet have found a way to make room in their home and lives to love and serve young people who need it the most. Did you know that there are adolescents being placed in shelters and even hotels when the foster system is unable to find a place for them to call home? Melissa shared with me that there are the many resources available, such a transportation, that is provided for the children in her care.
You, too, can make a difference. If you’re interested in fostering a child, visit www.oregon.gov/DHS/children/fostercare.
You don’t have to be a foster parent to help a child in the system. There are special summer camps for foster children. One in particular that is aimed for teens is Teen Reach Adventure Camps, and they’re located right in our back yard community in Sherwood. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit teenreach.org.