LAKELAND (FBCH)—It was a hot muggy day in July of 2008 when three sisters Sierra, Erika, and Alexandra were placed in the emergency shelter on the Lakeland campus of the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. A couple of months later they moved into one of the Lakeland cottages where they were embraced by their house parents.
Pam Whitaker, residential director for the Lakeland campus, said that after nearly four years of living at the Children’s Homes they are leaving to live with a relative in another state.
“When they first arrived they were just little kids aged 7, 9, and 10. And like most kids at the Children’s Homes, they have had to overcome some very difficult circumstances in their life.”
“All three of them have grown physically and spiritually and are well prepared to take the next steps in their life. Of course, it’s very sad to see them go, but God’s timing is perfect and now is their time,” Whitaker said.
The sisters have a lot of memories of their life at the Children’s Homes and have developed a relationship with Christ. “The second day I was here was the Fourth of July. I was pretty little, but I remember watching the fireworks with the other kids. That made me feel better,” Erika said.
Sierra has positive memories as well.
“I am going to remember my house parents and how they encouraged me in my relationship with Jesus. I am also going to remember the great trip we took to Sea World,” Sierra said.
Jerry Haag, president of the Children’s Homes, said the girls’ house parents made a big difference and will be a lasting influence in their lives.
“The growth and development of these three girls is a testament to the devotion and commitment of our caring house parents who pour themselves into the lives of the kids they serve,” Haag said.
Jeanette Hanson, a house parent who cared for the girls along with her husband Eric for more than three years, gave a good report.
“These precious girls have grown into three beautiful women of God. I am just so proud of them. It was an honor to know them and to be able to mother them,” Hanson said.
Haag said house parents are important.
“Our house parents are on the front lines and minister to our many wonderful children every day in the name of Jesus. They are making an incredible difference,” Haag said.
Haag said that they currently have openings for house parent couples in various locations across the state. For more information on serving as a house parent, contact the Children’s Homes at 863-687-8811 or see the FBCH website at FBCHomes.org.