This is Andy and he is my son. Yes the young man standing next to my wife, that’s Andy. And for those of you still wondering, yes he is white.
Andy was one of the over 1400 children considered homeless (living in several places every week with no permanent address or literally homeless on the street) while attending Alief ISD. I first learned of Andy after receiving a phone call from the districts Homeless liaison office. She explained that they had a student whose mother just passed away (after a 7 year sickness) and was about to become a ward of the state because he was a minor and the home he was living in was deemed uninhabitable. He also had no family members that were able or willing to provide and care for him. She asked me if I or my church (Agape Community Bible Church) could do anything to help him. Before I explain why my wife and I felt like the right choice was to bring Andy into our family, let me back up about a month before this.
While attending a meeting with Alief ISD’s Superintendent, our group began discussing social issues within the district. All of the issues being brought up were valid and needed attention to correct each one, however when someone mentioned that the number of homeless children in Alief was on the rise my attention became undivided on the issue. Homelessness and fatherlessness have always been at the center of who I am when it comes to caring for my fellow man. I watched my father care for many homeless people, and become a father figure to many young men some of whom are still my friends. It was the example set before me when I was young and I still follow it to this day.
I found and arranged a meeting with the homeless liaison for Alief and communicated my earnest desire to do something
After hearing about the disparaging numbers of children who were facing homelessness I wanted to do something, anything. I found and arranged a meeting with the homeless liaison for Alief and communicated my earnest desire to impact this issue. Even if it was washing clothes, offering a place to take a shower, helping with food, I wanted to help. Our church also started a clothing bank to help these children with making sure they felt comfortable at school in their clothes.
It was about a month after this that I received the call requesting help for Andy of any kind. I let me wife know about the situation and we began to pray about it, not expecting that God would ask us to open our home. While I was praying about how to help Andy, I was overwhelmed with memories of how my father helped fatherless children and how my Grandfather gave shelter to the homeless people in the community. I felt God saying to me that it was my legacy and heritage to help this homeless and fatherless child. I had one problem, how do I tell my wife that I believed God was leading us to open our home to Andy. I decided that the best way was to just openly tell her what God had laid on my heart, and let God do the rest. It did not take long before Chantell came to sit with me and asked me what I wanted to do. “It’s my legacy” I said. She knew exactly what I was saying and agreed with total support.
The next day, I called the Homeless Liaison letting her know that not only could we help Andy, but we wanted him to come live with us. I heard a long silence on the other line, only to realize that she was crying. “Pastor, I can’t believe you are doing this” she said. “It’s my legacy” I replied. The rest is history. Andy came to live with us that same week and has been with us ever since.
In my next post, I’ll discuss what life has been like having Andy with us, the racial conversations we’ve had, and the day he asked me, “can I call you dad.”
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