Life on the Front Lines of Service

Your commitment to a legacy of care has provided a home to thousands of children over the course of 144 years, as well as some very special caregivers who have made it their life’s work to serve at Thornwell.

Sixteen years ago, Leah and Adam were married college graduates with a lifetime of plans ahead of them. Involved in their church and working with young people, they found themselves on a mission to visit a boys ranch in Alabama. It was there that the Lord intervened and called them to a lifetime of youth ministry–more specifically, a calling to love those in foster care. Leah said, “It seemed crazy to us! Adam was going to be an engineer and I was actively working as an accountant, but this was bigger than us. We knew God was revealing something beautiful (although scary) and we just needed to say yes!” Shortly after this life-changing visit, Adam and Leah were introduced to Thornwell–a place they would soon call home. With tears welling up in her eyes, Leah said, “It was like the Lord uniquely designed this path for us, and looking back all these years, I’d say he did. He’s been with us in every season and with every child.
It was like the Lord uniquely designed this path for us. He’s been with us in every season and with every child.
Today, Leah and Adam continue to be Family Teachers caring for eight teenage girls at any one time, in addition to their own three children who lovingly serve as surrogate siblings and have grown up at Thornwell. Their days look a lot like any other family, but are interwoven with stories of abuse, neglect, and rejection of the girls they serve. Day in and day out, this family unit shares meals together, have recreation time and outings as a family, and they teach the girls what life in a safe and stable home environment is like. They help with homework and make sure the girls attend school; they teach them hygiene and how to do chores such as cleaning their rooms and washing their clothes; and they guide the girls through the ups and downs of teenage life. “We see the face of child and family welfare changing as more and more older children are placed with us in the residential program. We know that teens are hard, but they matter more than ever, and sharing life with and loving them is a privilege. In fact, we see in Jesus’ ministry a love that’s practically and tangibly meeting needs like we do today–he healed the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the mute. He fed the hungry and defended those outcast by society. We continue his ministry by serving as his hands and feet,” says Adam. He continued, “Some kids stay with us for years, and some stay for days. Sometimes loving them means simply feeding and clothing the girls, and helping them build a bridge for reuniting with their families. No matter what, it’s work that’s planting eternal seeds and that’s work worth investing our lives into.
No matter what, it’s work that’s planting eternal seeds and that’s work worth investing our lives into.
Adam and Leah have seen more than 60 children and teens pass through their residential home, and they swell with pride as they talk about all the successes they’ve witnessed through the years. For Adam, one of his proudest moments came when one of their girls who graduated from the program asked him to walk her down the aisle to marry the man of her dreams. That’s family! Your generous gifts are bearing rich fruit, and through them, you have touched so many lives! Thank you!

You can give today to impact more children and families like those served by Leah and Adam.

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