For Courtney, the concept of home didn’t really exist.
Courtney’s mom had always struggled with abusing drugs and alcohol. When Courtney was a small child, her mother would leave her for days at a time with friends or relatives. She was never sure if her mom would come back.
With her father out of the picture, there wasn’t anybody to take care of Courtney.
When Courtney was 14, her mother went into a rehabilitation program. Courtney stayed with different relatives. After her mother finished the program, Courtney was able to live with her again.
At first, things seemed much better. Her mother was sober, could hold a job, and paid more attention to Courtney. Courtney wasn’t staying at different places each week. She was able to start building a relationship with her mom.
Things finally felt stable.
Soon, her mother began dating a new boyfriend. He seemed nice at first. Courtney liked having him around.
But when he moved in, things changed. Courtney quickly discovered he was not what he seemed. He would scream and Courtney and her mother at a moment’s notice. He would get angry and belittle them.
Eventually, things turned violent.
Her mother seemed to be in denial about what was happening, and didn’t want to do anything about it. Courtney dreaded going home, so she wandered the streets after school.
Eventually, it became more than Courtney could bear. She tried to contact the authorities about the way her mother’s boyfriend was treating them. Her mother caught her, and was so angry she threw Courtney out of the house. Courtney went to live with her grandmother.
Finally out of harm’s way, the pain of what she’d been going through weighed on Courtney. She became depressed. She stopped caring about school, and her grades plummeted. She refused to leave the house, and she stopped talking to her friends.
Her grandmother knew she wasn’t able to give Courtney the support she needed, so she contacted Mercy Home.
When Courtney first arrived at Mercy Home, she was distant. She assumed it would be like any other place she had stayed at before: temporary. She didn’t see the point in getting to know our coworkers or our other girls if she was just going to end up leaving.
Our coworkers assured Courtney that Mercy Home was different. She could stay here as long as she needed. After a while, Courtney realized it was true. Everyone here was kind to her, and she never felt unsafe.
She understood that Mercy Home could truly become her home.
Courtney started making positive changes right away. She began joining in activities with our other girls. She became more comfortable opening up about her experiences to her therapist. Her grades improved.
Most importantly, Courtney began to smile more often.
Thanks to your friendship and support, we are able to provide kids like Courtney with a safe place for them to heal from the pain of their pasts. Your kindness gives these kids what they long for—a place to call home.
Please note: Because we care deeply about protecting our children’s privacy, the names and certain identifying details in this story have been changed.