■ By Julie Earl / Contributed
There are so many rumors and speculations about the homeless, and it breaks my heart to hear all the negatives without knowing their story and/or having solid facts. Prior to August 2015 I had seen the homeless, helped a few in colder weather by providing sleeping bags and food, but I never judged any of them. Instead, I wondered how they might have gotten to where they were and how they could get back on their feet. I never took it any further than helping a few people here and there.
In August 2015, I met Stacie Olson with Project Hope II, here in Hemet, and had the pleasure of riding with her while going out to survey the homeless. She started out by helping a few in 2013, but unlike me, she listened to God and her obedience lead to the foundation of Project Hope II.
During our time out doing the surveys, I was able to hear people’s stories. Yes, some have mental issues, addictions, and disabilities, but a good portion of them want help. I have been part of getting several off the streets and back onto their feet.
Homeless and pregnant
One lady I met in March of 2016 was pregnant, and she asked for help. We managed to make prenatal doctor appointments for her but she refused each time, being in fear of the judgment she’d receive from the nurses and doctors.
It was tough watching her deny help, but we did not give up on her. We continued to visit her every two to four weeks to make sure she was doing OK, provide some toiletries and snacks, and pray with her. If we missed a week she would be very sad and let us know how much it meant to her that someone cared enough to visit her.
On July 30, 2016, during our visit, she asked me if I would adopt her baby and raise him as my own. She said she knew I would be a good mom for him because I’ve shown her how much I care for her and the homeless in her area.
Being a cervical cancer survivor and not able to have children, I had given up on being a mom and thought God had led me to help the homeless. However, God had not given up on me, so I said yes. I let go and trusted him, and now he was entrusting me be a mom to this baby. Wow!
In the next few weeks I scrambled to get ready for this baby. I called numerous attorneys only to be told they wouldn’t represent me because I didn’t have a current home study.
I did not give up and finally found the perfect attorney who had all the paperwork completed and on file with the hospital in 24 hours. She helped me get all the clearances for the birth parents and set us up for a smooth birth and transition.
I also spent as much time with the birth mom as I could to find out her history, family background, and anything that I might need later on.
A selfless and loving decision
Early in the morning of August 22, I received the call she was in labor, so I picked her up and we went to the hospital. I was in the room and had the privilege of watching him being born.
It was the most beautiful thing in the world, and at the same time my heart broke for this woman, who had built a friendship with me, who was making the most selfless decision of her life to give up her son so he could have a better chance at a good life.
You see, this lady who is homeless had a rough childhood and didn’t know anything else. In the time I spent with her I grew to love her. I learned she is highly intelligent and she does want help, but she is afraid of failure and disappointing others.
When I was handed this new baby boy minutes after he was born and told “congratulations” by the nurse, I cried and I prayed, dedicating him right back to God.
And despite birth mom’s request to not see him, I kissed her forehead, thanked her, loved on her and asked her to please look at this beautiful miracle she created and blessed me with. You know what she did? She opened her eyes, looked at him, and said “He’s beautiful and you are blessing me by keeping him safe, loving him and raising him to be a good man.”
I have had him since birth and on June 15, he legally became my son. He is the happiest, smartest, and most precious baby boy I’ve ever seen, and he’s all mine! Thanks to this selfless, beautiful, homeless lady who blessed me with a son, I am now a mother.
I will never forget her and how she blessed me. One thing that sticks in my head is how selfless and polite she and her friends were whenever we visited. They offered us places to sit, something to drink or eat, and they always looked out for each other. These people are not bad people. They just have had some bad things happen to them to get them to where they are.
So the next time you see a homeless person, say hi, give them some love, some hope, and treat them like you would want to be treated. I will be raising my son to know where he came from and teaching him the importance of loving everyone just as God loves us, with unconditional love.