Surviving for Samantha

Surviving for Samantha

Dressed in a pink Dora princess dress with a matching tiara teetering on her head, Savannah looks like a typical 3-year-old girl.

But to her mother, Elizabeth, she is much more. She’s “a gift from God” that has kept the young mom afloat during rough times.

Elizabeth came to Family Care at Texas Baptist Children’s Home after she found herself being dragged into a dangerous world of hard partying and addiction.

“I never did drugs,” she said. “But some of my friends did and I was a heavy drinker. So, that’s what my weekends were like. That’s what I thought people did on their days off.”

Around the time she began living on her own at age 18, she stopped going to church. After a series of unhealthy relationships, she met the man who would become her husband. They married despite his drug use, which Elizabeth viewed as recreational and not uncommon among their friends. But that soon changed.

“Our baby was three months old and she was sick and I needed my husband,” she recalled. “He was in a hotel room doing drugs. Things like that happened over and over again and eventually I couldn’t take it.”

Counseling helped the family, but then Elizabeth discovered that his drug use had put the family in financial distress. Eventually he entered a Christian character-building program for drug addicts and alcoholics.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth, who had started taking classes to reach her goal of becoming a medical sonographer at Austin Community College, found herself struggling to make rent.

“I must have called everyone I knew asking if I could come live with them or sleep on their couch,” she said. “Nothing panned out. But we had started going back to church and someone recommended the Family Care Program at TBCH.”

After a month on the waiting list, she was admitted, uncertain about what she would find. Now, she said, there’s no place she’d rather be.

“If I weren’t here, I’d be living out of my car right now,” she said.

Today she is saving money, working full time and carrying nearly a full load in college, maintaining an A-minus GPA.

“It’s hard,” she admitted. “But it helps, being able to come to (resident Family Life Coordinator) Suzanne Wood and be heard and comforted. And my walk with God has never been stronger.”

Diligent and organized, Elizabeth has lots of plans for the future. More than anything, she wants to provide a real family for Savannah.

“I want us to be together,” Elizabeth said tearfully. “I want her to have her dad in her life.”

After his recent completion of the rehabilitation program, Elizabeth and her husband are working toward reconciliation. But as with everything else in her life recently, she is leaving that one up to God.

“So many positive things have happened in my life lately,” she said, “that it just reaffirms what is happening in my walk with God. He has a plan. Before I came here, I was very prideful. Now, I’m just very appreciative.”

As she watches Savannah twirl in her Cinderella slippers, it’s obvious what Elizabeth appreciates most in this world.

“She’s my gift from God,” she said. “I don’t think I could have made it through the last three years, especially the last year, without my little girl.”