Several months ago a pregnant 19 year old showed up at Retreat from the Street.  Her name is Carol.  One of our regulars, Donnie, had met her on the street and thought he had better find her a safe place to be so he brought her to Retreat.  Initially she often talked of satanism and other occult spiritualities – a valuable technique for a young homeless girl to keep people at a distance.  She was difficult to get to know, but over the course of several weeks she began to open up as this sweet, but street savvy, little girl.  She recounted how she became a foster child at 4, being bounced from home to home, frequently experiencing all kinds of abuses.  She ran away often. 
     In her late teens she found a man I only heard her refer to as her “fiance.”  She discovered that she was pregnant so they began to ride the rails together in an effort to find work.  First, from Portland to New Orleans.  Then on to Raleigh, NC where they were able to find work.  Soon her fiance was downsized, so she quit too and they jumped the train for new opportunities.  They stopped in Atlanta to try to “make” some money while on their way to find work.  They set up their “Stranded, need money” sign on a highway exit and waited for sympathetic drivers.  Soon an unsympathetic police officer drove up.  He arrested both of them.  Neither said anything, but since he was holding the sign the fiance was booked.  Carol was released.  When the fiance was brought before the judge he pleaded not guilty and instead of being released with a fine he was detained until the court date.  This is what left Carol on the streets by herself.
     When we met her she was already over 6 months along.  Over those next two months she realized she had better do something for the sake of the baby.  She approached Gary, the director of Retreat, about her situation.  He began to ask her questions to find out if there was any safe place for her to go. Back in Portland she had an “aunt,” the closest thing to a mother figure that she knew, and an older sister, Tiffany. (Tiffany had been fostered as well and they had not reunited until Carol was 18, just before she started riding the rails, and just as she found out she was pregnant.)  Gary spent two weeks trying to track down these women, discover if they were stable, and see if they were willing to take Carol into their homes. 
     After making sure the contacts were willing, we booked her a bus ticket to Portland.  On Friday, August 12th, with a knapsack, the clothes on her back, and a bag full of food, Carol left for Portland.  She arrived Sunday morning and on Wednesday she gave birth to a 6’11” healthy baby girl named Khatt Lee.
     We were blessed to be able to play a part in ensuring that a 19 year old, lonely, lost girl was able to make it “home” to safely bring into this world a beautiful little girl of her own. But as I reflect on Carol’s story I am reminded that it was a homeless man, simply being attentive to his neighbor in need, that made our blessing possible.  May the love of the least of our brothers be a witness to the relentless pursuit of God, and may it be an example to us as we try to live faithfully in the midst of a broken world.  If you would like to partner with us as we seek to save lives and spread this message of hope you can do so by donating here.

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