Holidays are the time of year filled with family, home, gifts, good food, decorations and positive memories for most of us. For some, like some of the survivors of sex trafficking at Homestead, the holidays can be difficult.
Many of the women who come to Homestead have children. Some have limited contact with their children, with little or no hope to reunite. Many have toxic families for whom going home is not an option. For these women, Homestead represents a new family. Many are welcomed into their mentor’s homes for the holidays. Some stay at the house, with each other. Amazing meals are provided for them.
Not all of the girls in the program have positive relationships with their families. Some do come from loving supportive families who are waiting for them to heal and come home to them. Some are in the process of reconciliation and forgiveness. These gals are given the opportunity to go home to their families for the holidays, even out of state. It can be good practice to go home and see the changes that still need to be made in these relationships, for example, in setting healthy boundaries. Unfortunately, many of the girls have children and families they are estranged from. They don’t have a family or home to go to so the holidays represent pain and regret.
Knowing this, Homestead is blessed with wonderful support from volunteers, churches, philanthropic organizations who surround our girls with gifts, meals, decorations for the house, and love. Organizations adopt the girls’ children supplying gifts that the moms can send from them. One of our gals was recently able to buy coats and school supplies and holiday gifts for her children for the first time and was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. Organizations have purchased Christmas decorations for the house that the girls love to put up. Every year we have a gift exchange and the girls are abundantly blessed with gifts. For many, gifts are love language so this means so very much to them. Also for the first time, some of our girls are able to earn and keep their own money to spend on gifts for others, something also important to them.
So though they can be painful and sad, holidays at Homestead for our participants is often a time of healing, restoration, and newfound joy and hope. (Post written by Diane Clark)