Cover Story

Precious kids

Issue: "Beating the school rules," Sept. 23, 2000

Karen Andrews started volunteering at The Neighborhood School in January 1994, four months after the school opened. She read to children and helped with the music program. Then she went deeper:

"I got real attached to one boy. He was 9 years old. That summer I took the children to Vacation Bible School at my church.... Later we [she and her husband, Al] took him fishing.... It was an awesome experience. It was a wonderful, touching day being with that child one on one.... He became attached to me.... I met his mother.... She got in real bad financial trouble. The board had a policy of no money, but I took her for job interviews, bought groceries.... We had the four children over during Christmas break for presents and dinner. We read the Christmas story.... It's become an annual thing. We do it every year....

"That spring their home situation deteriorated.... We basically from that point on adopted them.... They were just little children. The youngest were 7, 8, and 9 years old. And I was seeing the hurt in their faces and the anger in their eyes....

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"The two older boys went to live with their paternal grandmother.... An aunt got custody of the two younger.... When this happened I was so heartbroken because they were so heartbroken.... What can I do to show them that God wanted them? When I dropped them off for school, I'd say, 'Do you know how precious you are? You're precious to the Lord and you're precious to me.' When I'd pick them up I'd repeat it until I'd said it so often that they'd say, 'OK, Mrs. Andrews. Say it. Say it.'

"They are over here all the time. We buy their clothes, take them to the doctors.... Now they're all teenagers.... They are just precious children.... The oldest has a full scholarship to Christian Brothers University. One is at a military school in Mississippi.... He has a partial scholarship, but we pay for his clothes and monthly expenses. The daughter is at French Camp boarding school in Mississippi ... that's pretty incredible for children who were on the street seven years ago.... They have been very, very special blessings in our lives. Who knows what God has in store for them?"

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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