Steve Taylor showed up at the Gresham meeting one day. When I finally got his full name, I was amused because he has the same name as a Christian musician I loved as a kid. Once I could remember it was Taylor and not Tyler, I was all good.
Soon he came to the meetings regularly, both in Gresham and in SE, and he brought his pregnant daughter, as well. They were both homeless, and they were trying to be as responsible as possible. They sought jobs and Natasha got one, then two. Natasha was able to find a midwife who was willing to provide a birthing center for her, when it came time for the baby to be born. Steve kept getting them food from ministries like ours, and he kept seeking housing for them. They got on SSI, so hope was high, but it was difficult because Steve had a felony on his record, even though it was more than 5 years old.
Time was getting short, as the baby was a couple weeks from being due, and they still were sleeping outdoors. I knew the practice of the government, as I had seen it in the past. If they were outside when the baby was born, the baby would be taken away and they would not have another chance to get the baby back because the requirements for that would be too high for a homeless mom to meet. But they had a lead on an apartment and applied for it, using me as a reference.
I talked to the manager and he seemed like a good guy. He was friendly and asked me a couple questions, recognizing, "You're a minister, so I know that you won't say anything bad about them." I admitted that was true, but I thought I would push a bit more. "You know that Natasha is Steve's daughter, right?"
"Oh, I thought she was his girlfriend."
"Nope, his daughter. And you can see how pregnant she is. Let me tell you, Steve is a responsible guy, and Natasha is working two jobs to care for that baby. There is no way that Steve will let anything happen to that baby. Please, just give them a chance."
I guess the manager was impressed, because Steve said that they got the apartment, partly because of my reference.
However, the ordeal wasn't over. Although they had enough for rent, they were still trying to get enough for a deposit. On the day they were supposed to get the apartment, they had all of it but a hundred dollars. They asked the manager if they could move in on that, but the manager said if they didn't have the complete amount by 8 that night, then the next day they would offer the apartment to someone else.
We were able to help with 50 dollars, and Steve was able to find someone else who was able to help get another 50 dollars that day, and they moved in. Praise God!
We didn't hear from them for a while, except when Steve's SSI checks came to our house (he kept them coming there, for fear that they might lose the apartment). But a few weeks ago, they brought the two week baby boy, Sabriel, to Anawim. He is beautiful. And quiet (Dang! How jealous I am of these people who have perfect infants!).
The task of living is still difficult for them. But at least they are able to do what everyone should be able to do-- take care of their child.