The Battle for Her Child's Life

Rob Parker Profile
Article by Rob Parker
LARC Director

"I believe Darcey really needed us, but as I look back, I think we really needed her as well. We are all better because of the relationship we share."

When I first met Darcey, boy did she ever leave an impression on me! Darcey had been abandoned, let down, and mistreated by almost everyone in her life. She wore all the signs of having never been loved well, but somehow retained an uncanny zeal for life. We were instantly hooked. Darcey was the type of kid LARC was created for. She lacked the relationships, resources, and opportunities she desperately needed for independence. It wasn't long before she was connected to a mentor family and soon joined the illustrious ranks of "Gateway high school graduate"! We were all very proud of her.

You see, Darcey has a vivacious personality but also suffered the strain of trauma. This made it easy for people to drift into her life, and easy to drift back out. This often found her “chasing” people in an effort to hold on to them. One of these people got her to follow him far away from her home. The next time I spoke to her, she was pregnant, scared, and alone. There was significant pressure around her to have an abortion and I knew she didn’t want that, but she felt lost. I still remember that conversation vividly – there was a battle waging for this child’s life.

At that time, our WillowBridge transitional housing community was just beginning. I promised Darcey that Gateway would do whatever we could to support her and the baby and to keep them safe. It wasn’t long before we were able to get her on a bus and on her way back to Indiana. Ready or not, she was coming to live at WillowBridge. It wasn’t an easy transition, but it did end up being a beautiful chapter of her life. She delivered a healthy baby boy, and both were an important part of the WillowBridge community for nearly a year and a half.

Darcey engaged with her new church community, mentors, and those at WillowBridge. She held down a job and gained many of the skills that are serving her now in raising her son. Our people are still speaking into their life, and she is still feeling the love of her community. I believe Darcey really needed us, but as I look back, I think we really needed her as well. We are all better because of the relationship we share.

When Darcey’s son turned one, we hosted a party for them at Gateway. As I looked around at the celebration for a child who almost never was, I was overcome with emotion. I thought, "if we are never able to help another kid, it would have been worth every ounce of energy and every dollar spent just to see this boy and his mom get the chance to have a life together."

Other young folks just like Darcey are feeling the impact of LARC all over city and beyond. May this propel us to what God has been telling us all along: that we cannot love only in word and speech, but in action and in truth. We must keep telling people who God says they are and then show up with the message that there is hope.

Rob is currently the LARC Director at Gateway Woods.