Former LYDIA Resident Tells Her Story
More than 30 years have passed since Christina moved out of LYDIA's Residential Center. But the experiences she had there continue to touch her life in powerful ways.
Many of Christina's childhood memories are of chaos and violence. Her father, a mentally ill alcoholic, physically abused her, her siblings, and especially her mother.
"My dad treated us like property-he'd drag us out of bed at 2 a.m. and beat us for some perceived infraction," she says. "Normal to us was hiding from him and not having food in the house. My mom didn't protect us and was sometimes abusive herself. We had no structure or stability in our lives."
In moments of clarity, Christina's parents knew they needed help. When Christina was just four years old, her father opened up a phone book, found LYDIA under "child services," and dropped off all four children the next day.
At LYDIA, for the first time in her life, Christina felt safe and cared for.
"My house mom and the other LYDIA staff were gentle and kind," she says.
"We did normal things, like go to school and do chores. And I remember volunteers coming by with gifts and clothing. Sometimes, we'd even go to their house to do typical kid stuff, like play board games and eat Doritos! Those experiences helped me to see that 'wow, I do matter'! It made all the difference in the world."
Christina remembers a significant event from when she was just six years old. "My house mom came in and sat on my bed and talked to me about Jesus, and I prayed to receive Him as my Savior," she remembers.
"God knew I needed Him, and He became my strength."
When Christina was nine, she and her siblings left LYDIA and were placed in foster homes.
Today, Christina and her husband of 23 years have two daughters. Last fall, she and one of her brothers visited us at LYDIA, and she was amazed to feel that she was coming home.
"God used LYDIA to give me a foundation for my life, and I just want to thank all the staff and volunteers there who loved and cared for me," Christina says. "I don't know what I would have done without them."
With your gift of any amount, LYDIA will continue to be a place where kids like Christina feel safe and can thrive, despite the turmoil and scars of their past.
Click here to make your online gift or schedule a recurring donation. Mail your contribution to LYDIA at 4300 Irving Park Rd. in Chicago, 60641.
Thank you for partnering with us at LYDIA as we continue to be a safe haven for kids in need!
David Anderson, PsyD