Sarah Hudson Pierce: Memories from May 31, 1962

My eyes were glued on the clock over our dining room

table in the loving foster home of Cullen and Martha Adair. This was the day that I had anticipated for two months as I packed my bag ready to  go.

  Two months can be an eternity or a blink of an eye to a  girl of fourteen, who was about to embark on an experience that would forever change her life!

It was just two months since I left  my mother and my childhood home.

I recall not looking back at my home in the woods, having just shared bitter, blinding tears of of my child like mother who could hardly believe she was losing the last piece of the puzzle that made up her life, having lost her own mother when she was only two years old.

Being disabled she did the best she could but sometimes that isn’t enough.

How could it happen?  Why my mother have to fend it alone?

I left my  collie dog, named Lassie, who had been at my side since I was seven.

Unaware of what lay ahead it really all began when I had the courage to step out as a scared, frightened child who had learned enough about God to know that I had to obey what I knew even though I still have much to learn.

Frightened I stepped out as the minister Fred Webb, of Grove, Oklahoma gave the invitation for any who wanted to take that first step and be baptized into Christ.  I am sure it shocked the congregation to see this underweight girl of fourteen having the courage to make her confession of faith and be baptized that night in March of 1962.

But when I took that first step the stage was set for change that would forever impact and bring me to a brighter day even though I would have to go through intense pain to make it happen!

And that step was set in motion  because a caring Christian couple, Earnest and Natalie Young of Noel, Missouri, saw my mother and I starting to walk back home through the woods near Noel, Missouri because we didn’t own a car.

They drove us home and then asked us if we would like to go to church the next day and of course the answer was  yes.

They didn’t hesitate to drive back out through the woods in that almost unbeaten path through the under growth in the woods.

After I became a Christian change came at rapid speed.

A week later Fred Webb, the minister, and Earnest Young, came to my school at Noel, Missouri and got permission for me to leave the school that day for a short conference in their car.

As we drove they said they had found an orphanage that would take me after my school year was over!  I was assured I would have plenty of food to eat, a clean house and a chance to get an education.

I grabbed the brass ring — the only one that had been extended.

They went on to say that I would need to go to a temporary foster home first with Cullen and Martha Adair, of Grove, Oklahoma, until the end of the school year when the home would have a  bed. This couple had two adopted Native American children, Ann Adar Hobby and Chuck Adair,  who would become like a sister and brother tome.

Of course I would go because I knew that I needed more than I had up until now even though I knew my mother loved me more than I can articulate.

Two days later I packed my clothes into  a brown grocery bag and didn’t look back as I left my mother in tears with my dog at her side.

I was forever impacted by the love and care I received in the Donna Reed home with Cullen and Martha Adair who were so kind and enlisted the church to assist me financially as I went into the home.

I had no way of knowing the pain  I would experience as I left their home.

Don’t kid yourself.  A child can bond so deeply in just two months to loving people and be forever changed for the better. I guess it took the pain of that abusive orphanage to help me grow into who I am today.

I want to make a difference — to give others the courage to express their own feelings and write their  stories rather than going off the deep end.

Had I known then how I would change on the inside and experience the joy that I feel today I would not have been so scared but I guess it’s  what we don’t know that gives us the edge to move forward.

Because Jesus is the same yesterday and forever He always gets me to the right place at the right time.

At seventy-six I want to do all I can to leave a legacy of my life to my family and to who might need an avenue of escape in writing their own stories and and reading reading mine.

Contact Sarah at [email protected]