A Message From Our Founder
As I sit to write the story of how All God’s Children came to be, I feel a tug on my skirt. I reach down and lift my (crawling, but not yet walking) son. His name is Solomon. I look at his beautiful and smiling face and think of the indescribable joy and contentment he brings to my family and then as I look into his innocent and trusting eyes I’m reminded of how close he came to having his life snuffed out even before he was born. Then I realize that Solomon’s life IS the AGC story... in a small but beautiful and healthy 27-pound package.
In 1986, I began volunteering for a pregnancy crisis center in Lexington because God had burdened my heart about girls who were in hopeless, crisis pregnancy situations and needed help. I served as a volunteer counselor and as a member of their Board of Directors and really enjoyed the work, but the burden of helping teen moms continued to grow. I didn’t know what happened to those young women after they had their pregnancy test and left the center. Did they get kicked out of their home because they wanted to keep their baby? Or, did they have support or supplies to help them during this time? Did they have the information and ability to properly care for an infant?
Over the next several years my desire to provide support and care for these young moms became so overwhelming that I just wanted to take them into my family’s home, to become what was called a Shepherding Home. A Shepherding Home gives care and housing to girls in crisis pregnancies until the birth of their child. Usually the birth mom had already decided whether to parent or place her child for adoption before entering a Shepherding Home and she moved on very quickly after delivery of the child.
My husband, Karl and I just had our second child by now, and we still had a little extra room to support my Shepherding Home idea. So, I asked Karl how he would feel about opening our home to teen moms who needed temporary housing during their pregnancy. Let’s just say that Karl’s initial response was anything but positive. Disappointed at his response, but still burdened, I went back to God in prayer and His instruction to me was very clear... “wait” and continue to “pray.” The wait was longer than I would have desired, but the wait was worth it all. After two years of a prayer partnership with two very dear friends, God intervened in a dramatic way in our lives.
Karl gave his life to Christ during revival services one night and was forever changed by the cleansing blood of Christ. Would it surprise you to learn that within days of his salvation experience he immediately agreed to my idea and was now actually excited about opening our home to become a Shepherding Home? Pardon the English, but AIN’T GOD GOOD?
With the decision made, Karl and I stuck a for-sale sign in our yard and trusted God. If He wanted our family in a larger home to better accommodate our growing family and a Shepherding Home, our house would sell. If it did not sell we would continue to serve as best we can….a little cramped for space but very content.
We didn’t have to wait long. Within one week of placing the sign in the yard, a gentleman asked to see our house. After he toured the house, he pulled out his checkbook and was ready to pay our asking price, no negotiating. I asked if he didn’t want to wait and let his wife see the house, but he assured me that she would like his choice. He wrote the check! There was one slight problem, though. He wanted us out in one week and unfortunately that was not negotiable. But knowing this was obviously God’s provision and timing, but not fully understanding God’s reason for the rush... we agreed to be out in a week!
On the weekend of Memorial Day 1991 as I (urgently) packed my house of seven years, I received a phone call from a friend at my home church. He was talking so fast with excitement that I could barely understand him. He had received a phone call asking if he and his wife were interested in adopting a baby from another state. The only problem was the birth mom needed a home during her pregnancy. Since he knew I had been involved with teen moms through the pregnancy center, he asked if I had any idea where she could live until the baby was born. I almost broke down in tears at God’s perfect plan and timing and as I told this friend what had transpired with the sale of our house and our plans to move into a larger home in less than a week. After talking with Karl we quickly agreed to take this girl into our home until the baby was born.
On June 1, 1991 my family moved into our new home and on July 17, 1991 our first teen mom flew into Lexington’s Bluegrass Airport and into our lives.
Over the next five years we shared our home with six teen girls during their pregnancies. We also became a Special Needs Foster Home for the State of Kentucky because of the growing number of teen girls in care who were parenting or became pregnant in foster care. As soon as we became an approved foster home, we also began receiving calls very quickly concerning babies who they wanted to place in our home.
They came to us as fetal alcohol babies, drug babies, shaken babies, burned babies, babies who had been abandoned, abused or neglected. The quantity and task began to overwhelm us. In working with these babies, families and the teen moms who had lived with us, I began to sense that growing burden again that so enveloped me many years earlier about teen moms.
But why, God? Why was it not enough to just give children a home and a family who loved them? In my innocence, I thought that we could be their family, teach them about the love of Christ and everything would be wonderful for them. What I did not understand was the depth of hurt and despair these young ones had known. I wish I had time to share just a few of the unimaginable hurts that these children carried with them. No human should ever have to endure what some of these children had in their short lives. Yes, some of them were angry, rebellious teens. But, what brought them to that point?
During my prayer time, God began to show me a home. Not an institution, but a home. It was a Christ-centered home with lots of love, family meals and brightly decorated rooms... but with that love came structure, discipline, progress in school, proper child care and new independent living skills. What a wonderful place to offer someone in crisis. That was God’s plan. A place where these children could see HIS love lived out in front of them.
In 1996, with the help of my incredible husband, we formed a non-profit corporation. The organization had no money and no home to house the girls and babies, but we had lots of people praying and seeking God’s will for this newly formed ministry.
We went to many people who were experienced in operating residential programs and asked for their help and advice. What we received was less than encouraging. Some said it would be very, very difficult to open such a home…..others went as far as to say we just simply could not succeed with the current situation with state licensing policies.
But by now we knew without a doubt this home was God’s will and regardless of what any individual believed, it would succeed. But God now required something of us, faith, and lots of it!
Up to this point in our lives Karl and I had been very blessed. I had been able to stay at home with our children and Karl had a very prominent and lucrative job in industry. God’s provision was so abundant that Karl made the decision to resign his “comfortable” corporate position in 1998 and devote full time to this ministry for over a year, without pay.
After months and months of planning and preparation, in April 1999, we opened the doors of All God’s Children. There are numerous stories of almost miraculous proportions that led up to the opening of the home and I hope someday during your employment here we can share some of the stories with you. They are truly works of God’s hand.
On that opening day (the day after Easter 1999) we had three moms and three babies move in. I could never describe to you the joy of that first spring and summer of 1999. At four years into the life of AGC, little did we realize we were about to get yet another lesson that God’s blessings far out-weigh our small effort. In late 2003, with our children now the ages of 19 and 15 respectfully, God blessed us with a beautiful baby boy named Solomon. We had not planned for another child or prayed for one, but it was God giving us the desires of our heart.
In July 2003, I received a call from a friend in another state. There was yet another young lady in a dangerous and crisis situation that needed a place to stay until the birth and adoption of her child. This young lady had been pressured by several so-called friends and acquaintances to have an abortion and solve her current problems. But thankfully this young lady knew what was right. She would carry this pregnancy to term, then eventually delivery the baby into the hands of some couple who would be blessed beyond measure.
But there was no plan for adoption yet, just an urgent need for her to relocate. Could we help? It was a little out of the “norm” for us ---- she was older (22) and not in states care. But Karl and I agreed to help her and the next day we made the 5-hour trip to pick up this young lady. We grew to love her over the next few months. Her resolve to provide a better life for this baby was incredible and her sacrifice was enormous. I was with her when he was born. Almost immediately after delivery she shocked me when she asked that I name the baby boy. Not being prepared for such a major decision, I called Karl.
At the exact moment of my call he was reading in Proverbs (which he said was the first day he had been in Proverbs in years). I asked did he have any “name” ideas for a baby. He said he was pretty impressed with the life and story of Solomon. I said I loved it... and so did his birth mother! As they say, the rest is history.
Since 1999, we have had over 305 moms and babies through our doors (through Dec 2009). We’ve had some incredible, life changing moments at AGC and we’ve had some moments of tears and heartbreak. But, two things will always remain at the forefront of the ministry of All God’s Children... first, that all who come never leave us without hearing this was God’s provision for them during this difficult time in their life. And second, every teen mom and child who leaves will know they were respected and loved unconditionally All God’s Children.
Let me end by saying that All God’s Children is not my ministry, nor that of Pam and Karl. This ministry was a plan that was conceived, initiated, brought to being and operates today by the wisdom, grace and mercy of God. We were simply blessed to be chosen to follow His plan and honored to be a part of something the Creator of this universe chose to place in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
Thank you for reading this story and may God richly bless your life in some way as you serve in His ministry... helping All God’s Children.
Pam Smith, Founder