A Single Mom’s Journey from Homelessness to Hope

Natalie*, a single mom who recently escaped a 10-year-long abusive marriage, was left to parent three children on her own. Lifeline’s South Carolina pregnancy counselors met Natalie in the fall of 2022. She reached out to Lifeline because being a single mom was becoming increasingly more difficult for her. One of her sons, David,* was four years old and diagnosed with level three autism. Natalie felt caught between needing a job to pay for rent and food for her kids and staying home to parent a child who needed full-time care. She came to Lifeline trying to be a good mom for her kids, which meant creating an adoption plan for David. 

As time went on, Lifeline’s team did everything possible to find adoptive families who were open to adopting an older child with a significant autism diagnosis. Numerous families showed initial interest, but as they gathered more information, they did not feel comfortable moving forward. Beginning the process again and again felt disheartening, with Lifeline’s workers continually getting their hopes up only to have them dashed. Every time they would have to call Natalie with the news that a family decided not to move forward, she would respond with, “This family must not be the family that God intended for him. I know God will bring the perfect family for him at the right time.” Natalie continually spoke with grace and patience even as she tried to parent her three children in the midst of crisis. 

By the fall of 2023, Natalie’s situation had reached a breaking point. She was forced to leave her house because she couldn’t afford rent. She packed up her stuff, moved it to a storage unit, and moved into her car with her three children. Lifeline’s South Carolina team scrambled to help this family find housing. A generous church was able to pay for a hotel for a few nights, and within a week, Natalie and her kids were moving into a new house. 

Two months later, Lifeline’s team found out Natalie and her kids were still living in their new home, but without any of their belongings. Natalie was unable to pay for the storage unit that housed their furniture, and every day that Natalie didn’t pay for the unit was another day that more storage fees were tacked on. She was in a situation she couldn’t get out of on her own. Lifeline’s Charleston office called the storage facility and paid the entire fee so Natalie could be reunited with her belongings. The team, including some of their family members, rented a moving truck, collected her things from the storage unit, and moved them into her home. They realized the family needed two more beds and mattresses, so another organization graciously donated two new beds and mattresses. The team was also able to drop off Christmas gifts including a $300 Walmart gift card and an entire car full of bedding, towels, sheets, pillows, and gifts for the kids. 

The Lifeline team reached out to Natalie one month later after receiving another inquiry about adopting David. For the first time ever, Natalie did not respond to the text. A phone call a few days later revealed that Natalie was reconsidering finding an adoptive family for David. Natalie felt that Lifeline’s team had taken care of her so well that she felt equipped to parent all of her children. She felt nervous to tell the team because of all the hard work they had done for her. Lifeline’s workers emphasized to Natalie that they were privileged to serve and bless her, and her parenting David was the best-case scenario they could ask for. They all felt excited to hear that she had all the tools and capabilities to parent her children. 

Because of the work of Lifeline’s team from multiple areas of our ministry, Natalie formed genuine and beneficial relationships with our South Carolina team. They were able to connect her with other resources and people in the Charleston area who also supported her. She received resources and care as she walked through some hard years, and she came out on the other side excited about continuing to parent. 

*Names changed for confidentiality