The Healing Power of Unconditional Love

Seventy-six abused or neglected kids find a home in the unlikeliest of places.

By Donna Martin, Center, Texas

As appeared in

All the rest of that day my mind just wouldn’t let it go. What good was I really doing? That afternoon, when Terri walked in the door, reeking of cigarette smoke, I was at my limit.

“Terri, have you been smoking?” I demanded, much louder than I had intended. Still, I was ready for a battle. For lies and evasion. For attitude.

Terri looked right at me. I was shocked to see tears in her eyes. “Yes, Mom, I have,” she said, her voice quivering. Sometimes the truth will do that to your voice. The thing that got me, though, was that one beautiful word: Mom.

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God had not just given me a daughter, he’d given Terri a mother, just like he’d given me a mother to love me no matter what. Love that was unconditional, love that could be trusted.

I pulled her close and hugged her as hard as I could. “I promise I won’t smoke ever again, as long as I live in your house,” she said. And you know something? She never did, not once. And she really got her act together at school too.

So how is it all working out? Terri is 23 now and works in Shreveport. Mercedes, she’s 20 and went to college for two years. She wants to be a social worker so she can help other children in the system. Joshua will start college in the fall and Tyler is a high-school junior.

Of the 76 kids little old Possum Trot has adopted, almost all have graduated from high school. They’re working full-time jobs at the flooring plant or at Tyson, like us, or studying in school or raising kids of their own.

Some people say it’s a miracle. If it is, it’s a two-way miracle. We gave them all the love we had and ended up with more love to share.

That’s something Mama would have understood. Every child is special, every child deserves to be loved. Even if it is in a little town back in the woods, with no paved roads, no stoplight, just a cool sweet Texas breeze that blows in when you least expect it.


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Your Comments (15)

Leaving in a small town and not having fancy cars is ordinary thing but you are doing extra ordinary things their which is the real asset. GOD bless you allot of respect for you.

FRom: medical career in florida

This is such a witness to us all that God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things!

All of that wonderful blessing to those children in need of love was possible because one faithful Christian lady set aside time to sit and listen to the Lord speak to her. She did not reply, I can't, she set out to do His will! Trusting in the Lord, others followed and offered their love and home to the children, patiently re-enforcing their offer of love and security. Their crowns in heaven will await their arrival so Jesus can say, Well done my sisters and brothers.
These ladies are worth more than silver or gold!!

Dear Donna & Pastor, Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. Although I always wanted a big family after I got married, God blessed me with a son and daughter. I have so much admiration and respect for you... God Bless You!

PPraise the Lord! Your story is amazing, I was inspired by your love for children and how the hold town wanted to adopt forster children as well. My God bless you and your family, and your town also your CHURCH.

From Gwendolyn Wilson,
Philadelphia, Pa.

God continue to Bless you and your community. We adopted a child about 21 yrs ago at the age of 7mos and is now 21yrs old. It has been a journey some good and some not so good but through it all God has kept us with his Grace and Mercy. I thank God for this chance to share in a child life which has increased my faith and get closer to him. Continue to be Blessed.

There will be a special Possom Trot corner in heaven! You all are amazing. Thank you for sharing your story, and for welcoming so many of God's children into your lives.

What an awesome story. Truly this town and its people are very blessed and each one is an Angel of God. Just an amazing story that the whole world should know about. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Wonderful eye opener story.hope one day l will do the same.
God bless you ladies._

The people who have taken foster child for adoption are doing such a inspirational job. I really feel motivated. We face trivial issues in our day to day lives and end up irritated. But u guys are going extra miles and doing so much service. May God fill your life with abundant blessings !!!

Such an inspiring, beautiful story. What courage and determination you had to take on such huge responsibilities and how wonderful that all those other families in your town reached out - if every town did that, think of it!! No more children being moved from house to house, putting up with abuse and neglect, loneliness and hunger. What wonderful people you are - God bless you (and He obviously has).

i build a strong faith

What an incredible story. I got up feeling sorry for me - My husband had been diagnosed with cancer and has had surgery, radiation and Chemotherapy. He is doing well by God's grace. Once I read the stories and Gods' guidance in your lives, my heart is filled with joy and hope. Thank you for sharing the story of your journey and service.

Spellbinding story. Please write a book so it can be turned into a movie. One of the sweetest stories illuminating the power of Gods grace through amazingly beautiful women. God Bless you.

Thank you for the encouragement. Your article is a Godsend as I have taken in a foster child and my aunt took in his little brother. My boy is a hoarder with toys but I believe it is because of being in 3 different homes in 4 years he hasn't learned to share or comprehend the toys will still be there. I get frustrated at times because he is not very nice to my children. I see improvement in 3 months and I feel love for him and he calls "Mom and Dad". He is 7 and crawls under tables at school. They are great with him and we are working together with the school for his sake. Sometimes I wish I could be given a small glimpse of what The Lord has for him, that this struggle will pay off.