Square blankets lie on the floor as carefully folded clothing is stacked in the center. The children gather the goods they possess and set them down carefully around the folded clothing and then slowly gather the corners of the blanket and tie a knot.
Today is moving day.
New, freshly painted bunk-beds await their sleeping heads. Each boy and girl receives their own set of sheets, a pillow, and a new towel.
“It was sweet to see the kids so excited to make their own beds,” says Kimberly, a Back2Back staff member who helped move the children into their new home. “They were incredibly particular about the corners of the sheets being tucked in just so and their pillows being placed squarely in the center at the head of the bed.”
A visiting team help the children make each of their beds and welcome them back as they return, later in the day with a tunnel for them to run through.
With hands linked and held above their heads, the team lines up and cheers as the children, clad in their Sunday best of all white, run through with smiles so bright they can almost be heard.
A new home for the children at Jesus’ Name is something they are still getting used to. Stanley, the youngest of the children at five years-old, asks a staff member when they would be returning home.
“This is home, Stanley. This is your new home,” they respond. “Oh,” he smiles. “Okay!”
As Stanley and his “family” get settled, the older boys are relishing the simplicity of fitting within their own beds comfortably.
“The team members who helped them move just kept saying what an experience it was to see the kids lie down on their own beds and stretch out,” says Jeff Hickman, Back2Back staff. “Some of our older boys were lying down in a bed long enough for them for the first time.”
Their smiles were contagious, unforgettable, signs of being known. This, they are realizing, is what coming home feels like.