Olive Crest, a BelPres supported ministry, helps families in crisis providing emergency and long-term shelter and care for abused, vulnerable and neglected children. Here is one of the ways Olive Crest changes lives.
Over the last 18 years, Rozan Haynes has welcomed 43 children into her home. That’s not a misprint. Forty-three boys and girls have called her “Mom” and have been shaped into successful, productive adults through her loving care. She says, “Some of them came to me when they were 3 or 4 years old, and stayed with me until they finished high school. So really, I raised them.”
Rozan recently “retired” from taking more at-risk kids and was honored by Olive Crest. “I’m just on cloud nine because of the love they showed me,” she says. “What a wonderful way to retire.” From the moment you meet her, it’s easy to see that Rozan is a special person. She exudes joy, enthusiasm, and love for God and children. It was her faith that first led her to Olive Crest. “I’d do it all again if I could,” she says.
“When you love God, you’re just naturally going to love His children.”
An accomplished writer with many Gospel songs and short stories to her credit, Rozan says, “When you’re caring for children, you’re writing their story. You’re taking away pain and writing in joy. Taking away anger and writing in happiness.” She explains the children who spent time in her care had been abused, abandoned, and neglected. “They had seen so many things children ought not to see. I told them, ‘I know you won’t forget your past, but you can set it aside, turn the page, and start writing a new story for your life.’”
“These Kids Needed Compassion”
Yes, there were some difficult times along the way. “There were some children I didn’t think I could handle at first.” One banged his head against the wall. Another cut himself. One 4-year-old threatened a little girl with a plastic knife, modeling his father’s anger and aggression. “These kids needed compassion . . . Someone who cared enough to listen, so that’s what I did. I always let them know, ‘no matter what you do, I’m not going anywhere, and neither are you. We’re going to see this thing through.’ And that’s what we did.”
She adds, “I have to tell you, Olive Crest gave me the best support I could have asked for. They were always just a phone call away.” Even though Rozan’s kids have grown up, she stays in touch with them. One young man is fulfilling his dream of serving in the Air Force. Another is a successful insurance broker. One just became a home owner. “I’m so proud of them,” she says.
“Who Could Ask for More?”
Her eyes light up when she thinks about a young man named Shad, who came to see her after hearing that she had undergone knee surgery. “I was trying to sit up and talk to him,” she recalls, “but he said, ‘Mom, I know you’re hurting. You need to be in bed.’ ” So he took me into my bedroom and tucked me into bed. Then he sat in a chair and talked to me for a long time.” She was deeply touched by this act of tenderness from a young man who was once troubled, angry, and lost.
“I’ve had people tell me that they don’t know why I did what I did, that they couldn’t do it,” she says. “But being a foster mom has given me so many wonderful things. Just to see a child who felt that nobody wanted him to begin to blossom and grow and to find his place in the world; who could ask for more?”