Amidst negative statistics showing that around 32 000 children are abandoned each year in the Eastern Cape, there are heartening testimonies of ordinary citizens doing extraordinary work in the province.
Jonathan and Tracy King, founders of The King’s Children’s Home, are a prime example, taking in as many as 20 abandoned children at a time. About five years ago, the couple was moved to care for a baby that had been abandoned in the bushes near their home, just outside of East London. Research showed that there were many more children in the same situation, driving the couple to open a safe house that provides other options for mothers who cannot care for their children.
The safe house, which is separate from their home, cares for about 14 children at the moment. The safe house is often in a situation where it does not have enough beds, carry cots or cots, because the need is so great. The couple’s hearts are to be a place of safety for children rescued from abandonment — and they do not want to turn one of them away when a desperate call from a social worker comes through. Sometimes rules and regulations have to be overlooked when a tiny, abandoned baby has to be urgently placed until other arrangements are made.
The Kings find that babies are most easily placed when they are between 3-6 months, after which age the waiting time is much longer. Their experience has been that two thirds of their children have been placed with adoptive families, while the other third have either gone into long term foster care or been reunited with a family member. It is hard work to find families willing to take a child in and they do not want any of their children to be placed into big institutions; they would rather provide the children a home base until they are 18 and able to fend for themselves. Some of the big institutions have between 80-100 children and their files are often not looked at again once they have been placed there — probably due to the high demand of new cases to deal with on a daily basis.
As the pastor of the Crossways Christian Fellowship Church, situated just outside East London, Jonathan King is accustomed to helping and counseling others in need. He also teaches life orientation at Lilyfontein and Merrifield Schools. Tracy King, award winner in the “4 Good” Inspiration Awards, runs a school out of her home and is involved with ladies’ activities at the church. The couple have eight children in their home; 3 biological, 3 adopted and 2 in the adoption process. They have always had soft hearts for children in need and were involved in foster care many years ago.
With very little government assistance and an income based on donations from companies and the community, the couple and their team have managed to care for the 58 babies that had passed through their home in the past five and a half years. They live by faith and can warrant all success stories to God, who has been good to them.
“This is very emotional and exhausting work, but at the same time very rewarding and satisfying,” shares Tracy King who believes that by God’s grace she can start each new day with a fresh dose of hope for herself, her family and all the precious children in their care.
The cost of keeping the safe house running is approximately R25 000 per month and any sort of donation or assistance is appreciated. More information about King’s Children’s Home, photos of the children, their testimonies and rescue stories, can be found on the website www.thekingschildrenshome.com,