After losing her caregiving grandmother at a young age, 10 years of being forced to move from home to home in the foster care system, and struggling with an eating disorder, 17-year-old Deborah Cuevas was at the lowest point in her life.
Finally a family wanted to adopt her and she was exciting about the future. But at the last moment the family changed their mind, and Deborah’s hope of ever having a family was snuffed out.
That’s when she reluctantly came to Crossroads Community, an Arrow transitional living program for young women who will soon age out of foster care. This is where her hope for a better future was rekindled.
At first, the strict rules and supervision only frustrated her, but that attitude soon changed.
“What I didn’t understand was that this place that I thought was taking life from me, was the place God would use to give me life,” Deborah said.
While at Crossroads, Deborah learned basic life skills, like how to cook for herself, and clean. She learned job skills and was encouraged to go to college. Most importantly, she developed a relationship with Christ that gave her hope for her life.
Deborah often quotes Joel 2:25, when God says “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” She’s taken that verse to heart, and says she constantly sees God’s hand in her success after enduring years of hardship.
After Crossroads, Deborah was accepted to Central Baptist College and graduated with a degree in social services, with the dream to help other foster care youth. While in college, she met her husband, Marvin, who was adopted at 13. Their common background gave them a unique insight into each other and a stronger relationship.
Because both Deborah and Marvin know what it feels like to be orphaned, they both felt the tugging of God on their hearts to advocate for children of similar backgrounds.
“My husband and I decided to foster, and in the last two years, we have been blessed to foster 17 children ranging from 4 months to 15 years old,” she said. “Looking back, foster care saved my life …. I realized I wanted more for my life than what my past told me.… I wanted to be the chain-breaker for my family.”
Almost a year ago, a teenage foster girl entered the Cuevas home, and everything changed. She was broken, but not defeated, and Deborah knew that look all too well. The couple decided they wanted to adopt her, but were immediately turned down because of their young age. However, they didn’t lose faith.
On December 23rd, she became Faith Destiny Cuevas, and forever Deborah’s daughter.
“Love heals … and every child deserves a family,” Deborah said. “No child should ever have to grow up in a group home or age out of foster care…. Arrow is the key element to making this happen.”
To learn more about Arrow Crossroads Community, go to https://www.arrow.org/services-programs/residential-services/transitional-living/