My name is Alec, and I am 17 years old. I was born in San Antonio to parents who struggled with addiction. At ten years old, we moved to Oklahoma City because my parents wanted to start over. But addiction took over again, and my little brother and I found ourselves in foster care. During that time, I came to Christ and began my relationship with God.
At 14 years old, my brother and I were adopted by a great Christian family. I loved my adopted family, but I had to take care of myself and my little brother for the majority of my life. So when we were adopted, it was difficult adjusting to having parents who would take care of me. At 15, I started working and quickly found myself getting promoted and becoming a workaholic. I considered myself an adult and felt I didn’t need anybody, not even God.
When I gave God my life, He did not deliver me like I anticipated he would. I began doing things to spite God. So I lost my connection with Him and was completely detached from my family. The last straw was when I refused to go home one night after a disagreement. All night I drove around town, sleeping in my car here and there while the sheriff was looking for me.
I was broken and realized that the things of the world would never bring me true happiness. I knew if something didn’t change, I would end up in a lot of trouble. That’s when my family’s social worker suggested we look into Cookson Hills. I did a lot of research. I saw the website, and it looked nice, but I was sure that it was just a front to make it seem better than it was.
In November of 2020, with hesitation and fear, I chose to come to Cookson Hills. It was my senior year, and I just knew it was ruined. I wouldn’t get to spend my last year of high school with my friends. But when I arrived on campus, everyone seemed to know my name and consider me a friend before I knew them. Cookson is such a tightly knit community and it felt very homey.
Our social workers pray over which house a child should be placed in, and I believe it. My houseparents were perfect for me and what I needed.
From day one, mom’s love was overwhelming. She is always able to love all of us children so well while juggling many other things. Plus, she does it all with a smile. Then there’s dad, Pápi! We have so many things in common, from our heritage to our love of Mexican food, coffee, and football. Everything seemed to connect us. Especially the fact that we both had broken families growing up. Pápi has taught me how to be a Godly man and rise above the hand that life dealt. He has rekindled a passion in me to be a loving husband and father one day. He consistently shows what the leader of a home looks like and has discipled not only me but the rest of the boys in our home.
I have discovered that I cannot make it through life alone and the importance of learning from those who know more than I do. It’s still tough, though. I lived for so long taking care of myself, but I see the advantages of learning to trust others and continue to believe that God has good things in store for me. This fall, I will be starting at East Central University to major in Business Management. After college, I hope to attend Chick-Fil-A’s 2-year leadership development program in Atlanta.
To those of you who support Cookson Hills, I want to say “Thank you”! You are making a difference, a real difference. I have seen kids’ turn for the better, myself included.
My senior year ended up being fantastic, I will never forget the time I spent here. My life is forever changed by it. There is no better way I can thank you all for this year than by getting into the world, showing my talents and abilities, and sharing love. So I will tell you all thank you right now. But I will show you my thankfulness in the years to come.