Baby Lilly* is blue-eyed in bright pink, looking up with curiosity from the arms of her mother, Larissa. Her cheeks are still rosy from the warmth of the blanket left on the bed.
Noah and Larissa’s story is one of perseverance and hardship. A story that is so similar in its heartbreak, but different in the details – from the stories of so many other families. “We’ve been here about a month,” Noah and Larissa tell me from the cozy nursery of the Infant House—Family Promise’s respite hideaway for families with newborn babies like Lilly. A month of peace. A month of sanctuary and respite from the bitter cold that has plagued Spokane as of late.
“And how old is she?”
“She was born December 20, so… about two months.” Larissa tears up at the memory. Just thinking about the terrors of giving birth with no sure housing bringing stark terror to her eyes.
It wasn’t long after Lilly was born that the family was threatened out of their living arrangements. Without anywhere else to go and a brand new baby to take care of, they were grateful and relieved to learn about Family Promise.
Larissa explained the chance encounter that led to their rescue.
“We were giving a friend a ride and he told us about (Family Promise). He had us stop at the main shelter because we needed diapers. Two days later everything happened (with our living arrangements). I called Family Promise and they said they had someone moving out of the Infant House. We literally were able to move into the Infant House the next day.” It was luck, it was chance, but it was meant to be. Without the Infant House, they are not sure what they would have done.
Grateful, relieved and happy, the Infant House is a refuge that finally feels like home for the family of three.
When asked how they’ve been holding up since their arrival, they said, “It’s definitely been relaxing. From what we were going through and our situation only getting worse, being here has been a weight off our shoulders and given us a chance to focus on moving forward.” The simplest steps are often the most difficult. Having a place to call home meant the world to them.
With private bedrooms and spacious living areas equipped for families with new bundles like Lilly, the Infant House welcomes families with open arms. Erin, the House Manager, is a warm smile who keeps guests well supplied with whatever needs arise. Downstairs, a basement pantry is lined with tall shelves of bulk foods. In several nooks and closets throughout the house, supplies are stocked from generous donors: diapers, clothes, formula, toys.
“We had nowhere else to go. This place really saved us,” Noah shares.
Sitting beside him, Larissa nods in agreement, baby Lilly staring peacefully while she speaks. “We are very thankful and blessed for the opportunity to be able to take our time and gather the things we need. These guys are wonderful. We are very thankful for Family Promise.”
The Infant House serves as Family Promise’s refuge for families with newborns. It is generously supported by grants, volunteers, and financial support from individuals. If you’re interested in donating to the Infant House to support families like Noah and Larissa’s, you can visit https://www.familypromiseofspokane.org/give.
* Changed for anonymity.