Embracing a Call to Care: Chad and Samantha Conners
Ask any houseparent at Palmer Home for Children how they discovered the job, and you’ll hear a multitude of answers. For the Conners family, a flyer on the bulletin board outside Southaven Public Library did the trick.
“We are from this area, so I had heard about the construction of a campus in Hernando. However, I kind of forgot about it over time,” said Samantha Conners.
Both Samantha and her husband Chad worked in the transportation industry for several years before Samantha became a stay-at-home mom to their children. But when Chad returned from a trip to Peru with a passion for Christian missions, Palmer Home again crossed their mind. When the couple called to ask about the houseparent position, Chad knew his call to the mission field was a call to serve their own community.
Making the transition to becoming house parents was not about a new career, but rather a response to God’s calling on their lives. But embracing their calling doesn’t come without its struggles. “Constantly being surrounded by 12-13 kids in general can be exhausting,” said Samantha. “But they are just like any other children in that they have their good days and bad days.”
For the Connors, the blessings of their job as house parents far outweigh the difficulties. We have grown with these children in ways that transformed not just them, but us as well,” said Samantha. “You see it in the small things like no longer having to remind a teen about their personal hygiene or noticing that a child who usually doesn’t show affection wants to sit by you.”
In addition to caring for the children in their cottage, Samantha and Chad also build relationships with the biological families of those children. The ultimate goal and hope is for the children in their cottage to reunite with their biological families. The positive conversations and open lines of communication with the children’s families help the children grow and the families heal.
“We have noticed that maintaining healthy relationships with families makes a huge difference with many children. They feel more comfortable telling us things, and it keeps the lines of communication open. The families are some of our biggest supporters,” Samantha said.
One of the benefits of Palmer Home’s long-term presence in the community is the care that house parents and children receive from the people around them. Whether that support comes in the form of prayer, Thanksgiving dinner groceries, Christmas gifts, or just a cookout to say they care, the Conners consistently feel the love and support of the Hernando community.
“Overall, the people we have come into contact with because of what we do here at Palmer Home have been such a blessing to our lives! We have a wonderful support network, a community willing to give and serve, and we have made lifelong friendships,” Samantha said. “Palmer Home is not just a blessing to the children it serves, but it is a blessing to us as well!”