Life’s journey is all about following the calling in hearts and our souls. Ellen Huntington and her husband responded to a child in need. They welcomed him into their home and cared for him as if he was one of their own. The challenges they faced were heavy and extensive, but did not come without rewards. But, it took time for rewards to come. Meet Ellen Huntington and hear her story. You will come to know how by opening her heart to a young man, God escorted her on a broader path of love, knowledge and understanding.
“Who Cried for the Little Boy?” is the brutally honest chronicle of Ellen Huntington’s six-year journey to change the life of a troubled teen named Josh. From her initial excitement as she envisions being the instrument of change in a young life, through all the highs and lows, Ellen openly shares their hopes, setbacks, and discouragement. Ellen Huntington is a happily married mother of two when seventeen-year-old Josh enters her life. When she learns of the mistreatment that Josh suffered as a child, Ellen is appalled; she throws herself into making a difference in his life and the lives of the other students at the alternative school he attends. As Ellen addresses Josh’s past issues of abandonment, abuse, and dysfunction, she digs deep into her faith to survive in an unfamiliar world. She struggles to understand God’s plan as she discovers Josh’s needs. Josh moves into her home, and she and her husband Grant become Mom and Dad to the boy in addition to their own two sons. While other families may have collapsed due to the stress and strain that Josh’s issues and presence placed on the family structure, Ellen’s family held strong. After all the heart-wrenching struggles Ellen and Josh endure, will Ellen’s unconditional love be enough to help Josh find and sustain his new life, or will he forfeit it all?
Ellen, this is more than a book that you wrote, this was your actual experience. What prompted you and your husband to bring this young man into your family?
I was a mentor at an alternative school and Josh was one of the boys in that group. As my husband Grant and I got to know Josh he was very interested in spending time with us. He never had a mom and dad. I honestly never intended to move a student into our home, but after Josh’s grandpa hit him one evening, my husband told Josh he could stay with us as long as he needed to. We weren’t prepared for how our life was about to change!
You talk about the stress and strain on you and your family because of Josh’s issues. What gave you the strength to keep in the family and to help him?
When God calls me to do something I am determined to follow his lead and in the past have seen Him bless my efforts – I knew God had a plan with Josh as well. Looking back I am so thankful that Matt and Seth were supportive and had such understanding of what their parents were doing!
Did your sons see him as an “outsider” and a problem, or were they accepting of him?
Because I was a youth director, my boys were used to kids being at our house for Bible studies or to hang out. Both boys enjoyed being part of such a large youth group. Matt was in his first year of college when Josh moved in. At first he didn’t care so much for Josh being in his space when he returned home for college visits. Seth was in his junior year of high school and a very independent young man. At first I do believe it was an adjustment for both Matt and Seth. As time passed they accepted Josh but mainly supported what their parents were doing.
You said that throughout this process, you kept asking for God’s acknowledgement that you were doing the right thing. What were some of the ways you received his acknowledgement?
The book covers the first six years. In the fourth year I began to see our influence on Josh not being as successful. Josh’s behavior made life very tough at times. I was making sure this was where God wanted me and of course was praying for help!! The first time I asked for confirmation – a word from God but not through anyone in my family – it came through a friend. She had been doing a Bible study that week, made notes of things she learned and shared that with me. God couldn’t have been more clear with confirming I needed to be in Josh’s life.
If you could go back, would have taken this young man into your family and gone through what you went through?
I’ve been asked that a lot! At this point in my life I’d say yes because Josh needed help going through some extremely rough events in his life. We helped him begin the process of healing. I’m not sure how I’d answered this question in the midst of the worst parts though.
The years that you spent with this young man prompted you to write a book about it. Why did you feel compelled to write this book?
I knew I had an unbelievable story to tell. One that many people would be able to relate to and be relived to know they weren’t alone. Also, it is a story that would prompt others to make a difference by stepping out of their comfort zone. I believe God will use this book to comfort and challenge people as well as to answer questions we are asking him.
The book was written and sat on a shelf (so to speak) for about four years. Why did it sit and what made you decide to get it out there when you did?
Where do you publish? What does it take? I knew zero about getting a book published. I wanted to take pride in the finished product! It has been a learning experience and now I’m ready to help others if needed. I’m still learning the marketing side.
A side note on the book – my son Matt designed the book cover and he did a great job! I love it!
People have found this book to be extremely helpful in dealing with children. What is some of the specific feedback that you’ve gotten and from what kind of people?
There’s been so many comments it’s hard to pick the ones to talk about:
The things I hear consistently are:
- When’s the next book, I want to hear what happens next.
- People feel the emotions I’m feeling – my voice is strong. It is like they are sitting across from me and I am telling them my story!
- Readers have a understanding of abuse through scriptures I studied.
- The book gives hopes and encouragement.
- What a story of unconditional love!
Can you describe or explain what you’ve learned about yourself, your own life and your connection to God from this entire experience?
I learned I’m determined to follow God, even when things are extremely hard! When I asked God for answers I always followed it up with “no matter what I will trust you!” Strong faith is a must in times of trial! Mine was put to the test! Bible study and prayer help us to know God! I’m thankful I had that foundation.
Even though I’d worked with hundreds of students I had a very limited knowledge of child abuse and its effects. One in four girls and one in five boys are abused before the age of 18. That is a large group of people! They are looking for answers and help!
God will qualify the ones he calls if we follow and trust him. I’ve never been let down!
And, finally, what’s next? I know that people have asked you to get more involved in a larger way to help guide others. Is that part of the plan?
Good Question – what’s next! I’m trying to get my book into the hands of those who need it and hope to reach many with its message.
Check out the book “Who Cried for the Little Boy” here: Www.Ellenhuntingtonauthor.com