Mike and Edith's family
Pictured above from left to right: Mike, Gabriel, Edith and Gabby
Hardworking parents and future Habitat homeowners, Edith and Mike’s journey together started in 1997 when Mike moved to New Braunfels from Poteet.
Their first child, Gabby, was born in 1998. Even then, Edith knew that her journey in motherhood was far from over.
“The Lord Jesus Christ spoke to my heart and said, ‘in 5 years, you’re gonna have a son,’” Edith said.
Sure enough, five years later, Edith and Mike had their second child, Gabriel. Along with the blessings, Edith and Mike faced tribulations as parents.
“It’s been a journey with my children,” Edith explained. “Both of them have autism.”
They (Mike and Edith) noticed a different behavior in their daughter once she began attending school.
“When she (Gabby) started Kindergarten, Gabriel was born.” Mike said. “She just hated school. She would cry… for like six months (she) would just cry in a little ball. Not interact with anyone. And she hated the baby (Gabriel). They didn’t know what was wrong with her, nobody could communicate with her. She was talking, but not much.”
The school didn’t want to let Gabby move forward because of the issues she was having, but Mike and Edith stood their ground until a specialist was sent in to assist Gabby and other children with special needs.
“They gave us their answer… we were able to get her with the right teachers, in the right classes,” Mike said, “she just progressed.”
Gabby’s brother, Gabriel, had a journey that was similar to her own. By the age of two, doctors knew Gabriel had communication issues.
“The doctors noticed he (Gabriel) was different and he wasn’t progressing the way he should,” Mike said.
Gabriel’s communication was much less advanced than his sister’s, but determined father Mike kept trying to figure out how to best communicate with his son until he reached a breakthrough.
“One day he was just desperate to tell me something. He grabbed me by my face and he was just looking at me trying to tell me, tell me, tell me…” Mike said, “And finally, I understood what he was saying. From that point on I would understand more… whatever he wanted, we’d go over what that word was until he got it right.”
“He didn’t talk (fluently) until the age of seven,” Edith explained.
“There’s a lot of tears and pain when you have children with special needs, and you cry and you struggle,” Edith said. “But when you redirect your children and (you) get the help you need and you humble yourself and you forgive one another and love one another…when I look back (at) all the tears and the pain and how hard the journey was, and I see how far my children have come, it was all worth it.”
“You fall on your knees a lot, you get up and you cry but you know what? It’s the fight,” Edith said. “I’ve learned to fight and cry and stand up and fall down, and that’s just part of life. You find strength in others.”
For many years, Edith told Mike she wanted her house.
“Financially, we just couldn’t afford it,” Mike explained. “Down payments and stuff, I thought we were going to be renting for the rest of our lives.”
Renting a home proved difficult for Mike and Edith many times. In one house, things were falling apart and they couldn’t get the landlord to make any repairs. There wasn’t any central air or heat and the doors and windows had leaks. Mike, Edith and their children ended up unexpectedly having to move out of that house and into a small two-bedroom apartment. Their son, Gabriel, has never had a room of his own.
“When you’re renting, it’s almost like you’re living in a motel. You know you’re there temporarily. It’s somebody else’s place and just doesn’t feel like home sometimes,” Mike said, “I’m beyond grateful that my kids don’t have to go through this. I can give them a home they can stay in.”
During all the chaos, they never lost their faith.
“I waited 20 years for my home. I’m a Christian and I believe in God,” Edith said. “In one of my intercessions the Lord said ‘your house will be built paid in full,’ and I held onto that.”
A friend told them about Habitat for Humanity and they turned in all of the paperwork for the homebuyer application. They realized their dream of homeownership was coming true when they received the news that they qualified for Comal County Habitat for Humanity’s program.
“I hit the floor and I cried. I’ll never forget that day – it’s as if I see it over and over again,” Edith said. “I’m thankful and I’m grateful.”
Having a home that Mike and Edith can call their own is a dream come true. It will mean that Edith can grow a garden in the back yard. Gabby and Gabriel will have their own rooms and Mike will have a safe place for his family to live.
“This past year, I started looking back at all of my hurt and pain and it’s like it’s been erased completely… this broken heart has healed a lot,” Edith said. “Sometimes you open doors and people come and help, and that is the hand of humanity.”