A babe in search of Christmas shelter
Rose Falk gently rocked her day-old son, Cayden, Wednesday afternoon in the nursery at Providence Medford Medical Center.
Cayden was wrapped snugly in a blue fleece blanket and fussed momentarily but quieted down as he looked back and forth between his mother and father, Chris Falk. In that moment, all was well with the Falks.
But today, Christmas Day, Rose will be released from the hospital and return to the St. Vincent de Paul homeless shelter, where staff members have kindly saved her a room with a bed, a dresser and a place for Cayden's bassinet. Chris will return to work his two jobs, including pumping gas at a local station, and to his temporary home, which for the time being is the Talent work-release center for criminal offenders on parole or probation.
A shelter is hardly the home parents would want for their newborn on Christmas Day, but Rose is not complaining and has hopes that as she and Chris have turned their lives around, a better future is in store for them and Cayden.
“I’m just grateful I have somewhere where I can stay long enough until we find a place or I get Rogue Retreat,” Rose said, adding that she’s been on the waiting list for Rogue Retreat’s affordable housing program since July.
The couple’s 5-year-old son, Chris Jr., has been staying at his grandmother’s house for the last month, ever since his mom went into preterm labor and was hospitalized for two weeks before being put on bed rest.
When Rose learned she was pregnant earlier this year, she and Chris, who was released from prison in April 2013, were inspired to change their lifestyle and seek help for their methamphetamine addiction. On the same day, they enrolled in OnTrack’s 90- to 120-day residential treatment programs — the Home/Moms Program and the Dads Program — and, in August, graduated five days apart.
As of Jan. 5, Rose will be seven months clean.
“It was pretty scary for a while when I was like ‘Oh, my gosh, what do you do when you’re starting all over again?’ ” Rose said. “But we’ll make it through."
Now, between Chris’ full-time job at the gas station and part-time job as a roofer, the Falks are saving up for a one-bedroom apartment for their family of four.
Rose said she purchased Chris Jr. a few toys for Christmas, including some dinosaurs, trucks and transformers.
"Me and my husband have been together 16 years," Rose said Wednesday. " We've been through a lot of stuff. We'll make it through this."