When Arlissa Schober first mentioned becoming PCHAS Home Parents to her husband Bill, he looked at her, as she recalls, like she was crazy. But she knew he’d make a great Home Parent, and she eventually convinced him to visit PCHAS’ Waxahachie campus. A visit to the breathtaking campus was all it took for Arlissa to convince Bill that they should serve as PCHAS Home Parents. An avid golfer, Bill loves the outdoors, and seeing the campus was the final push needed to convince him.
Arlissa has a history with PCHAS going back to 1988 when she and her first husband were PCHAS Home Parents. Years later, she reconnected with Wilma Pike, a retired PCHAS Home Parent, on Facebook. Arlissa then searched the PCHAS website, and spotted an opening for Home Parents. She felt called to return to this ministry that had captured her heart years before.
The Schobers are now what’s called “floating relief Home Parents,” so they serve all eight Group Homes--four in Itasca and four in Waxahachie--to give a break to the full-time Home Parents. “We just love them and teach them about Jesus and life in general,” said Arlissa.
Bill and Arlissa see themselves as grandparents to the kids. The kids affectionately call Bill “Bibby” and Arlissa “Bling,” the names that their grandchildren gave them. “We come in and spoil them; we ‘ruin’ them for a week before the ‘real’ Home Parents return from their time off,” says Arlissa.
Being Home Parents can be tough, as most of the children come from backgrounds of abuse or neglect. For example, one little girl, Amanda, was four years old when she came into care. She had been living in a car with her sick mother when she came to PCHAS and had not been potty-trained; she had simply never been taught by her mother. Arlissa said once she and Bill taught her, it only took two days until she was trained. Arlissa was so proud of Amanda, and most importantly, Amanda was proud of herself. As tough as it is to be Home Parents, it’s moments like this that make it all worthwhile.
Bill and Arlissa are rewarded in many ways, including crying with joy with a child when he or she gets their birth certificate at the courthouse and the child says, “I am a real person;” being there as a child experiences new things, like eating at a nice restaurant; the happiness they glean from teaching a young man to tie a tie who has never had one. These are experiences they will never forget.
Arlissa says one of the most difficult things is the day the kids turn 18 and go out on their own. Arlissa and Bill hope that the kids remember they can call if they need help, which several have done. One of their most favorite things about being Home Parents is a simple one: hugs. “When you walk in a room and the kids all come running and hollering your name, you know you’ve connected with them,” says Bill.
By Alyssa Rueter