Melody and her husband on porch

A Place to Call Home

Miracle Moments


Brought to you by: Molly Maid of Birmingham,

During my childhood, my mother fought but she could never truly win the battle against addiction and depression. Nor could my father, as he struggled with mental illness and addiction. I attended seven different schools before the 4th grade, often packing one suitcase and leaving everything else behind. 

Melody Weldon
Melody arrived at Big Oak Ranch and found a place to call home.

My mother always had a new job, and I didn’t understand why. During those seven years my mom was sober, my biological sister and I were often latchkey kids. My mother couldn’t afford daycare so she would drop us off at the library and tell us to stay quiet, read and not bother the librarians. Because of this, I became an avid reader, often reading fictional stories about children who grew up in boarding schools… At nine years old, I realized my home was not a good place to live anymore. My mom was in and out of psychiatric treatment facilities. But I held on to hope for a place like those I read about. I remember the day I prayed for Big Oak Ranch – praying a simple prayer: ‘Dear God, I want a new place to live. One where I can have a mom and a dad. I want to have a house with a trampoline, and horses, and a swimming pool. I don’t ever want to have to change schools again.’ That same day, my biological mom told me that she had found a new home for me.

Melody and her husband on porch
Melody Weldon Patton and her husband Matt live near Destin, Fla.

On the day my mother took me to Big Oak Ranch, I was amazed as I watched my prayer materialize in front of me. As we drove under the arches I saw the horses, the swimming pool, the lake, and the home with a trampoline! God answered my prayer with Big Oak Ranch. My houseparents, Steven and Christy Gum, showed me nothing but patience, kindness, and grace. I remember my understanding of love transforming as my housemom didn’t wrongly punish or humiliate me when I disobeyed. Rather, she showed me truth wrapped in incredible grace, and in doing so, introduced me to the Gospel. The support of my Big Oak Family and a fantastic education at Westbrook Christian School led me to receive a full ride to Jacksonville State University. After graduating from undergrad, I went on to receive my Master’s in Clinical Nutrition at UAB. The influence and love of my houseparents, the teachers at Westbrook, Mary Graham, and the entire staff at Big Oak are all a huge part of the person I get to be every day for the people around me. And because of that, I am forever grateful. 

-Melody Weldon Patton


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