"I met a girl."
They were the last words Annette Friesen expected to hear from her husband, Rick, as she picked him up from the airport in June 2005.
Whoa, Annette thought. Twenty-nine years of marriage and you meet someone.
Rick explained that, traveling home from a business trip in California, he'd been seated next to a teenaged girl. Small and thin, dressed in bobby socks and a denim skirt and carrying a gym bag, she seemed to be traveling alone. Intrigued, Rick struck up a conversation with her.
She told him her name was Christina, and she was 15 years old. Then she stunned Rick by explaining she was a foster kid traveling to a shelter. Her case worker had been unavoidably seated a few rows behind them. Over the two-hour flight, she hesitantly shared pieces of her story. Abandoned by her mother as an infant. Raised by an abusive, alcoholic father and eventually removed from her home when she was 12. Placed in a foster family where she couldn't fit in. And now, on her way to an uncertain future in Mississippi.
"I just kept thinking, We have empty bedrooms and we're not that old," Rick told Annette. "Maybe we can do something."
Annette was astonished. With their three children grown and gone for the past two years, she and Rick had been relishing their freedom. Both enjoyed fulfilling jobs with Peacemaker Ministries and tooling around on Rick's new Harley. This sudden interest in taking on a child he'd just met seemed to come from left field.
You Want to What?
The next morning, Rick told Annette, "I want to look for Christina. Can I?"1