For Kayla, becoming a part of Paul and Christy Wilson’s home was more than getting a new address. It was stability for the first time in her life, an encounter with people who believed in her and spurred her on to become more than she thought she could ever be.
But reaching stability isn’t always a steady journey.
When Kayla was first brought to the Wilsons’ home, she was only sure of one thing: she had been separated from her mother. Eventually, Paul and Christy shared a note from Kayla’s mother with her that would reveal more than a young girl is ever prepared to hear. Kayla’s mother was in prison – not for the first time – but this stay would be a long one.
This realization took Kayla back to a truth that had conditioned her to believe lies about herself her entire life.
Kayla’s mother was the victim of rape from a complete stranger, and her pregnancy with Kayla was the result. For Kayla, this led to years of being labeled an accident, a mistake.
“I’ve always been silenced,” she says, “being told by everyone I was never good at anything, I would never amount to anything, I’d be just like my mother.”
But it was the Wilsons’ love and affirmation that slowly chipped away at those falsehoods and allowed Kayla to let them in. It was the routine and consistency that let her learn to trust her new parents in a way she had never before been able to trust.
Even more, it was the introduction to structure that pulled Kayla out of Special Education and into a traditional classroom. Through that transition, an exposure to 4-H would uncover a gift Kayla never imagined she had – public speaking.
After winning her very first public speaking competition and seeing the pride and joy it produced in her parents, Kayla knew that using her gift was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. The gift that had laid dormant for so long would soon spur her into a professional career most only dream of.
With all odds initially against her, Kayla graduated as valedictorian of her class and went on to Belmont University to study broadcast journalism. Not even seven months after graduating, Kayla was working in a top 20 TV market hosting her own travel show.
Considering her past, the accomplishment feels even more significant. Kayla would tell you much of her inspiration can be credited to S. Truett Cathy’s book, Unexpected Opportunities. Of course, Kayla fondly refers to him as “Grandpa Truett.”
“I think God gave me the gift of speaking and put me in all of these opportunities in front of the camera so that I can share and tell people there’s so many people out there who have gone through what I’ve gone through, tenfold,” she says.
For the Wilsons, credit for this turnaround story is quickly given to WinShape Homes.
“WinShape Homes means making a difference in the life of a child which will carry on for generations to break that cycle [these kids] have been through,” Christy says.
And a broken cycle it truly is for Kayla.