A faithful woman was fired from her job at a Louisiana corrections facility in order to take care of an inmate’s baby before word got out and donations came pouring in from the community.
58-year-old Roberta Bell lives in Vickburg, Mississippi, where she takes care of five of her eight grandchildren. Bell worked as a corrections officer at the Louisiana Transitional Center for Women when she met a pregnant woman who needed help.
Katie Bourgeois only needed to serve two more months on her sentence, but she was about to give birth. No one in her family could take in the child until she was released and she asked Bell if she could take the baby. Bell agreed and alerted her supervisor, who told her that there was a conflict of interest with her job.
Later, the supervisor asked Bell if she was still considering taking in the child.
“I said, if the hospital calls me to come get that baby, I’m going to get that baby,” Bell told CBS News. “And he said, ‘Well, OK, I’m going to have to terminate you.'”
Bell decided the baby was more important than her job. A week later, the baby was born and she took him home with her.
“I started taking pictures, I started snapping pictures,” said Bell. “He was so precious. I put his clothes and stuff on him and I held him for a little while. They buckled him into a car seat, and we left and we came home.”
Bourgeois named the baby boy Kayson, which happens to be the same name as one of her grandsons.
“For two months I raised him. I loved him as he was my own, and I still love him today,” she said.
Bourgeois was released on July Fourth, and she went straight to Bell’s home to pick up her baby.
“She was kind of, you know, a little nervous because he didn’t really know her and she says, ‘He’s crying, Ms. Bell,’ and I said, ‘Well baby,’ I say, ‘He’s got to get used to you,'” Bell explained to CBS News.
Bell found a new calling after word spread in the community and people began to donate money and baby products to her.
“God provided so much stuff,” Bell said tearfully. “People came by, agencies called. It [was] just overwhelming, because I couldn’t do it by myself. That was part of my ministry that I’m getting ready to start.”
Bell, who now works sorting cans at a food distributor, is using the donations to establish a transitional home for women leaving prison called the “Serenity House.”
“I’m hoping it’ll be ready before the first of the year,” she said, “because them ladies calling me.”
CBS concluded the emotional story with Bell singing a hymn she would use as a lullaby to help the baby fall asleep.
Here’s the interview with Roberta Bell:
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