BABY STEPS She’s got faith to heal those sick in soul when opioid babies wail


It takes strong faith to be there for others at their most vulnerable times of life. Cindy Henderson is just that kind of soul.

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“You have to be comfortable with life from birth to death,” she says. “I have my faith that keeps me comfortable with all of that.”

Cindy manages the nurses at Brigid’s Path, a care center for opioid-exposed newborns in southwest Ohio.

She’d spent about 20 years working in hospice and home care, helping people at the other end of life. “When I retire from this,” Cindy told herself back then, “I’m going to rock babies that need mommies or that need someone to love and cuddle them.”

Instead, Cindy went on to work in religious education. She was working with her husband, the coordinator of youth ministry, when another kind of calling came.

It was from Jill Kingston, a longtime friend from church who was setting up Brigid’s Path. “I wanted to see where your heart is,” Jill said. Cindy was on Brigid’s Path board of directors in its earliest days, but had stepped aside to work with her husband. But the right time had finally come.

Read more about Brigid’s Path: Two centers of hope open for opioid-exposed babies

It was a privilege to be with the dying, Cindy says. Now it’s her privilege to help set young lives on the right path. That includes helping the babies’ mothers, who struggle with opioid addiction.

“These moms will come to us, and you know most of them will have been saddened that this is the way it is,” Cindy says. But faith pushes them toward the future, not the past.

“We just have to look forward and do the best we can now,” she says. “Not only for their babies, but for themselves. And see how they can be the best in this world for themselves, their families and for God.”

ExploreClick here for more on the special series -- Baby Steps: The littlest victims of the opioid crisis

About this story

Rare Heartland Editor Gayle S. Putrich and Video Producer Allie Caren traveled to Ohio and West Virginia to visit the only two neonatal abstinence syndrome clinics in the United States. They listened to those whose lives have been affected by the nationwide opioid epidemic and learned how families and communities are coming together to aid the most helpless victims of the crisis.

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