Bound By Faith


Vicki Standifer watches after her grandson Luke Sturgill, right, and her two adopted boys Kori Dillion, center, and James Gregory, second from right, in Whitesburg Ky. After cleaning the inside of the house, Standifer went outside to check on the boys, who were playing with the kittens. “So many babies, this house is crawling with babies,” said Standifer.

Vicki Standifer, 48, never refers to herself as anything special. As a mother, her time is occupied with taking care of two former foster children that she and her husband, Jack, adopted: Kori Dillion, 8, and James Gregory, 6. On top of her duties of being a stay at home mom, she takes care of her two grandchildren. Since her first daughter works 12 hour shifts at a nursing home and her other daughter’s house caught on fire a month ago, she feels compelled to take on the responsibility. People often say Vicki and her mother are sisters. Despite the 18-year difference between the two, Vicki stands alone. Growing up in a southern Baptist home, she never imagined being a Pentecostal. She was thrust into rules she was never told about. “My mother bought me a dress for my birthday; this was a few weeks after I got saved. It was beautiful, and sleeveless.”

“I never thought anything about it, so I wore it to church… I was cold-shouldered and I couldn’t understand why… I had to learn it the hard way. If you don’t do what they tell you to do you are kind of looked down on,” said Vicki. It is Jack that held the strong grip on the religious convictions in family life. After giving up pants for dresses and skirts because of her new found religious beliefs, she once thought of suicide. “I thought I had thrown away all my pants, until I was looking in the closet one day and found my favorite pair. I put them on and they felt wonderful… I would sneak them sometimes.

I sat in that rocking chair and cried for hours, I thought about killing myself but I prayed to God to help me with my temptation and I realized I was worth more than that and that it was the Devil inside of me,” said Vicki. Her and Jack almost divorced twice, once over her pants and the second time over the removal of the television. A woman with compassion and conviction towards her faith and children longs for company. “I don’t have to watch anyone today. The little one is gone; his mom picked him up at 1 o’clock this morning… I don’t know what to do…” said Vicki.

Standifer watches after her grandson Elijah Baker, 1, every Wednesday through Friday while his mom goes to work with retired veterans in a nursing home an hour and a half away. Her daughter are not able to always make it home on time to be able to pick up Elijah, so he spends the night with his grandma. “Sometimes he confuses his mother and I. I always call myself Mamaw in front of him, but she tells me that when she gets mad at him he cries at the door for his Mama,” said Standifer.
Standifer had warned Luke Sturgill and Kori Dillion that they should not play with James Gregory’s gun because they were going to break it, but they ignored her and broke it less than an hour after they were warned. James had been taking a nap, and when he went outside and saw that they broke his gun and came in crying to Standifer, wanting her to fix it.
Vicki Standifer sits with her grandson Luke Stergill at the dinner table. Stergill wanted to go shoot his fathers BB gun, but he had to wait until after dinner.
Vicki Standifer waits in the Pineview Hospital for the nurses to come get her to take blood tests for her surgery in five days. Standifer had always struggled with Carpal Tunnel and trigger finger. Lately she has not had the ability to move her thumb or her pointer finger. Standifer is not allowed to watch T.V. under the church rules, and had to take it out of her house a decade ago, but she still sneaks it in from time to time.
At Walmart, Vicki Standifer shops for DVD’s for her children. She is allowed to buy cartoon movies, but every now and then, Standifer buys movies for herself to watch on the computer. “One time I bought a movie and I felt so guilty I took it out half way and threw it away. There was just too many bad words,” said Standifer.
Elijah Baker had been picking flowers on the side of the road on his way up to his aunt’s house with his grandma Vicki Standifer in Whitesburg, Ky. Standifer got into the ditch to pick a few of the dandelions for Baker.
Vicki Standifer prays at the Pentecostal Faith Tabernacle Church. She has been going to this church for the past three years. She moved her family from the last church she went to for 19 years. “It was a hard core church. They kind of go overboard sometimes… Some things are just too far fetched,” said Standifer.
Vicki Standifer cleans up as her husband Jack talks on the phone and her children James Gregory, right, and Kori Dillion play after dinner.
Vicki Standifer picks up her grandson, Elijah Baker, after he spent three hours at his great-grandmother Anna MaggardÕs home. “Sometimes I think my family is ashamed of me. I don’t think they even wanted Jack and I to adopt James and Kori,” said Standifer.