Sunday February 24 8:00 PM / 7:00c

Episode 3006 - Forever in My Heart
From the Production Journal of Brian Bird, Executive Producer of When Calls the Heart

As production gets under way this week on “Forever in my Heart,” from a fine script by Josef Anderson, I have to confess… I can’t wait for our growing worldwide audience to see this episode, starting with our American fans in a few months. The reason I’m excited is that if you could bottle up everything “When Calls the Heart” has come to stand for in its first three seasons, it would be this: Family is the cure for what ails the human race. When fathers or mothers go missing, and families are fractured, there is a tear in society that no amount of money or special programs can repair. When children have no one to love them or model their lives after, the roads of life are painful and confusing, and their futures are uncertain. Without intervention, they often go on to repeat the mistakes of their parents with their own children.

Without family, the universe doesn’t work properly. It doesn’t make sense. It’s broken.

So when Jack Thornton goes to patch a hole in the tent of new Hope Valley settler Edith, he discovers that she and her new baby boy, Oliver, are all alone because her young husband, Roy, has abandoned them. And in a storyline that will conclude with our next script, our Mountie goes into action, searching out Roy at the silver mine where he is working to appeal to him to come home and be the husband and father he needs to be. What he finds in Roy is not belligerence, hostility or lack of love… but fear. Roy feels afraid, unworthy, unable to be a provider. How many millions of families are shattered today for similar reasons?

Meanwhile, in town, Abigail and Cody get the surprise of their lives when Cody’s older sister, Becky, makes her return to Hope Valley. Although she is still convalescing from her illness and confined to her wheelchair, she and Cody are thrilled to be back together because they are orphans who only had each other to depend on before Abigail took them in. Yet despite their reunion, Becky is afraid to try to learn to walk again because that’s what the hardships of life can do to young person without parents or mentors to help them. Fear of the future overwhelms them, in a way, paralyzes them. It’s hard enough just growing up, let alone growing without a Mom or a Dad, or both. Elizabeth helps encourage Becky’s talents and dreams, and eases her fear of the future, which ultimately helps get her back on her feet. But that’s not the best part.

In one of the most moving scenes to me of Season 3, our wonderful star Lori Loughlin assures Becky that she is not without family. Abigail confesses to both her and Cody that God has placed it in her heart to adopt them. This storyline is especially gratifying to my wife, Patty, and I as adoptive parents of two beautiful daughters. But I’m also thrilled for Lori, such a terrific role model and devoted mother herself, who gave us the idea for this Hope Valley adoption story.

As it turns out, love is thicker than blood. Nurture is tougher than nature. Family can repair the tear in the universe. Maybe our little show is good medicine for the world, and for the soul.

– Brian Bird