All our moms at Maggie’s Place are courageous, there is no doubt about that. It requires great strength and determination to face the situations in their lives and come through with a smile on their face.
I always tell people that nothing surprises me anymore at Maggie’s Place, but I’ve come to never expect ‘nothing’. It is not uncommon to have big issues dropped in casual conversation. I’ve heard such things as, “That’s the prison where I spent a year”. Or, “A year ago, I wouldn’t look in the mirror”. “I’ll never date a white man because I was raped by one.” “I was so desperate for a high that I didn’t care about prostitution.” “I’ve miscarried three or four times.”
Their stories are heart breaking—I think anyone would agree—but it is also a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. It’s hard to be troubled by their experiences when they are celebrating reaching their goals, laughing until their sides hurt, or playing a prank on a house mate right alongside staff members!
It would be easy to sensationalize their situations and experiences, but the reality is that life is messy. People are not defined so much by the things that happen in their lives, as by how they handle them and choose to live with them. Our moms are the definition of courage.
Allow me to share one example:
One of our moms courageously chose to place her daughter for adoption last fall. I was privileged to walk with her through the birth, adoption and grieving process, but this was so difficult. I had seen families receive an adopted child, but I had never been with a birth mother as she signed the papers.
It was an open adoption, so we received the gift of the adoptive family and her daughter coming back to put her leaf on our Tree of Life and for her candlelight. I never would have expected that walking through this with her would allow me to help and support two other friends in similar situations.
One of the things that struck me the most was the adoptive father. Part of the reason our mom chose to place her daughter up for adoption, was to give her child a stable family and a father. So many of our moms who come to Maggie’s Place don’t know what it’s like to have a father or even a father figure in their lives, but she wanted her daughter to. Each time I have seen and interacted with the adoptive father I’ve been blown away by how much he loves his family and children, and how much he cares for our mom as well. She chose so well in picking this family!
In seeing her smile as she held her daughter this weekend, I couldn’t help but think, this woman is so courageous, and I truly love her!
By Mary Notess, MissionCorps member at The Zechariah House