The following paragraphs describe cases successfully managed by Program Providers since joining the Texas Alternative to Abortion Services Program. They are shared for the limited purpose of illustrating the quality and scope of the Providers’ work. The clients have given their consent for their stories to be shared, and their names have been changed to protect their privacy.
Alma was referred to Family Care Connection by a local women’s shelter. She was approximately six months pregnant, 27 years old, single, homeless, unemployed, and had lost custody of her eight year old son. Alma had a history of substance abuse and making poor life choices. She was on probation and was completing community service work.
Alma said that she was ready to turn her life around. She wanted to be a good parent to the child she was carrying and wanted to regain custody of her son. FCC provided Alma with case management and individual and group parent education. The caseworker met with her several times a month. They discussed bonding and attachment, SIDS, Shaken Baby Syndrome, breast feeding, brain development, child development, and post partum depression.
Alma attended FCC groups on establishing healthy relationships, domestic violence, finances and nutrition. Alma and FCC developed a plan of service. Alma worked really hard and accomplished her goals. She kept her appointments with her case worker, attended parenting groups, kept her curfew, and followed through on the referrals and appointments given to her by her case worker.
Alma was referred to the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) where she received free housing for six months. The case worker was able to locate furniture and find resources that provided bus fare for Alma’s mother to come from another state to assist with caring for the baby. The worker helped Alma research scholarship and grant information. She enrolled in community college and was accepted into the paralegal program. She began classes two weeks after the birth of her baby. To help with living expenses, Alma receives a stipend from the school and food from the FCC food pantry. She also received assistance with completing and filing her food stamp application. She now receives food stamps, WIC, Medicaid for the baby, and is on the waiting list for free childcare.
With support and assistance from the Alternatives to Abortion Program, FCC was able to help Alma change her situation and regain custody of her son. She is off probation and says she does not plan to remain on government assistance. She has regained her self worth and is motivated to become a caring, nurturing parent to both of her children.
Kaye was thinking about having an abortion even though she said she didn’t believe in it. Her boyfriend had lost his job and he wanted to move in with her so she could support him. The last thing he wanted was the added expense of a baby, so he pressured Kaye to have an abortion. This was her first pregnancy and she was torn between her personal convictions and the stress of her current circumstances. She came to Fifth Ward Pregnancy Help Center to discuss whether she should continue her pregnancy.
Kaye said she was considering abortion if the pregnancy wasn’t too far along. After learning about fetal development, however, she decided she needed additional time to think about her decision. She struggled between the fear of raising her baby alone, if she chose to carry to term and the fear of regret, if she chose to terminate.
After taking time to reflect on her options she decided to carry and parent her baby. She also decided to break things off with her baby’s father because she said she could not be responsible for his life. She had a good, steady job and her own apartment but unfortunately, paid maternity leave was not one of her employment benefits. She was concerned about how she would pay her bills while she was temporarily off of work after the birth of the baby. She also worried about how she would afford furniture and clothes for her newborn.
Through the Grace Closet at Fifth Ward and a baby shower, Kaye received all of the baby supplies and clothes she needed. She also received community referrals and enough financial assistance to cover the two months of rent after her baby was born.
Kaye fell in love with her baby girl. She has repeatedly expressed gratitude for the support, materials assistance, and encouragement she received at Fifth Ward and has mentioned that she hates to think of what might have happened if she had not visited our center during her time of crisis.
Catherine first contacted The Gladney Center in early January. She was faced with an unplanned pregnancy and was interested in the option of adoption.
Catherine met with a counselor at The Gladney Center and was informed of her options within adoption and was also counseled regarding the option of parenting. Upon considering her options and evaluating her circumstances, Catherine decided to move forward with an adoption plan for her baby, who was due five months later.
Catherine first received counseling through Gladney’s Community Service Program. However, Catherine’s family circumstances worsened as the pregnancy progressed. Catherine and her two year old daughter were kicked out of her grandmother’s house, where they were living. Catherine had nowhere to live and no transportation as her family refused to assist her in any way. Faced with the fear of moving to a shelter, Catherine decided that Gladney’s residential program was the best option for her at the time. Catherine arranged for her daughter to temporarily live with her father for the remainder of Catherine’s pregnancy. In addition, Catherine discovered through Gladney’s contract doctor that she had serious health issues, which meant that she needed to see a high risk doctor.
In the dorm at Gladney, Catherine was immediately surrounded by supporting staff and other women also planning adoption. Catherine began attending our “Loving Decisions” class. In this class Catherine was able to openly discuss her thoughts, feelings, and concerns about adoption. Throughout the class she was able to increase her own self-awareness and better understand the grieving process that occurs when placing a child for adoption. Catherine was able to become better prepared for the emotional journey that lies ahead of her. She was equipped with the knowledge of effective and healthy ways to cope after she places her child and moves forward with life. Through the encouragement and support of the other women in this class facing similar situations she was able to secure a network of support that will be available long after she leaves Gladney. She also was able to attend our Childbirth classes taught by a local nurse. Catherine had a place to stay, food to eat, excellent prenatal care, transportation to her appointments, support in her decision for life and adoption, and she was able to receive additional counseling for non-adoption related issues with a local counselor.
Another incredible service offered which Catherine took full advantage of is Gladney’s “Next Steps” program. Within the program Catherine was able to create a life plan for herself after her adoption plan is complete. Catherine regularly received help to create a resume, search for local jobs, and to take control of her financial debt. She will now have a plan to manage and pay off her debt, as well as learn to handle her finances in a whole new way. She will also have a place to live, a job to provide for their family needs, and a way for her self confidence to grow. Catherine truly has embraced this opportunity to take steps to a brighter future, for herself and her daughter.
She wasn’t the typical client at our pregnancy center. Her two children were about to graduate from high school; she was wrapping up the teen years; the late nights, the challenges.
She was 36 and this was the last thing she thought she would face at this point in her life. Single and pregnant, abortion was an option. After all, she had been down that road before many years ago. We talked to her about her past abortion, and how we could help her with her current pregnancy.
Feeling comfortable with us, with her situation, she began coming to our life skill classes and earning points for material assistance. Soon she was collecting diapers, wipes, blankets and finally, a new crib.
Once tentative and frightened, she began to show confidence about her decision to parent. She worked through some issues she had from her previous abortion and begin to prepare for the new life growing inside of her. It wasn’t long before her boyfriend began to accompany her to classes. He too was getting ready to be a dad.
Soon, they started stopping by the center just to visit. They sat on the sofa in our lobby and told us all about their plans, their hopes, and even how they were going to decorate their nursery.
When James was born, the proud parents often brought him to visit several times a month. Our staff and volunteers took turns holding this beautiful baby boy. We watched him as he reached his milestones, smiling, pulling, and crawling – all over our office.
Nineteen months after his mom’s first visit to our center and the positive pregnancy test, we attended James’ first birthday party at the park. He is a happy,healthy baby who has two very proud parents.
Maria is a 21 year old, single, Hispanic woman. She and her child’s father, Sam, live together with their three month old baby. Maria and Sam have attended several group sessions that covered pre-natal, pregnancy, parenting and healthy relationships. They have received individual counseling and material assistance.
Maria took her first pregnancy test at about 5 weeks of pregnancy and was unhappy to find that the test was positive. She wasn’t sure she wanted to become a parent at that point in her life because she didn’t think she’d be able to provide for a child. She considered abortion but was afraid to follow through with it. Maria received her prenatal care through a health clinic in Dallas, who referred her and Sam to our program.
At one of the sessions Maria and Sam viewed the DVD, In the Womb. Once the video concluded, Maria and Sam said they felt they were educated on facts regarding conception and development and that they were confident they had made the right decision to continue with the pregnancy.
Prior to meeting Sam, Maria had been incarcerated for several years due to an assault charge. They were in need of positive relationship skills building education. Maria and Sam attended our “Parenting Is a Partnership” class which is an interactive healthy relationship class for unmarried co-parenting couples. The class covered finances, development of good communication skills managing anger, red flags of domestic violence, co-parenting, and breast feeding. We partnered with WIC (Women, Infants and Children) for this class and they provided breast pumps and pads for the attendees. In addition, all attendees received a gift bag with diapers, gift cards, baby clothes and books. There was also a drawing for two car seats and a stroller.
According to Maria and Sam, the information they have received from the classes and individual counseling has strengthened them as a family. They feel confident as parents and state they are now better able to articulate what they want and need in their relationship. These are the strengths that help young couples establish healthy relationships and healthy families.
Maria and Sam have attended FCC classes on positive discipline, home safety, car seat safety and breast feeding. When Sam’s hours at work were cut back, the family received material assistance with food and clothing. FCC also assisted them with filling out and filing the food stamp application. Maria and Sam have received printed material on parenting, mental health, healthy relationships, breast feeding, child abuse prevention, domestic violence, housing, neurotoxins and available community resources. They have also received calendars to help them record their appointments and their counselor follows up with them to ensure medical and community resource appointments are kept.
Although first time parenting can be so stressful, especially for lower income couples who have fewer familial and community resources, we are confident that this couple has been strengthened as parents through the various classes and counseling sessions they have received from our organization and will succeed at being great parents. We continue to support and maintain contact with this young family and they know that whenever they need additional assistance, we are there to help.
The best way I can describe abortion is that it’s a day or two procedure that you live with for the rest of your life. I was 15 and 16 when I had my two abortions. I thought about them every single day and felt like they left a huge void in my life. I tried filling that void with shopping and pets. I bought a dog, a hamster, a cat, and a bird; nothing helped. I still felt the void and I still had no peace.
I had my first child 6 years after the first abortion. It was the first pregnancy that I didn’t feel the pressure to abort and The Source for Women played a big role in that. They have been very helpful and so supportive, which was a big part of the reason I felt I could carry my baby to term.
I have learned so much from each class at The Source. Baby care, Childbirth, Parenting and Nutrition are my favorite classes. I learned more about my health from their classes than from my high school health class! The Parenting class keeps me sane by showing me how to relieve and deal with stressful situations. It’s also taught me how to discipline my ten month old baby without spanking. The classes teach me to be a better mom and I even enjoy myself while learning to do so.
Thanks to The Source, I have also met some life long friends. I’ve met other moms just like me and I wouldn’t know them if it wasn’t for the great classes and the staff here at The Source. The clothing, toys, and baby supplies that I receive from them really helps me out. The Source for Women is life-changing and full of opportunities. I’m extremely grateful for their programs. They’ve supported me and helped me out in so many ways.
The Source is a great place!
Susie is an eighteen year old high school graduate who came to the program when she was 6 months pregnant. At the time she was living with the baby’s father. Her hope was to make a life with him and her baby. Prior to the baby’s birth, her boyfriend decided to leave the area and move to another state as he was having trouble finding work. At first, Susie was frightened that she would not be able to parent her child alone and she really wanted her baby to have an involved father.
Susie came from a family background of drug and alcohol abuse and briefly experimented, herself. Once she learned she was pregnant, she was determined to remove herself from this lifestyle. Because of her mother’s dependency on drugs and alcohol, Susie distanced herself from her. Susie questioned her ability to successfully parent her child with so little support.
Susie and her case manager worked together to diminish her fears. They established a service plan that would provide Susie with the support, encouragement, and information she needed to get through the pregnancy and the birth of her child. She was very receptive to the advice and information provided by her case manager and became especially focused on keeping her baby healthy by taking good care of herself and eating nutritiously.
Susie delivered a healthy baby boy. Because she lacked confidence in herself and continued to feel inadequate in caring for her baby, she asked the case manager many questions about parenting. Susie was receptive to all advice and truly wanted to be a good mother. She was very adamant in following the program’s curriculum and learning about child care skills, understanding her child’s development, making positive choices, and good self care.
Susie has expressed great gratitude to her case worker for the constant support and encouragement, and for always being there to answer her questions.
Her case manager describes Susie as motivated and quite resourceful. Susie is currently looking for employment and hopes to eventually enroll in college. She plans to continue with the program until her baby is one year.
The baby is now three months old and Susie is successfully breast feeding him.She finally feels confident that she can parent her child alone. She is learning to interact with her child to advance his development and reads to him daily. She and her son are bonding beautifully.
I first met Kara when she came in for a pregnancy test. She said she was doubtful that she was pregnant but that she wanted to take a test because she was experiencing a few symptoms of pregnancy. While getting to know the client, I learned that she had grown up in a very strong goal oriented home, that she and her family had strong religious beliefs, and that having an education and good work ethic were both important and expected. Kara shared that she was attending a local college and had a year and a half left to finish her degree. She was employed and working full time while taking college courses. She said that her boyfriend, Blake, went to college out of state and lived with his mother. She had already spoken with Blake prior to the appointment and said that he was supportive of the possible pregnancy.
As we continued to talk it was evident that Kara was very afraid of potentially being pregnant. She expressed concern that Blake’s mother was not supportive of their relationship. She also thought her family would be very disappointed in her and was concerned that finishing school would be in jeopardy. I reiterated that she was in a safe and confidential place and that we would do our best to give her and her family the support they needed, regardless of the test result.
After administering the pregnancy test and positive results were read, Kara sat in the counseling room with tears rolling down her face. I first reminded her that she was not alone. Then I asked how she was feeling and if she had any thoughts as to what her next steps would be. Kara said she felt shocked and that she was sad to tell her parents that not only had she been sexually active before marriage, but that she was pregnant. She said she had major concerns about how she would be able to have a baby and what Blake’s mother would say but that she knew she wanted to parent her child. We discussed fetal development and prenatal care. I gave her a booklet on fetal development, and referrals for prenatal care and vitamins. Once I had answered all of Kara’s questions, we scheduled another appointment with her.
The next week Kara returned for her second appointment. At this visit she was provided with additional referrals for WIC, prenatal classes, and a report of pregnancy to help with applying for benefits during pregnancy. She said she had discussed her pregnancy with her parents and that even though the current circumstances weren’t what they had in mind for her future, they loved her and would be supportive of her, Blake, and their future grandchild.
Even though Kara seemed overwhelmed by the upcoming months of pregnancy, she remained strong in her desire to continue working and finish school on time. She expressed gratitude for the referrals and support she had received from The Life Center. We scheduled Kara for a third visit.
The next time I saw Kara was when she began attending our prenatal classes, which was weeks after our first meeting. It was good to see that she had become excited about the pregnancy. Throughout the next few months Kara kept us updated about what was happening in her life. She had found out she was having a boy, she told me that her parents were excited and supportive of the pregnancy, and that she was still enrolled in college and staying at pace as to her original plan. She seemed very eager to do everything she could to make things good and healthy for her and her child. She told me that she and Blake were trying to make things work but because of his mother’s influence, he was not acting on his own beliefs. She said they had talked about him moving to the area before their son was born and that he had been very distraught about not physically being there for her while she was pregnant with their baby. I gave Kara referral to give to Blake for a staffing service in town that could help him located a possible job. I also provided her with fatherhood material to give to Blake as a way to encourage, motivate, and challenge him to fatherhood responsibilities. I also introduced some of the parenting and relationship classes that were available to both men and women. Before she left that evening, Kara told me that because of the classes she had already attended, she felt enabled to encourage Blake to stand up to hi s mother and take responsibility for his future family.
When 18 year old Claire first came to the Gabriel Project Life Center in May 2008, she was 12 weeks pregnant and very upset. Claire explained that she recently lost her job and shortly after becoming pregnant, had broken up with her boyfriend. She lived in a small apartment with her mom and several of her siblings, nieces and nephews. She felt she had no support from her family or the baby’s father and didn’t know how she could provide for her baby. The Gabriel Project Life Center consultant listened to Claire’s concerns and provided the support she was desperately seeking. During Claire’s first visit she set goals for herself and received maternity clothes and baby items.
Over the next six months, Claire continued to come to the Life Center to take childbirth classes, nutrition classes, and others that educated her on how to care for her newborn. Through the classes, Claire earned enough credits to select a portable crib and a swing for her baby. She and her consultant often discussed her troubled family relationships and financial difficulties and how to overcome both of them. They also discussed her goals at each visit, which included going back to school, being a good mom,being independent and recording at least one positive event in her journal each day. Clair continued receiving maternity clothes and baby items throughout her pregnancy.
Claire gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in November. Since then, her relationships with her mom and siblings have improved and she feels confident in her ability to be a good mother for her daughter. In January she celebrated the achievement of two of the goals she had set the previous summer; she found an apartment for her and her daughter and she returned to school.
I found out that I was pregnant in December 2009 and I was devastated because I had not planned on having any more kids. I’m in my late thirties and I already have a teenage son and daughter. I thought my baby days were over. I live with the baby’s father, who is 10 years older than me. He and I have been together for 2 years.
Once I found out I was pregnant, I began researching places that provided pregnancy counseling and assistance. I couldn’t decide what to do and I needed information on my options. I didn’t know if I could continue with the pregnancy. I’m a recovering alcoholic and I worried that my past might have some effect on my baby, or that I wouldn’t be able to maintain my sobriety throughout the term of my pregnancy. The counselors and staff at The Source for Women were so very kind and thoughtful. They provided the support and encouragement that I was searching for.
They offered insight and advice. They provided support and encouragement. They helped me realize that there were other women, just like me, that had been in this situation. They reminded me that I was a strong woman and helped me be confident that I would get through this pregnancy successfully. I especially enjoyed the parenting classes.
My feelings towards this pregnancy changed from panic to excitement. Instead of being filled with paralyzing fear and depression, I was now positive and happy. I have had an amazing experience with The Source for Women and I would definitely recommend this service to other expecting mothers. I had never even known that this type of resource was available to women but I’m very grateful to have been a part of it.
I am a single 39 year-old African American woman. In 2003, I became angry with myself, disappointed and scared when I discovered that I was pregnant. I lost my job because I was required to stay on complete bed rest during the last trimester of my pregnancy. I had no family or friends for support. On April 13th 2004, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was evicted from my apartment of five years one week after the birth of my child. I was homeless without a penny to my name and no place to turn.
I contacted Hope House as my last resource and was accepted into the shelter. I had no idea of what to expect of living in a homeless shelter. But to my surprise, I found warm, loving, giving, and caring individuals. They did not judge my situation, but simply accepted and welcomed me. The professional volunteers guided and instructed me through the process of being a new mother and taught me valuable lessons on how to better myself and care for my child.
I was able to obtain permanent housing after several months at Hope House. I had a strong desire to finish my college education, but lacked the financial resources. Hope House staff told me about a new educational assistance program where the goal is to give women the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and dependence on government assistance. I was required to write a letter of my goals, intentions, and desire to become a productive member of our community. The Board of Directors approved my request for financial support and I was accepted into Del Mar College with the goal of becoming a court reporter. My college studies were going well and I was finally able to obtain child support. I no longer qualified for day care assistance because I was receiving the child support and the cost of daycare exceeded my limited income. Once again, Hope House came to my assistance through their Gabriel Project Community Outreach Program.
I currently have a 3.98 GPA at Del Mar College. I am on the National Dean’s List and Phi Beta Kappa. I am eternally grateful for my dream of finishing college is really coming true and I will be able to provide a positive future for my daughter. I owe this all to Corpus Christi Hope House.
Ana came to Seton Home when she was 4 months pregnant with her second child. Ana had a neglectful and dangerous early life since her mother was a drug addict and did not care for her children. After being placed in Child Protective Services custody, Ana and her baby daughter were living at a shelter in Kerrville for eight months before being placed at Seton Home in August of 2006.
At Seton Home, Ana found a safe and nurturing home to live with her daughter and to give birth to her new baby girl, who is now almost a year old. Throughout her stay, Ana received a host of services including prenatal care, health and nutrition counseling and education, childbirth instruction, food, clothing, diapers and all their baby needs. Ana also received individual and group counseling, drug and alcohol abuse counseling, parenting education and life skills training. Most importantly, she is catching up on her education and is scheduled to receive her GED in early February. She has been able to attend classes knowing that her daughters are well taken care of in Seton Home’s licensed on-site day care facility. Ana wants to become a registered nurse and is looking for a job in the health care industry to support herself while she attends college.
Ana has a mentor who visits her at Seton Home each week. She is grateful for all the assistance she received and for her new life. She has great hope for the future for herself and for her daughters. Ana said, “I have two beautiful daughters that love me. I show myself every day that I’m growing to be a better person. Seton Home is the best place that ever happened to me. It makes me feel safe to have people who care for me and who stand by my side. I’m glad the state of Texas has a place like Seton Home.”
When Mary first called us on a very cold January day, she was living out of her car. She had no job, no where to live, no driver’s license, and no gas money. She did not even know how far along her pregnancy was. Over the phone, she told us that she needed maternity clothes, and diapers. The conversation was cut short too soon when we were disconnected because she ran out of minutes on her cell phone.
Our second contact with Mary occurred several days later when she visited the Gabriel Project Life Center. She spent time meeting with one of our mentors where she shared with us her situation, her concerns and her needs. It was at this visit that we learned how Mary became homeless. After becoming pregnant, her husband left her and began having an affair with a woman in California. She could not provide for herself alone. At this visit, we provided maternity clothes, shoes, toiletries, and children’s clothing, as well as information on other agencies that could provide assistance. In her evaluation, she wrote that she liked the Gabriel Project Life Center because the staff “seemed truly concerned” for her and her children.
Over the next six months, Mary came numerous times to the Gabriel Project Life Center to talk with our mentors, to attend pregnancy and parenting classes, and to receive material assistance.
By March of that same year, Mary found an apartment and obtained a driver’s license. Her husband was sending her financial support to pay for the apartment, but she was still jobless. On a sad note, at a doctor’s appointment at that time, she learned that there were medical complications with her pregnancy. She was also under tremendous stress because her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. In addition to emotional support, we provided her with more clothing, wipes, shampoo, and shoes. She told us that the staff at the Gabriel Project Life Center was “understanding” of her situation and hardships.
From May to July, Mary attended a total of 9 parenting and pregnancy classes, including “Stages of Pregnancy”, “Age Appropriate Play” and “In the Womb”. At the first class she attended, she told us that she really enjoyed the class and that she planned on coming to more classes. Her attendance at the educational classes allowed her to earn two brand new baby furniture items. She chose a swing and a bouncer for her baby.
Mary’s last visit to the Life Center occurred on July 31 of the same year when she brought her newborn baby to the Life Center. She said that she loves the baby and that “he is just lovely”. We listened as she told us her concerns about her marriage.
In December, she told us that she had stopped coming in because she found a job. She now holds a managerial position at a large department store. She told us that she appreciated all the help that she received from the Life Center, and that we were instrumental in helping her through her pregnancy. She also told us that if she comes across anyone who is in a crisis pregnancy that she will tell them how much we helped her, so that they too may reach out to us for help.
When Morgan came to the Shelter, she was 28 weeks pregnant and had a 4-year old daughter. She relayed to me that coming from the homeless shelter over to Our Lady of the Angels Maternity Shelter (OLAMS) has made a difference in her life in several ways. Here is Morgan’s perspective of her stay at OLAMS, in her own words:
“First of all, I’ve been feeling a lot better physically, here at OLAMS, a dentist was provided for my molars to be extracted which helped a lot! In turn, I have been able to utilize more of my time towards starting my parenting classes. I also have been able to attend my daughter’s school activities at her school. At OLAMS, there is flexibility which allows me to get more things done. Here it feels like a home environment. I have access to a computer and Internet and I like that OLAMS has a security alarm. Due to OLAMS’ faith-based character I know the staff/volunteer members will always use appropriate language around my daughter. It is quiet, and this helps me and my daughter to sleep and rest better than where I was, and I do not feel pressured. All these differences have impacted my life in a positive way. I was grateful to have a place to stay at the homeless shelter but now, I feel that at OLAMS, I have been given the opportunity to get my goals accomplished in a better, more nurturing setting. Furthermore, OLAMS obtains extra clothing for me if I need it, or am referred to the partnering resources that serve my needs”.
When Jessica arrived at Annunciation Maternity Home, she had finished the required Cosmetology training hours, but she had not registered to take the licensing exam because her career goals had changed. After the birth of her baby girl, Jessica renewed her commitment, and, with the help of the Home developed a service plan that would enable her and her daughter to transition from the Home to subsidized housing by December 2007, and independent living by June 2009, insure supplemental income, and provide her the opportunity to finish her education.
Since she implemented this new service plan, Jessica transferred to a local education center and has only A’s and B+’s in all her classes. Jessica is also preparing to pass the Cosmetology licensing exam by the end of this year. In addition, she has also secured a part-time job to save money for her transition from the Home. Although her life is very busy, she always spends quality time with her baby and attends every child development training session possible to continue to improve her parenting skills.