Appeal for Support

 

St. Mary’s Services Annual Appeal

 

December 14, 2018

 

Dear Friend,

 

The Sisters of St. Mary’s opened up their Home for Children in Chicago to help low-income women and their children through education and support over 130 years ago. Today, St. Mary’s Services proudly continues to carry on their vision that “ Every Child Deserves a Good Home”.

  • Our continued work this past fiscal years resulted in:
  • 10 domestic adoption
  • 8 interstate adoptions
  • supported 44 adoptive families
  • counseled and supported 57 maternity clients
  • provided 59 high school teenagers with parenting and pregnancy education and counseling
  • provided 1,173 hours of counseling throughout our programs

Thanks to past donations, we were able to assist all of the above maternity and teen clients with pregnancy related necessities and educational materials for the prenatal and parenting programs. We also provided free counseling for women experiencing various difficulties surrounding their pregnancies, including; postpartum depression and grief and loss. The most valuable commodity that we provided was time, compassion, and counseling by our social workers and counselors. The guidance and mentoring provided by our social workers and counselors is the biggest investment we can make in the life of a vulnerable woman that we know will result in a positive change in her life’s direction.

 

 

One of the most bittersweet experiences that we have had this past year was when we were called to the local hospital to care for a mom named Mary, a 19 year old girl that just gave birth to a baby girl. Unfortunately, Mary was a victim of the opioid epidemic. Mary had struggled with addiction a majority of her life. She was closest to her grandfather, who withstood all of the heartaches involved with her addiction. Although this woman had an addiction, she was set on giving her baby a better life through adoption. Her grandfather and mother were supportive of adoption, however, neither understood the concept of open adoption, but placed their unwavering trust in us. After we met Mary, we knew that she was severely addicted and needed assistance to help break this cycle.  We knew it would take time for us to get through to her and to grow to trust us. We had set up a rehab situation for her with her grandfather and mother who had agreed to encourage her when she was ready.

 

 

 

 

In this case, we learned the compounding crises that accompany unplanned pregnancies which oftentimes supersede the pregnancy- or parenting-related needs of the clients we serve. Some of these crises include mental health issues, domestic violence, and addiction. She experienced physical and sexual violence, and mental health issues in relation to her drug use. Counseling not only involved Mary, but her grandfather and her mother as well. She chose a wonderful waiting family who did not judge her, but embraced her selfless desire to give her baby the best she could. That would be Mary’s lasting legacy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addiction is an illness into itself, but Mary rose above it to give her new baby a new life. As she placed her baby in the adoptive couple’s arms, her face was full of tears. We later received a call that she was in distress and in the Intensive Care Unit at one of the hospitals. Mary was so weak, she could barely talk, but she whispered and smiled when she asked about the baby. Mary, unfortunately passed away quickly at 19 years of age, due to complications of her addiction. We continued to work with her grandfather and mother and have used our skills to connect the baby with them and their extended family. The adoptive family loved Mary and accepted her for her selfless gift to them, her child. I am grateful to St. Mary’s for providing the necessary education and training to the staff to identify circumstances that can come with unplanned pregnancies – namely addiction, domestic violence, and grief and loss. We used these skills to help heal Mary, her mother, and her grandfather.

 

 

We continue to provide additional services and are aware of the significant impact that they play in the communities in which we serve. These services include counseling for:

  • Postpartum depression/anxiety disorders
  • Grief and loss of pregnancy; including miscarriage, stillbirth, and termination
  • Adjustment to motherhood along with referrals to community agencies that assist in compounding crises

Our expanded services for these women and teenagers has brought us many new clients. All of these counseling services are free of charge because of your continued support and generosity.

 

It is through your generous donations that we are able to continue to provide free counseling for our maternity clients. During this giving season, we are asking for your support so that we may continue to offer these programs. Please consider giving a tax-deductible donation to St. Mary’s Services to support these programs.

As we reflect on the great achievements that St. Mary’s has accomplished; as a child welfare agency supporting low-income women and children, and children of parents facing crises, it is no surprise that our work today remains closely aligned with the vision of the Episcopal Sisters of St. Mary from 1887 that “Every Child Deserves a Good Home”.  We look forward to continuing our services to the community with the gift of your support and prayers for our success. All of us at St. Mary’s Services are grateful to have you with us on our journey.

 

May God bless you during this most sacred time of the year!

 

Joanne Bratta, RN, BSN, MS

Executive Director

 

 

You can make a tax-deductible donation online by clicking here or send a check payable to St. Mary’s Services at:

St. Mary’s Services, 510 N. Plum Grove Road, Palatine, IL 60067

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