Last week I had the pleasure of spending my evening in a home I have come to adore. Carried to Full Term’s Haymarket House is not only an outwardly beautiful house in a quaint little city, it is a house of beauty, joy, second chances, and mercy on the inside.
Pregnant mothers over the age of 18 are invited to live in the house and begin a program that helps them adjust to new life as a mother and get back on their feet. The mothers are welcome to stay for up to 2 years as long as they are continuing their education or working and fulfilling the program requirements.
The house was recently founded by Frances Robin in 2016. The dream for the house started with a seemingly far-fetched idea one mom had to meet a need for other women around her. It has now become bigger than she or anyone else could have every imagined.
Me: When did you first have the idea to open a house like Carried to Full Term?
Frances: I have been asking God that same question for years. I have always volunteered in rape crisis centers, pregnancy centers, and schools. In the process of volunteering, I heard the life stories of women and wanted to know more. Many of the women I worked with would end up homeless after a positive pregnancy test. I thought the focus to help them really needed to be on housing, so I set out to find a way to provide them with a housing program. What started as me thinking I would help someone else provide a program, slowly became the house we are standing in. I am amazed and shocked.
Me: What has been the hardest part of this process?
Frances: Getting funding! People are always willing to hear your vision, but when the house is not currently there, it is hard for them to give their money towards it. Although getting the money upfront was hard, since we have been here, we encourage the community to come walk through the house, so it helps them in their giving. The other hard part, and perhaps even harder, has been hearing the mom’s stories during the application process. We have only been here in the house for the past 6 months, but we have interviewed 10 moms. Every time, I leave crying. It is very hard to hear what they have been through.
Me: When you come here every day, what is the joy that drives you?
Frances: I love seeing the big pregnant bellies! The conversations that I get to have and the people who I have gotten to know are incredible. I am living a different life. I am ok with waking up all the time and working weird hours. I want to live a life that is different and worth waking up to every day. This is worth waking up to every day.
Me: What has it been like to build this house as a part of this community?
Frances: Incredible. It feels like this community has been waiting for something like this. The generosity, the stories, the families, the women AND MEN, the churches, the pastors have all been incredible. The pulse of the town is just amazing, and their willingness to make themselves available is incredible. I did not even have Haymarket on my radar but God knew. The people here make you believe in people.
Me: Do you think you could have ever done all of this by yourself?
Frances: No. Absolutely not. I actually tried because I was afraid to ask for help. We actually tried opening it in our basement, but God had a different plan. I did not want to be ashamed if it did not work, yet He shut down all my plans. This house is a constant reminder that I need help. A volunteer actually reminded me the other day of a really important truth. That is, if I do not ask for help, I am actually robbing others from the opportunity to receive the blessing of being a part of this ministry and doing what God has put in their heart to do.
Me: I know it takes a lot of volunteers to keep this house open. Many people may feel called to start a “big” ministry such as this, but others many feel called to something “smaller” in scale such as volunteering here or in a pregnancy center, etc. How important are the “little” jobs to you here at the Haymarket House?
Frances: Oh my gosh, they are invaluable. I am a big thinker, so I do not always realize how many people it takes to actually pull this off. For example, we need a house-mother here every night and day of the week. I can not fulfill that need. We have realized that someone even being willing to fill a 4 hour shift or even a 1 hour shift is a huge blessing! That is 1 less hour that I have to find someone to be here with our mothers. The little pieces put the big things to shame.
Me: What is your greatest volunteer need right now?
Frances: We need house parents. We also need individuals who are skilled at managing. God has blessed us with a lot of volunteers, but we need someone to coordinate them. We need mentors as well for all the mothers and someone to oversee all the mentors.
Me: Is there any way for my out-of-town readers to help you?
Frances: Yes! Anyone can follow us on social media. We also need someone to help us with social media advertising and our website. We also invite anyone to make a financial contribution or become a monthly sponsor through our website.
Isn’t this place amazing?
I LOVE that I can go down the street and see real needs being met in my community. I am in awe and motivated to continue to pray and ask God, “How can I become the answer?” I encourage you to ask the same question.
To learn more about or to donate to Carried to Full Term visit their website at carriedtofullterm.com.
You are also invited to check back here on my blog for more LOVE ACTIVATED highlights as I continue the “Becoming the Answer” series. To make it easier on you, I am also happy to email you all the highlights directly to your email inbox. Just skip on over and subscribe to the blog.
This blog series is in response to a book I just published, Created to Live: Becoming the Answer for an Abortion-Free Community. I encourage you to check it out and learn more about how you can become the answer.
Thank you for reading!!!
Becoming the Answer,
It’s August once again, and I am prepping for another school year at…16 January 2017