A Baby's Breath Testimony
Today I was moved to contact your organization to say thanks. My children and I were helped by your organization so many years ago. One person who represented your organization who I still remember is Connie Edford. She and I still correspond via email from time to time. The actions of her any many other individuals from your organization have forever positively altered the lives of at least three people. My daughter Laila was born with special needs, and at the time I was in an abusive relationship. Attending Baby's breath parenting meetings gave me a sense of hope, and life purpose. I was struggling with my decision to keep my child because of her many health concerns, but I was encouraged, and supported by your staff. The regular meetings gave me a break from the isolation that had begun to stifle me. My oldest daughter was able to bond with the older children at the groups, and often times our family resources were offset by the donations from your baby closet. What was most impactful was the way I felt, and the loving interactions from the staff. I felt like it must be the best job in the world to help people like your staff did. This planted a seed in me to give back. I decided to go back to school to get my Bachelors, and Masters in social work. My oldest daughter was similarly moved. She is now 21 and about to graduate with her bachelors in social work as well. I help people every day , and I can truly say this is the best job I ever had. I want to be like the story in the bible where ten lepers were healed, but only one came back to say thank you. Today I was moved to come back and say thank you for all you have done for me and my family. The efforts of so many years ago have had a ripple effect, and the initial seed you planted is now a full blown fruit producing plant. Laila is now 11, and is doing so well many of her health issues have become a thing of the past. I cant thank you enough.
Center Counselor/ Social Worker LGSW, MSW
West Philadelphia Senior Community Center
A Baby's Breath Testimony
By Correen Clerveaux
I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to volunteer at ABB this summer. This experience has given me a new perspective on mothers who may need help and has allowed me to understand that a mother does not necessarily need to be in a crisis to come to your center. Your center provides a client with confidence and a support system. I wanted to let you know that I had a nice experience meeting Jennifer who made me realize that your organization really makes a positive impact on the lives of mothers. I do believe that without your organization, there would be mothers that would be lost; they'd be without the guidance of prenatal classes, baby store, and the other great services that A Baby's Breath provides. I'd also like to apologize because I will not be able to return due to school and my job at Panera Bread
I have a renewed appreciation for the service that you and your organization provide to the community.
A Baby's Breath Testimony
by Kate Chetta
Good Evening everyone. It's so wonderful to see you all here tonight to support A Baby's Breath. My name is Kate Chetta and I'm the Director at the Jeffersonville Center. Karen asked to me to say a few words tonight about my role and experiences with A Baby's Breath.
A little bit about me and my background. I was raised by my wonderful parents in central NJ and am the oldest of 4 siblings. From my earliest memories, I can remember going to the March for Life in DC and Life Chain events with my mother, an amazing woman who taught us from birth the value of life. To this day, I'm so grateful to her for instilling this in us from a very early age.
Fast forward to a little over two years ago. My husband, Gaetano, and I moved to the area when we were 8 months pregnant with our first daughter. I first heard about A Baby's Breath when Gaetano told me he'd like to get me something in honor of Sophia's birth. I thought it might be a good idea to make a donation to a local crisis pregnancy center. So I did some research in our area and A Baby's Breath was the first name I came across. So Gaetano and I made a contribution.
After Sophia's birth, I realized that I wanted to find an organization to devote some of my time too. I came across an ad in our parish bulletin about ABB's needing volunteers and I thought, why not check it out? I ended up meeting with Karen and we chatted for some time about what ABB's did and the history of how the organization got started. I was very impressed with how long the center had been a presence in the community and I was very drawn to the mission charter which was compassionate and loving in nature. A mission that promises loving, non-judgmental support to all who enter.
I started off as an advocate and got to work directly with the clients. I was surprised by how many of our clients relied on our support and guidance. For many of these women, we were their only "beacon of light" in the darkness made up of past mistakes, bad advice from family and friends, abuse, and despair.
I became the director of the center a little over a year ago. This role has become a large part of my life. My heart is so touched by the wonderful people I come into contact with – from the clients, to the amazing volunteers, to the extremely generous people that give so much to the center. It inspires me greatly to see people care so deeply about Life!
Little did I realize when I began my work at ABB that, I too, would experience the confusion and suffering that touches many of our clients.
Some of you here know what my family went through this past year. We lost our second daughter, Liliana, in our third trimester due to a poor prenatal diagnosis. We ended up finding out how sick she was after visiting CHOP and meeting with some of the best Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists in the country.
It was the most exhausting and terrifying day of our lives. Test after test was performed and at the end of the day, we met with the doctors in a little room to discuss all the findings. It was clear when the team entered the room that it was not going to be good news. They told us Liliana was very sick, caused by a virus named congenital CMV that she contracted while in-utero, and that the damage to her little body was already severe. If she did survive birth, she would most likely be severally disabled, with what they deemed a very poor quality of life.
After the initial shock about our little girl's diagnosis subsided, I remembered what my mother suggested. She said to me - Ask the doctors, flat out, what they would do if they were in your situation. Without hesitation, the head doctor said "I would 'interrupt' the pregnancy". Interrupt? - What did that mean? What was he saying? You interrupt a conversation; you interrupt a meeting but how do you interrupt a baby inside its mother's womb? My head was spinning.
We thanked the doctor for his advice but informed him that terminating the pregnancy wasn't an option. We would go home. We would savor whatever time we had left with Lily, which sadly ended up not being very long.
But the story doesn't end there. It was through this experience that God gave me an incredible insight. I now understood the fear, the desperation, the hopelessness that many of our clients feel when they are forced to make a choice between what the experts tell them and what their heart reveals.
I also realized something else — that God was Good and He had a plan and a purpose for my family and my little girl.
During this entire ordeal, we were surrounded by immeasurable love from family, friends, even strangers. Lily, in her brief life, showed me fully the loving heart of God and the goodness of His people. I am blessed to know that she has touched the hearts of many and that she is in Heaven, at peace and perfect, praying for her family here on earth.
Being pro-life is more than fighting against abortion. While this is a huge part of the movement, I think being pro-life is acknowledging that God is the Author of Life and we need to be open to His Will for that life. This is what A Baby's Breath is doing.
This mission helps us to see that God's plan for our lives may be different than what we would have expected or even wanted for ourselves and that this path may be painful. That suffering is part of the human condition. But it is our response to suffering that gives meaning to our lives. It is the choice we make, in the midst of our pain, that truly matters.
Let all of us at ABB continue to show the families that seek us out the loving heart of God. Let us continue to help those who suffer - remembering always - that there is no greater response we can offer, that is more powerful, than love.
A Baby's Breath Testimony
By Paul Burdett
Hello, my name is Paul Burdett and I was a Board member and volunteer for A Baby's Breath. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank all of you for your support of A Baby's Breath Silent Auction, through your support we have been able to open a third center in Collegeville.
We offer life choices for a crisis pregnancy. We offer free pregnancy tests and counseling, pre-natal classes by registered nurses, parenting classes and material assistance. For the adoption path, we offer support and direction for the Mother and family. We have helped over 300 families since our beginning five years ago.
We help Mothers in crisis out of love — love for the Mother and love for her unborn child. I am helping Mothers in crisis because it is of particular interest to me. You see before you a Father of four beautiful children (one is in heaven). I have a lovely wife. I am grateful for the choice of life my Mother gave me because it was not an easy choice.
Her choice was to give birth to her baby after she was raped. I was born a few years before abortion became the law of the land but I was born to a woman who even in those days would have had a "right" to an abortion. She was raped when she was 18. She was unmarried and lived in a small town in rural Illinois. Only her parents knew about the pregnancy, her other brothers and sisters and extended family did not know. And even her parents did not know of the fact of the rape until years later.
She was sent to an aunt's house in another small town in Illinois about 2 hours away so that no one would know. She was cut off from her family and friends and was pretty much under house arrest for months so that the neighbors would not talk. But through all this she chose to continue the life growing in her womb. She chose the path of life so that I could take my first breath, just like the motto of A Baby's Breath that goes above and beyond the call of duty, out of love, to see those precious babies take their first breath.
My Mother did not have to wait long, for you see, I was born at 6 1/2 months gestation in 1969 in the back of a taxicab on the way to the hospital. The hospital staff said that it would be better for her if she did not see me. I weighed only 2 pounds, 6 ounces and I spent the next few months of my life in an incubator with double pneumonia but I pulled through, I guess God has me here for a reason. Just as He out of love has willed every child, no matter what circumstances surround that child's conception.
I was adopted by two wonderful people, the Burdett's when I was 6 months old. They could not have children of their own and were very grateful to my Mother that she had chosen to continue her pregnancy and to give me into their care to raise as their own son.
If my Mother was faced with an unplanned pregnancy today and not in 1969, she could have walked into Planned Parenthood and ordered up an emergency contraception kit (if it were available) and she would have more alternatives to have had her pregnancy ended, but my Mother made a choice that day in 1969, she chose life and I must say that I am eternally grateful for her choice. It was not an easy choice but she had some people in her life to help her. I had people in my life, my parents to adopt me. At a Baby's Breath, there are caring people there to help a Mother in crisis see her child take his or her first breath.
Thank you all for all your generosity this evening at the Silent Auction, it is your participation here and through out the year that allow A Baby's Breath to continue their wonderful work.