As you may know, we have expanded our services to pregnant survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation. In June of 2021, through the generosity of an anonymous donor, we were able to purchase our newest 2-year residential program home, the Mountain Laurel House. Volunteers have been busy finishing up a few renovations and our plan is to move in three residents later this month!
Even though we aren’t in the new home yet, we did open our program to pregnant and parenting survivors several months ago and welcomed the first baby born in the program last month. Here’s her story:
Michele* was 5 months pregnant in September when she was referred to Bloom. Knowing our Mountain Laurel House would be opening soon, we welcomed Michele with open arms, trusting God to provide for her care and to give our staff and volunteers the wisdom to support Michele in this special season of life. At Michele’s first sonogram, the doctors saw something that raised concerns and after follow-up testing, Michele and Baby Emma* were referred to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Michele and I spent a day there in early December for more testing and then discussions with specialists. Baby Emma had excess fluid on one side of her brain that was continuing to increase and would require surgery immediately following birth to drain the fluid. She would most likely have developmental delays that would also require early intervention and ongoing monitoring throughout her life. These were hard words for Michele to hear and there remained unanswered questions – Emma would continue to be monitored with weekly sonograms and a C-section was scheduled for January 24th. CHOP referred Michele and Emma to pediatric neurologists at LVHN's Reilly Children's Hospital and these doctors prepared Michele for what would be next. The plan was to allow Michele to spend time with Emma immediately following birth and then within 24 hours transfer Emma for neurosurgery. So much was unknown, but we have been asking for prayer and trusting God since learning of all the complications that could arise and the specialists' concerns.
Miraculously, Emma was born healthy on a Tuesday morning a few weeks ago -- staff were waiting eagerly for the news of what would be next following testing at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). After being allowed to spend a few minutes with mom, Emma was sent to the NICU and staff was told Emma would spend 4-6 hours there so plans could be made for brain surgery. However, after a brief evaluation Emma was returned to mom and the doctors told us that Emma was perfect; all tests were normal and no surgery would be required! I was able to visit and hold Emma for her hearing test on the 26th and she is a beautiful, healthy, and perfect baby girl -- we are all so happy and Michele is especially grateful to God for this miracle and answer to our very specific prayers.
This expansion of services is a huge step of faith, as in the past, we had several women who were pregnant that we had to turn away. This population remains underserved, and we know it’s because of the complexities that come with having children in a long-term residential program. Please pray for the women and babies that will make Mountain Laurel their home, as well as staff for wisdom, patience, and love.
Thank you for supporting our mission to provide sanctuary to heal, empower and employ women survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation. We cannot do this work without your gifts of time, talent, and treasure!
To join us as a monthly sustainer and help women like Michele create a new life, click here.
Would you like to purchase necessary items and help equip our newest home, Mountain Laurel House, click here for our Amazon Wish List.
We will also need volunteers to act as mother's helpers soon. Click here to fill out our volunteer form and indicate your interest as a mother's help. We'll be in touch with more information soon.
We are so grateful for your support! Thank You!
Please know that because of YOU, survivors’ and their family’s lives are being impacted and transformed every day!
With love and appreciation,
Carol Andersen, CEO