Melanie's Story: Why I Joined Project 2713
I’ll be honest, I never really thought much about being a board member for a non-profit. I mean I’ve volunteered for non-profits before through Habitat for Humanity in high school and for Service for Sight through my sorority in college, but I never saw myself as someone that would help start a new non-profit.
I’ve always been interested in helping and caring for children. I have babysat, volunteered in nurseries, and helped teach baton twirling to little kids. I have always had a passion for helping children, so when Sarah approached me to be part of Project 2713 I was excited to pair up with the team.
But why? That’s the question we should be asking. I love children. I really do. But what pushes me to feel like this is the right decision for me?
I have met so many mothers through the nurseries I volunteer at. Some of them were able to physically have their children and some of them were lucky enough to adopt a son or daughter to take in as their own. Giving birth to a child isn’t the only way to be a mother. A mother is someone who loves you unconditionally. A mother is someone who laughs with you, cries with you, comforts you, supports you, and takes care of you. It’s much more than just giving birth to a child. Through the nursery I worked at in Denton, I witnessed two separate families go through the adoption process of their sweet little babies and become the forever homes for them.
One of the families was a sibling duo that really captured me. A woman fostered two sisters: a three-year-old and a six-month-old. Their father wasn’t in the picture and their mother used drugs heavily. The six-month-old was born at 26 weeks. Like many preemies, she had a few health issues. The sweet girl had a heart condition and had to have heart surgery soon after her birth. When she healed from the surgery and started coming to our nursery on Sunday mornings, she had to have special bottles to help her gain weight. Her motor skills were not nearly as developed as the other babies her age or even younger. But her foster mom continued to love her. She wasn’t going to give up on her. The foster mom herself was in her 60s, but the love she had for those little girls made her decide that she would start over raising children. Start over on all the diapers, the teaching to walk, the potty training. Start over on taking the girls to school every day and help them with homework. Start over on raising teenage girls in the future (which we all know isn’t an easy task). By the end of our time with the sweet baby (she was moving up to the toddler class), her foster mom was in the process of adopting her and her sister so she could be their forever mom. A few months later the adoption went through and she came to visit us. They were all so excited! The mother even asked one of our nursery volunteers that became really close to the family to be their “Mi Mi” so they would have a grandparent.
Just seeing the joy in these families’ faces helped me witness first-hand what adoption can do for both the parents-to-be and the children involved. And if I can help make that process easier for families and help put that joy and unconditional love on their faces, then that makes all the work worthwhile.
To contribute to Project 2713, click here.