Left to Right: Pastor Jeff Moore, Cristina Emigh, Eric Scheidler and Vern LaVia at the MHFV open house [Photo by Matt Yonke]
Today, League Executive Director Eric Scheidler and I had the privilege of attending an open house for the Maternity Homes of Fox Valley, a new home for teenage girls in difficult pregnancy situations here in our hometown of Aurora, Illinois.
The home has been in the process of development for several years and is finally getting ready to open in August.
The founding board members came from a mix of Protestants and Catholics, pastors and lay people, who saw a significant gap in the options available to young mothers who might face housing difficulties if they chose life for their babies: many facilities offered housing and aid for women over 18, but nobody offered these options for minor teens.
With that in mind, they created Maternity Homes of Fox Valley [MHFV] specifically to provide housing and help for girls 12-17. The first home the MHFV is opening is located on the campus of Mooseheart, a community and school for children and teens in need, located on a 1,000-acre campus, 40 miles west of Chicago.
Mooseheart Offers MHFV a Home
South Carolina House: MHFV’s first location on the Mooseheart campus
Mooseheart was started for dependents of members of the Loyal Order of the Moose, but branched out to become a home for any child in need. The partnership between Mooseheart and MHFV was heaven sent. Mooseheart’s mission is to take care of children and, as their director said, “Why would we not take care of this group of children?”
A home on the Mooseheart campus, the South Carolina House, pictured right, was dedicated to the project with five rooms for young pregnant mothers as well as space for two live-in “family teachers” who function as the parents of the home. The girls stay through their pregnancy and can stay as long as 10 weeks afterwards to learn to care for their babies in a safe and caring environment.
Safe Families Ensures Nobody Will Be Turned Away
MHFV has also partnered with a group called Safe Families for Children to make sure they never have to turn away a mother considering abortion. Safe Families has a network of over 1,000 households across Illinois who have committed to take on a child should the need arise.
Safe Families performs thorough background checks and provides training and resources to participating families to make sure they are ready to provide a safe and loving environment for a child in need on very short notice.
MHFV Board and Staff Share Their Vision
At today’s open house, Pastor Jeff Moore of First Presbyterian Church in Aurora, the president of MHFV’s board, expressed how excited he was for this work, years in the making, to finally be coming to fruition. He also shared his joy over the presence of Catholic priests, Protestant pastors, community activists and more putting their difference aside to obey Christ’s command to care for the least of His brethren.
Vern LaVia, husband of Illinois State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia, shared about how he became involved with the project after he was in a coma and the Holy Spirit told him that he had to help children. When he awoke, he was filled with a drive to help children in any way he could, which led him to spearhead the MHFV project.
We also heard from Mooseheart staff and Cristina Emigh, MHFV’s new executive director. Cristina was herself in a difficult pregnancy where her family shut her out. They looked into getting help to support her and her baby but could not afford it. Cristina said her first question when she was approached by MHFV was how much it would cost for girls to get help. When she was told there was no cost, she was on board.
Support with Prayer and Come for Ribbon Cutting
As a sidewalk counselor, I am greatly looking forward to having this resource to provide to girls seeking abortion at our local Planned Parenthood who need a safe place to stay.
Please keep Maternity Homes of Fox Valley in your prayers and, if you’re in the area, stop by on September 18 when Mooseheart is hosting their first ever full-campus open house which will culminate with the ribbon cutting for the MHFV building.