By Clara Mouawad
I sat down with Sarah, our director, and Erin one of our current residents to hear her story first hand. We sat at the conference table, the two chatted freely beforehand, it was obvious they enjoyed each other’s company. It was a warm afternoon, and right before we got started, Erin pulled a fan out of her purse, an influence from her current read, Gone With the Wind.
Editor: Tell me a bit about yourself before coming to Lamb
Erin: When I became pregnant I was actively living in addiction. I knew I had to stop, but I felt like I wasn't ready. Abortion was off the table for me, so I just thought I was about to embark on what would be a really hard life with the child and the father of the child. The father of the child and I barely knew each other, and we were an unhealthy match, the walls were closing in on me, and my future was becoming grim. It was my parents that suggested adoption, telling me that this relationship I was in didn't have to be IT for me, telling me that my baby deserved a two-parent, established household. When they said this, the walls around me began to open again, the world was mine again, and this struggle didn't have to be my fate. To place my very own baby for adoption was a hard pill for me to swallow, but being a single parent would be incredibly challenging as well and I knew not what was right for my baby.
Editor: Then what happened?
Erin: Once I had decided on adoption I knew I needed to change my environment. I knew to carry out a healthy pregnancy I needed to be healthy the whole time. Even with the support of my parents, I knew myself and knew that I would need to be submerged in a specialized supportive environment. I didn’t know then but Lamb of God offered everything that I needed to not only guide me through the adoption process but to heal as a person from all of the “stuff” that had stalled my life for the last 7 years.
Editor: When did you notice a change in yourself?
Erin: I would say 2 months later. I just remember I moved into Lamb in April, and by the time my birthday came in June I was already handling familiar situations differently. The staff at Lamb of God treated me and my feelings with so much respect day in and day out, and I think that helped me with my self-esteem. But it took a little while. I was here and I was off drugs, but was only at the start of my recovery, my recovery from drugs, bad relationships, body images issues, and the list goes on. Sarah was amazing though and got me into rehab, set me up with a nutritionist, kept me accountable for my actions, and got me into counseling.
Editor: How has your stay at Lamb of God impacted your journey?
Erin: It changed everything. Being here took all the chaos out of my life. The house is a safe zone. I have a huge support system and so many people who love and mentor me. Through the home and our volunteers I have been exposed to healthy community events where I feel so much support for my decision and have had the chance to grow my faith. Since moving into Lamb, my life has taken a complete 180. Where I used barely show up to my part-time job and school, I now am an active participant in rehab, counseling, work, school, meetings with my nutritionist, bible studies, and community events. My relationships have flourished and my family is so happy to have the Erin back that they knew I could be. My life didn’t stop with this pregnancy if anything, it started.
Editor: How has Lamb supported your decision?
Erin: For me, the support can’t be neutral, I need to feel like we are teamed up against a society that claims I should be parenting or aborting. Having people in my corner who understand why this is the best route for myself and my child is major for me. That’s one of the many things I’m hugely grateful to Lamb for. Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma surrounding adoption. I wish that people and girls in a crisis pregnancy knew about adoption in the way that I’m experiencing it. It really is the smartest choice for myself, and my baby. It has added such a richness to my life.
Editor: What do you see for yourself in the future
Erin: I see myself continuing to progress. I see myself having a forever relationship with my child. I have gained a family, not lost a baby. It’s not like this baby is out of the picture. you know? And that’s so important. I get to be involved with my child and with a family that loves this baby of course, and loves me too.
Editor: What are your career goals?
Erin: You’re looking at the future Senator Erin Bell.