Sanctuary for Life


Melanie was 38 years old and pregnant with her first child. She and the baby’s father came in together for their first counseling session. They were not in a long-term dating relationship, and the pressure of this unexpected and unintended pregnancy had pushed their relationship to a breaking point. They were truly unsure of what to do next. They wanted to explore their parenting options, including adoption. Although Melanie had both a bachelor’s and graduate degree, after a recent divorce, she was unemployed and her life was unraveling.   She was at complete odds with her immediate family and could not ask them for help.   Jon, the baby’s father, though employed was not in a financial or personal position to give significant amounts of financial help. Over the course of the next month, Melanie was still unable to find employment and faced eviction from her apartment.   Melanie applied for and was accepted to the Sanctuary for Life(SFL) program. While there, she worked towards finding employment in the business field but was unsuccessful. She decided to change careers and become a substitute teacher. She used her time at SFL to get the needed paperwork and certification for this career change.   She continued to receive counseling, and she and Jon worked both separately and together in counseling to decide on a parenting plan for their child. Over the course of her stay at SFL, Melanie was able to mend her relationships with her family. All had the space, time and stability they needed to work out their differences. Her family decided they really wanted to help her parent their grandchild. Jon also decided that he wanted to help parent and pledged to personally and financially support his child. When their daughter was born, she and baby both moved back home to her parents. After Melanie recovered from her delivery, she unexpectedly found a job that used her graduate degree. She was able to afford and move into a rental house. She and Jon co-parent their child and even stood together with both of their extended families present when their daughter was baptized. Melanie said the following, “I don’t know where I would be without SFL. There are no words for me to express the gratitude because I don’t know what the other option would have been.” Melanie and Jon’s involvement at CCDIOBR allowed Melanie to avoid homelessness by participating in the SFL program. It allowed them to safely bring their child to birth and provided them the time and counseling they needed to make a safe and secure parenting plan. It gave Melanie the ability to reconnect with her family in a pressure free way and provide stability for her and her child.   Finally, through counseling and encouragement, Melanie and Jon were able to forge a friendship that allows them to co-parent and put their daughter’s needs above their own.