‘Somehow, I didn’t think preparing for motherhood would entail looking for used RVs online,” Emily Stimpson Chapman recently wrote in a Facebook post. “When do I get to the shopping for diaper bags and strollers part?”
You could say that Mark Zuckerberg is responsible for miracles. Amid all the news about data security, I was watching one such miracle unfold on the controversial social-media platform. We’re often noticing with sadness how transactional and virtual we’ve become. But when you can make use of unprecedented connections for the good, some real beauty can blossom.
Chapman, as you’ve deduced, is an expectant mother. She and her husband live near Pittsburgh and are adopting from a couple in California. This past week or so has given them all sorts of worry, as the birth mother faced the prospect of homelessness. Emily and her husband, Christopher, are determined to welcome a little baby boy into the world later this year. They also want to do whatever they can to help this woman flourish; in challenging circumstances, she chose life for her baby, a heroic act. Through a network of friends and readers and contacts that Chapman has accumulated over the years as a writer of articles and books and blogs, it was possible for her to locate and then pick up an RV that would provide a safe home for the birth parents.
As Chapman explained in one of her posts on the situation, maternity homes weren’t an option because the birth father needed somewhere to stay, too, and the couple wanted to try to make a go of life together: “All the social service agencies we’ve reached out to have either told us they can’t help or haven’t gotten back to us. And the waitlist for government subsidized housing is several years.”
Our attorney drove up last week and spent several days trying to help, but affordable rental situations there (which in those parts means between $800 and $1000) are few and every place they visited had tons of other people interested. Also, most rentals have income requirements that they don’t meet. While we are happy to cosign and help with costs, this isn’t a long-term solution for them. These are people — not just a source of a baby — and we want to help them for the long-term, not just the next few months. . . . These really are decent, hard-working people, who have not had the litany of advantages and blessings many of us have had. California is an easy place to find yourself homeless, and we don’t want that to happen to them. We also don’t want to lose this child. Thank you for all your prayers to that effect.
In the days of searching from across the country, Emily and Christopher paid for a hotel and then Airbnb for the couple. But that’s a way to blow through limited funds quickly and is no kind of stability for the couple. She wrote: “Our prayer is that we’ll be able to find a situation that they can afford for the short-term, and that we will be able to save or raise enough money to give them a down payment on a mobile home, which is by far the best long-term solution for them.”
Adoption can be a harrowing process for anyone — birth parents and adoptive parents all. In all the uncertainty, Chapman, via her Facebook posts, focuses on gratitude while she asks her friends and followers for prayer.
During the housing search she wrote: “Time is running out and our budget is limited. We would very, very much appreciate continued prayers. We really do need a miracle.”
In one post, she shared: “We’re very blessed to have the adoption attorney we do. If we had any other lawyer, we would have lost the baby by now. Our attorney is heroically working with us and them to find a housing situation we both can afford.”
In other posts on Facebook and a blog where she’s featured some of her writing, she’s shared additional details about the painfulness of infertility and how she and her husband came to discern the call to adoption. She’s also explained how they found themselves connected with this couple and their unborn child sooner than they expected, having planned to do some additional saving first. Such is the nature of the unexpected, which in their hope, they are living as joy — and friends have reached out on a YouCaring page to help with expenses for both the baby and the birth parents.
Facebook has its drawbacks, but it’s also an amazing gift for which I am daily giving thanks. Without the people it’s connected me to, I wouldn’t have our wonderful adoption attorney, a baby waiting to become our son . . . housing for his birthparents, and the prayers and material support that is making all this possible. I’m saying an extra prayer for Mark Zuckerberg today. Social media is — sometimes — everything it’s cracked up to be.