On Monday, February 18, 2019, Cardinal Dolan held a press conference to spread a message of hope for any pregnant woman in New York. Cardinal Dolan said, “we are here to do all in our power to assist you so that you never feel that abortion is your only option. We are here to help.”
Women like Francoise who arrived at Good Counsel just in time!
Francoise was born in Rwanda and raised in Belgium. She came to the United States a few years ago to visit her sister. She came back a second time to begin a new life here in New York. She had found a job but keeping a job was difficult, and at one point she was working three jobs.
Francoise began a relationship with a man and became pregnant. The father of the baby told her that if she “really loved him,” that she would get an abortion. Francoise did not want an abortion. During a visit to the hospital for some pregnancy issues, Francoise told her story to a caseworker and said that she wanted to keep her baby, but she didn’t know how she could. The case worker referred Francoise to the Sisters of Life and was eventually referred to Good Counsel. She spoke to Miss Morgan in the intake office who told her about what life would be like as a resident. She told Francoise to call whenever she was ready. Francoise arrived at the Bronx home nine months pregnant which was just in time as her beautiful baby boy was born just two weeks later!
Baby Zane was healthy and happy, and he and Francoise were able to have time to bond and start preparing for their new life together. Francoise said she was grateful and happy that she did not have to give birth alone as a staff member went with her to the hospital and held her hand as they welcomed Zane into the world.
It’s a common misconception that maternity homes only care about a woman until she has her baby, with the sole focus of stopping a woman from having an abortion. While it is true that Good Counsel does not want a woman to have an abortion, it is also true that a mother will receive shelter, support, and love before, during, and sometimes well after she has her baby. The average stay for a Good Counsel resident is about a year or so. Francoise, who had just arrived two weeks before giving birth, needed more time to utilize all of the resources available and to work, save money, and plan for a new life after Good Counsel.
Since her perfectly timed arrival, Francoise has furthered her education, garnered life skills, learned to parent, and how to take care of herself and Zane. In April of 2017, Zane was baptized, and in February of 2018, Zane celebrated his first birthday at Good Counsel. Just this month, Francoise threw a birthday party for Zane’s 2nd birthday at the house inviting residents, staff, and moms who had already moved on from Good Counsel. Zane was very excited to see some of his friends at his party who had previously lived at the home.
Francoise is extremely grateful for all that she has received while here at Good Counsel. The support she receives and the peace of mind of knowing her child is well cared for while she works or studies is very important to her. She stated that it was so nice that the staff was available to help her with her baby, allowing her to get some much-needed sleep sometimes. She also spoke to the relationships between the moms at home and how they support each other along the way. Francoise was very grateful for Resident Advisor Jennifer, who spoke French which broke down the language barrier for Francoise and helped her immensely and made her very happy.
When Francoise left Belgium for New York, she was enrolled in university studying biochemistry, and it is her dream to finish school and someday work in a laboratory at a cosmetics company. Currently, she is looking for apartments and preparing to leave Good Counsel and take the next best step toward independent success.
Francoise’s path to Good Counsel was an international and arduous one, and it was only by God’s grace that she arrived at our door. Good Counsel is here for any pregnant mother who is homeless and alone, with nowhere to go. Even though she was coerced to have an abortion, Francoise chose life and what a life she’s built!
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