Mia* was 13 and it was just before the Covid pandemic swept the world that she found out she was pregnant.
She was the daughter of a single mom who had three other children, and Mia’s mother was overwhelmed at the prospect of another mouth to feed. Although she didn’t want Mia to have an abortion, it seemed like the only choice. She gave Mia an ultimate: have an abortion or get out.
So Mia moved out. Now homeless, she began couch surfing. Eventually, she ended up in the home of someone who connected her to a local organization called Angelcare.
Located near Indianapolis, Angelcare is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting teen girls facing unexpected pregnancies. Central to their mission is reconciliation between the teen girls and their parents.
Once connected to Angelcare, Mia had access to an array of resources, including parenting classes, counseling, and a tutor and doula that the organization hired on her behalf. Mia’s doula provided mentoring and nutrition advice, and even drove Mia to doctor’s appointments, alleviating many of the pressures that Mia’s mother would have otherwise faced in helping her daughter.
“The doula, in speaking with the grandmother, gave her that support and reassurance that changed everything,” said Yadi Garcia, CEO of Angelcare. “And she allowed the young girl to stay (at home) and give birth to the baby. So, this was a life that was saved. Two lives truly.”
By shouldering some of the weight of the changing family situation, Angelcare made way for reunification between Mia and her mother.
“(Mia’s) a mom…all because there was somebody willing to intervene and walk alongside the grandma and the young mom, and say, ‘Listen, we’re here to support you. We know this is not easy, but we’re here to support and walk with you,’” Garcia said.
Additionally, what once appeared to be an added burden to the family, is now seen as a valued life.
“Now, she’s totally in love with her grandbaby,” Garcia said.
A Vision in the Making for 20 Years
Helping young moms like Mia has been a calling on Garcia’s heart for the last two decades.
For several years, Garcia and her husband endured the heartache of infertility, as well as a miscarriage. In the midst of those trials, Garcia became especially attuned to the needs of women facing hardships during pregnancy. She and her husband started assisting expectant moms at her church in Texas.
“While I was going through that journey of longing to be a mom, my heart would ache for all the moms out there, moms-to-be that found themselves in a challenging situation where they wanted to keep their babies, but they didn’t know how they could support their babies,” she said.
Eventually, Garcia and her husband moved to Indiana and met a kindred spirit named Rita Norwood. Here in Indiana, Norwood had been carrying out similar life-affirming work. God had given her a vision for a ministry to serve teen moms facing unexpected pregnancies. The vision was for Angelcare.
“There was no coincidence that God had put that passion in my heart to save babies, but also to help young moms that are struggling,” Garcia said. “Little did I know that God was preparing me back in Texas for the work He had for me here in Indiana.”
Since joining forces all those years ago, Norwood, Garcia, and a network of supporters have been toiling to bring the vision of Angelcare to life. By knocking on the doors of churches and small businesses and holding fundraiser after fundraiser, the team has been working towards opening a maternity home for pregnant teens like Mia.
Finally, Garcia and Norwood are close to the finish line: The construction of the house is near completion. Finishing touches, including an elevator, a sprinkler system, and a security system have all been installed. Paving and landscaping are nearing completion. But now, Garcia and Norwood are facing a major hurdle: fundraising for operations expenses.
“If we were to open our doors today, we’d be at capacity,” Garcia said.
But Garcia says it’s challenging to fundraise before a single girl has moved in, even though donors are ready and eager to support them.
“They wanna see girls living in the house and then they’ll be behind us a hundred percent,” she said.
Garcia says that the need for a home like Angelcare is significant, especially following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“It was so much easier for the guardian of the teen girl that was pregnant to just take her, whether she was wanting it or not, to just take her to have an abortion,” Garcia said. “Now that we have this new law in place, thank God, it makes it harder, which then, I believe, creates tension and stress and division in a lot of ways within that family unit.”
In Indiana, there is no other maternity home whose age demographic is focused on ages 14-19. But from the beginning, Norwood saw the need to reach this age group because of its vulnerability and lack of resources.
“That is often the age where girls fall prey to drug abuse, further physical abuse, alcoholism, and in some cases, even trafficking,” Garcia said. “That is the age group that is most in danger when they find themselves pregnant, because they are the most vulnerable.”
Garcia believes that if Angelcare could open its doors today, the house would fill all 12 of its places immediately.
“How soon we can open, again, is contingent on how soon I can hire people,” Garcia said. “Because I can’t hire people if I don’t have the money to pay their salary. I can’t hire people if I don’t have the money to pay the light bill or the water.”
To help with Angelcare’s fundraising efforts, Indiana Right to Life is hosting a premiere of Kirk Cameron’s pro-life film “Lifemark” at the Regal Cinema in Greenwood on Tuesday, September 6 at 7 pm. Funds collected at this showing will go to the pro-life work being done by Angelcare.
To learn more about and support the work of Angelcare, please visit angelcareinc.org.