I have recently become a grandmother—for the first time! For months I have been listening intently to all my friends who have gone before me and taken copious mental notes of what this new adventure might be like, but there is just no describing it. How do you explain the vibrant reds and oranges of fall, the vastness of the ocean, or the intricacies of dew on a spider web to a blind man?
Just when I thought my love meter was full, this new baby on the scene instantly grew it to a new capacity as quickly as Jack’s beanstalk! It’s hard to imagine life without this new being, and I’m left wondering how I ever got along when this neonate was but a twinkle in his momma’s eye. I am reminded again of the feelings I had when I first looked into the eyes of my own newly-born children…and I am again, spellbound!
This is indeed a mystery, this crazy little thing called love; and yet this magical bond seems to be one of nature’s ways of ensuring survival. We cannot help but love these little creatures and feel compelled to take care of them; we are connected by an invisible string to the heart, especially if you have spent the past nine months literally growing this new person inside of you—it is no different for a mother who is behind bars.
In the natural, this connection is not just emotional, but physical, as well. Babies are supposed to be loved and held and fed and nurtured by their mothers, but sometimes life takes unexpected directions and the natural way is not the way it actually goes—so it is with mothers who are incarcerated. These women and their new babies have been rent from each other’s arms much too early, and neither has the choice but to live apart—but moms in prison are still moms. They have the same urge to care for their newborn infant, they have the same ache in their hearts when they do not get to hold their baby. These moms spend every waking moment imagining what their child is up to at any given moment, worrying about how she is doing, and daydreaming about what he’ll be when he grows up.
My philosophy has always been whenever the best thing isn’t possible…do the NEXT best thing.
If sending this new little one back home is not a safe or stable option and the risk of permanently losing her child through the foster care system is too scary for a mom in prison, Pharaoh’s Daughter is the “next best thing” for many of these families. Pharaoh’s Daughter not only provides a safe place to grow, but also values the immeasurable importance of that first and fundamental bond between a mother and her child. At Pharaoh’s Daughter, this is right up there with a clean diaper, full belly, and lots of hugs. Working hard to cultivate, maintain, and preserve this mother/child bond, much of our time at Pharaoh’s Daughter will be spent taking these children for frequent visits to see their moms in prison. This will help ease some of the worry of the welfare of both the moms (is my mommy okay in prison?) and the children (is my baby okay without me?). These are real-time problems with real-time solutions and Pharaoh’s Daughter is up to the task.
I am looking forward to the day when I have the privilege of hearing the squeal of the young child holding my hand as she excitedly runs up the walk at NCCIW (North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women) to show her mommy the picture she has drawn for her (that small token of love which carries the greatest honor). My "mother’s heart" longs to see the searching eyes of that same mother break into an ear-to-ear grin as she throws her arms wide to catch her child who runs to her, then looks her over and her heart rests to see that her child is healthy, happy and thriving.
If this vision also lights up your heart and you want to be a part of Pharaoh’s Daughter, contact me through our website (below). We’ve got a spot for you!
Enjoy these cooler days and vibrant colors…fall is finally here! ~Susan