TNN’s Founder Reflects Upon the Meaning of Practical Compassion
Emotionally charged rhetoric and divisive debate have too often distracted both the pro-life and pro-choice movements from serving the mother and child at the heart of this crisis. The time has come to recognize the vast common ground that exists between these two allegedly incompatible groups.
Those who support 'choice' can hardly dispute the value of creating another choice: those who support life can hardly reject an alternative made real. In a spirit of mutual respect and understanding, we can bind up the wounds of suspicion and heal the torn fabric of our society.
Gifts from TNN members
Through the generosity of over 52,000 volunteer Members nationwide, TNN has provided a positive alternative to abortion by offering each mother facing the crisis of an unplanned pregnancy an individually-tailored program of practical support free of charge. Placing special emphasis on assisting college and working women, TNN's comprehensive program of support includes professional counseling, medical services, residential assistance, educational, employment and financial resources.
Culturally-defining human rights issue
The time has come to infuse one of the most culturally-defining civil and human rights movement of our time with new hope and energy. Where better to inspire a deep respect for the value of life than on college campuses all across America where the idealism and activism of young people provide so much reason for optimism.
Unity, urgency and intensity
At this pivotal time in our nation's history, we all struggle with the question of what more can be done to promote an authentic culture of life. Political maneuvering, deceptive rhetoric, media distortion and internal dissension have discouraged all but the most resilient. It is clear that we must confront this national tragedy with greater urgency and intensity,
A personal gift . . .one life at a time
Click on the photo to read their stories
"... most precious gift I could ever give."
"When I signed my name to the last document finalizing the adoption of Bryan Alexander, I felt as though I was offering the most precious gift I could ever give.
I could never have made it through my pregnancy without the Network's help. From the moment I first called, every person supported me through the most difficult time of my life. You helped me make rational and unselfish decisions. It is mind boggling to me that people you don't even know can help so much and become so much a part of your life.
Not only did you help me emotionally, but you found me a place to stay, a counselor, an attorney and a doctor. My Nurturing Home family have become friends for a lifetime. They continuously opened their hearts to me. They made me realize that an unwanted pregnancy was not an impossible road block, but rather a small detour with an enormous blessing waiting at the end.
By giving my baby a chance to live, I not only gained the respect of many people around me but I learned to respect myself as well. The Network will be in my heart and prayers forever. I plan to continue being a part of your work so that I can give to others what you have given to me."
A Supportive Note from Bianca's Best Friend:
"I thank you for giving Bianca the support she so deserves. We've known each other since we were 3! She is the most caring and loving person and the best friend in the world. I know she will be the most wonderful mom in the world and do everything in her power to make sure her baby is healthy and happy. With your help I know it will be easier for her to stay in school and to finish her degree. Thank you so much. "
"Words cannot express my gratitude for all of your hard work and support. The baby shower was the most amazing surprise ever! I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked into Allison's home and saw all of the gifts! I can't believe how fortunate I am to be surrounded by such loving people.
There was a time when I didn't know how I was going to have this child and be able to get him everything that he needs. Thanks to you and everyone who has been part of your Network, I have found joy, comfort, and relief. I am so excited to have my baby and for him to meet his 'family' that has helped me from day one. I thank God everyday for putting me in contact with the people who gave me hope and helped carry me through to a bright and beautiful future."
"Becoming an architect had always been a dream of mine. But then, a month after receiving my acceptance letter, I found out I was pregnant. I was devastated and so were my parents. I felt like my world was turned upside down and my dream of being an architect was totally lost.
I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. My mom called one day and said that she had seen Mary Cunningham Agee interviewed on TV about an organization called the Nurturing Network. I called immediately. By postponing school for a year, I was still able to fulfill my dream of becoming an architect.
I think it's extremely important that the Nurturing Network exists because they act outside the whole political arena. They are not involved in the pro-choice / pro-life debate. They just give women the opportunity to choose life for their children and help themselves too.
As a result of their support, I gained the courage to continue my pregnancy. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who now has two loving parents. I became a much stronger person because of my decision to give my child life. Through all the encouragement and help that the Nurturing Network gave to me, I saw how God could take a situation which seems so terrible and transform it into something really positive."
"When I saw your website, it was like coming home."
"The doctor said it was just a blob of cells. Her words still ring in my ears, 'If you have an abortion, no one will ever know; if you don't everyone will.'
I didn't want anyone to know. I wanted to make the problem go away, But I couldn't. I rationalized that the baby would go straight to heaven. Who would care about me? I was a worthless idiot undeserving of forgiveness. I could scarcely breathe.
When I saw your website, it was like coming home. Here were stories of other women like me who had overcome this situation and become stronger people as a result. The inspiration, understanding and love you provided gave me a whole new outlook. While all I felt was self-loathing and shame; all you gave me was love. Thank you and your staff for treating me like family and for touching my life. I will never forget your kindness and can only hope to help someone as you have helped me."
Love always, Chris
"All of us want and need validation . . ."
"A woman in crisis may easily adopt someone else's opinion, regardless of whether it meshes with her own. All of us want and need validation that we are important, good people even though we may slip up and find ourselves in a place we'd rather not be. TNN provided that validation for me. You helped me to once again feel normal, adequate and worthy. The phrases used in conversation were, "How can we best help you?" Not, "Here's what you should do."
I'm so glad TNN was there for me to lean on. I hope it will continue to be the shoulder to lean on for many, many more women."
"Through the experience of my unplanned pregnancy, I have become a more independent person. There have been many things I've had to do on my own, and I've found the courage to do them. I have become a person who knows when to ask for help from friends and family. In many ways, my association with the Nurturing Network has given me a healthier sense of self; I know who I am and what I believe.
I'm someone who wants to give back what I've received from the Nurturing Network. I deeply appreciate that TNN is a sheltering, loving presence to every mother in need of encouragement and support.
There is so much to say and, at the same time, nothing that needs to be said at all. I am reminded of your support and kindness most at times like this when Julian is asleep and the world is finally still. I pick up the newspapers each morning and weep at the pictures of so many desperate and tragic scenes involving children. I thank God that my child is safe. I know, just as you do, that now I must help to keep others safe too."
"I wish this joy for everyone . . ."
"I can never thank you enough for your phone calls and letters as well as the constant support of prayers from the members of the Nurturing Network. Your support helped me to be certain that I wasn't alone. Most importantly, you helped me realize that the birth of a child would be a wonderful, miraculous event!
My son is a bright, beautiful, happy child who brings me infinite amounts of joy. I wish this joy for everyone. But if it isn't possible for some, I pray that they are not alone. The Lord is our most faithful supporter and the Nurturing Network is next. Thank you, Mary, and the Nurturing Network for everything you have done and been for me."
"Thank you for making it possible for me to raise my son without having to give up a college education. When I contacted you, I was terrified. Being 17 and pregnant, I wasn't sure that I could give him what he needs and deserves without destroying my own dreams and plans for the future. Because you acted as a mediator between my college and me, I moved immediately into an affordable apartment and was even able to take classes the summer before I gave birth. Thank you for giving me the greatest joy I have ever experienced, that of motherhood. Because you first believed in me, I was able to believe in myself and become the mother that Nathanial deserves"
"In a time when you're in crisis, in a time when you're confused, the Nurturing Network really helps to bring a calm to the storm. It allows you to discern all of your options.
We live in a society where life is not valued. If abortion is the only choice that we are given-there's no empowerment there. When you have the power to make a decision that is going to be life giving, that is genuine freedom and real choice. Mary Agee has given me and thousands of women true liberation and empowerment."
Thank you, Joy
"Motherhood is such a gift."
"My heart is so full it has taken me a while to find the words to say thank you. Motherhood is such a gift. It requires such grace and commitment to be done well. Your support, prayers and acts of kindness have meant so very much to me.
Thank you for making it possible for a 'non-traditional' older unwed mother to find strength and hope in order to care for God's greatest gift - new life.
It's been a humbling experience. I thank you for your vision and leadership in recognizing and answering my needs. Abortion is so expected, and sadly, commonplace. Your kind words and deeds helped to remind me of the dignity and worth in giving life."
"Basically, I didn't know what to do."
"When I found myself unexpectedly pregnant, I was looking online for resources. I was a 31 year old professional just hired as a bereavement counselor at a prominent children's hospital. I was very concerned about how to handle my job. The father of the baby wanted me to have an abortion. I was uncertain about how to be a single parent and find support beyond my family. I didn't know how to tell my family and my employer.
Basically, I didn't know what to do. I was pretty much alone and didn't have anyone else to talk to. When my research led me to TNN I thought, 'Oh, my gosh . . . there really is something out there for somebody like me.' Nurturing Network provided practical support and real resources so that I could make a good decision and be confident that it was the right thing for me to do."
"Words cannot express how grateful I am that I was led to the Nurturing Network. Your prayers and encouragement came at a much needed time.
It meant the world to me to be able to talk to someone who had been through a similar situation. Not only did Christine show me compassion and kindness, but she also facilitated gifts of much needed baby items from very generous women at her church. Her emotional support and advice was invaluable. I will always be grateful for her continued friendship and all that she has done for me.
My little girl, Anna Marie, is a gift from God and is such a treasure! She has already brought much joy into my life. Thank you for all that you have done!"
"I am one of the moms that you helped back in the 80's. My daughter, Kate, is now 14 years old and doing well. She has brought such joy to my life as well as to my family. She has just recently completed a second summer program through John Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. She is an excellent student and a skilled volleyball player.
I completed my degree and am now a communications manager for an online bank. Your support had a tremendous impact on my life and I am sure contributed to my going back to school to finish my college degree when Kate was still a baby. It was terrific to speak with you. Your words really helped me to regain my self-confidence-something easy to lose when the person that you care for rejects both you and the child you have created together.
Often, when I was working full-time, caring for Kate and attending night school, I remembered our conversations. Your words helped me to keep sight of my goals so I could provide a better life for Kate. Please know that if there is ever anything that I can do to help your organization, I would love to be of assistance."
"I thank God everyday for Mary's vision . . ."
"The fact that someone took the time to show kindness and compassion to me, I am now taking that same gift and giving it to others. I am now a certified mediator in family court and working out visitation agreements between estranged parents. I think that Mary's kindness has had a profound effect on my life. Because of her, I'm able to continue to give and not be bitter and angry as a single parent.
I feel that TNN is a vital part of the fabric of America. I just cannot see this organization ever not existing. Too many women and children have been blessed by this program and it's very special to me. When I look back on those days when I was pregnant with only the loyal support of TNN, I realize that she saved our lives. Alison will be a blessing to the world."
"I feel safe for the first time . . ."
"I am writing a few lines to thank you so much for ALL of the help you gave to me. Things happened so quickly after my pastor asked you to call me. I especially want to thank you for the beautiful nurturing family you chose. Valerie and Bob are the most loving people I have ever known. I am very happy as I learn more about God. My own heart is being filled with love to share with others. I feel safe for the first time and don't feel so much pain anymore. Now it's easier to believe that I belong in the world. Please thank your staff for their kindness and your husband for driving me here. I am very grateful. God bless you and all your family."
". . . a call that changed my life forever."
"My first encounter with The Nurturing Network was over twelve years ago. There was a listing in the Manhattan Yellow Pages under "Abortion Alternatives," and the name listed was "TNN-4-MOM." It was a day and a call that I will never forget because it changed my life forever.
It's a scary thing to find yourself faced with an unplanned pregnancy, 'Wow, I'm pregnant! What do I do? Where do I turn?'
TNN has become for me a family, and yet, so many of us have never even met each other! They look for the best in you and the best that you can potentially give to a child. Every time I receive a TNN newsletter, I read of somebody else's story and somebody else's triumph. It's incredibly empowering not only on an emotional level but a spiritual one too. It's, an awesome organization. I wish I could do more. What I'm giving back may not be a financial gift to the Nurturing Network but something that was given to me: The gift of myself and whatever I have to help someone else.
I've never met Mary, but if I did, I would give her a huge hug and thank her for what she gave to me. She gave a spark to my inner flame which had been turned way down. I would also like to thank her for all the countless others that she has helped along the way."
"For the first time, I knew I would be OK."
"I had no clue where to turn for help until my mother learned about TNN from a youth counselor. When I first called TNN, I felt numb with fear."
When I spoke with Mary, I immediately felt a sense of relief. She promised to help me and my family - and she did."
Within days, Mary put together real solutions for me. She worked out a creative academic plan with my college dean, found me a wonderful female doctor in Boston, and introduced me to the most kind and encouraging Nurturing Home. For the first time, I knew I would be OK."
TNN helped to give me the strength and courage I needed to face my pregnancy while maintaining the privacy and confidentiality that was so important to me. There are no words to adequately describe the gratitude that I feel for all that Mary and TNN did for me, my baby and my family."
". . . if I had this baby he would kill me."
"I didn't know what I was going to do. The father of the baby told me that if I had this baby he would kill me. He told me to, 'get rid of the problem.' My own family was telling me, 'This is going to be too hard for you. Don't do it. Don't bother; you know there are other things you can do.' And here's a woman whom I've never met saying, 'Call me. If you want to have your baby, I'll help you make that happen.'
Everyone else out there had their agenda. The Network stopped me in my tracks by asking me what it was I wanted to do. I knew what I wanted to do; they gave me the ability to do it. It was a leg up, not a hand out. That's the difference, that's the key difference. Nobody did for me what I could do for myself.
If there's a woman out there who finds herself pregnant and lost and scared, make the phone call. Pick up the phone and call: 1-800-TNN-4-MOM Somebody's going to answer, because there's help out there. It exists . . . it's real."
" . . . a new sense of empowerment""I feel so empowered by this whole experience; being able to continue with school without any interruption, has given me an incredible strength. I have a new found faith in people and in myself. It's just unbelievable the amount of love and compassion that has been given to me, especially being a complete stranger. I had never experienced that in my entire life! This situation has been the hardest thing that I've ever had to endure. I have come through it and achieved my goals. I continue to set higher goals too for myself. I'm going into the healthcare industry and I will be giving back to my community once I graduate. I think it's the help TNN provided to me that has inspired me to give more to others." Love, Tanya