ESCONDIDO — With its emphasis on adoption, Lamb of God Maternity Home occupies a unique place among local organizations that support pregnant women.
But that uniqueness has not spared it from experiencing its own set of challenges during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Lamb of God Maternity Home, which opened its doors in 2013, is capable of housing up to six women in crisis pregnancies who are willing to consider placing their child for open adoption. While residing at a 5,500-square-foot private home in Escondido, residents are typically expected to spend their days at work, at school, or enrolled in programs or classes that will prepare them for successful lives beyond the maternity home.
However, the statewide stay-at-home order issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic shook up the household routine, keeping residents from attending anything except essential appointments.
Also, as a direct result of the pandemic, the maternity home has been forced to furlough staff members and to indefinitely postpone its fourth Annual Spaghetti Dinner, its largest fundraising event of the year, which had been scheduled for May 23 and was expected to bring in up to $200,000.
But along with all of this, there was a flood at Lamb of God Maternity Home on March 20, which added “another layer of stress” to an already trying situation, said Program Manager Laura Ardito.
It was the second flood in a matter of weeks and even damaged repairs that were made after the first flood. The three residents and four staff members then at the house were displaced; at the same time, the house had been preparing to welcome two more residents, who were self-isolating for two weeks in preparation for joining the household.
Lamb of God Maternity Home found itself in a difficult position — and at the worst possible time. In an email to supporters, it requested recommendations for an Airbnb that could accommodate its residents and house manager while the repairs were taking place and for monetary donations that could help pay for those repairs.
In response to this, Ardito said, came “a flood of help.” The women were housed at a small Airbnb that very night and, within four days, a larger one was made available to them at a reduced rate. Five residents, along with Ardito and a week-end staff member, stayed at the second Airbnb until April 22, when they were able to return to the maternity home.
Monetary donations also poured in to assist with the cost of the repairs and temporary housing. Ardito expects that the damage from the two floods will be close to $88,000, with the maternity home still facing a $37,000 bill after insurance. That is on top of the maternity home’s normal operating expenses.
Supporters have also dropped off baked goods, dinners and even “precious toilet paper” at their doorstep, said Ardito, referring to one of the items that has proven hardest to find on store shelves since the pandemic began.
Lamb of God Maternity Home’s experience demonstrates that selflessness and generosity can shine through the darkness of the pandemic.
“We’re absolutely thrilled and totally overwhelmed by that kind of support … at a time when everybody is just dealing with so much themselves,” said Ardito, who described it as “a beautiful thing.”
Grace Dulaney, who founded Lamb of God Maternity Home and sits on its board of directors, said, “While there has been a pause put on life as we knew it, there is no pause in the needs of pregnant women in crisis. Our residents come to us broken in so many ways that, to have disasters such as we are experiencing now with the virus and floods, causes anxiety levels to go through the roof. Thank God we are blessed with staff that calms the storm in such a profound way.”
For more information about Lamb of God Maternity Home, visit www.agnusdeifoundation.org.