While Prince William County has a few places for women in need or women with children to live temporarily, there weren’t any that could qualify as a true “maternity home.”
After seven years, Frances Robin finally achieved her dream of opening Carried to Full Term in Haymarket.
Carried to Full Term, 6740 Fayette St., provides housing and other services for up to two years for mothers experiencing crisis pregnancies.
The mothers must take classes and find a job to remain in the house for the two-year period. Women can live at Carried to Full Term, a nonprofit, free of charge to allow them to save for the future. They are required only to be responsible for their children and to keep the house clean.
“It’s really strict,” Robin admitted.
The house, owned by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Haymarket, is designed for five to six mothers with their children.
As of Nov. 26, only one expectant mother, Rachel Stallings-Calvino from Richmond, was living in the home.
“I came to Carried to Full Term as a result of homeless due to unplanned pregnancy,” Stallings-Calvino said in an email. “Since coming to Carried to Full Term I have accomplished a lot. I have a job and am in the process of training for my second job. In addition, I am in the process of going back to school in the spring.”
The young mom had just returned from Thanksgiving with her boyfriend in Richmond. He dropped her off at the house (men are not allowed to stay), and Stallings-Calvino immediately began getting ready for her job.
In the weeks she’s been at Carried to Full Term, Stallings-Calvino has been offered two jobs and applied to Northern Virginia Community College and Lord Fairfax Community College.
“I enjoy being at Carried to Full Term for multiple reason but the reasons that are most important are the love and support I receive while I am here. Before coming to Carried to Full Term I was broken and had a sense of abandonment. But … with God and the obedience of the staff and volunteers, I am slowly starting to feel whole again,” Stallings-Calvino added. “I can't wait to see what the next two years of my life hold. I honestly don't know where I would be without Carried to Full Term.”
Robin said she is proud of her first resident mom’s commitment. As a mother of four, Robin naturally slips into a mothering role, gently chiding Stallings-Calvino while boasting about her accomplishments.
Robin calls Stallings-Calvino the “test mom,” as the program is being implemented for the first time.
“She’s doing an incredible job,” Robin added.
So is Robin.
The former government contractor and her family lost everything years ago, but after prayer and hard work, she said, they turned things around. It was during that time that she began to focus on what it would take to bring a maternity home to life.
Robin is Dominican, to which she attributes her love of hard work and self-sufficiency.
“Our culture is based in hard work,” she said.
Which is why, she admits, Carried to Full Term wasn’t what she was conditioned to do. Robin said that though she was always taught to volunteer and help, “you don’t leave a good job to help people.”
But once she learned to accept help from friends, she was able to focus on her dream of opening a maternity home.
“This is what I had to do,” Robin said as she gestured around an upstairs room.
A dream has come to life in part because of the relationships Robin formed within the town of Haymarket and larger Prince William County community.
“This community has been amazing,” Robin said.
Many in the Town Haymarket, including residents, businesses, churches and the town council, have welcomed Carried to Full Term with open arms, Robin says.
“We are committed to serving all of our community and making it a better place for everyone. Pregnancy, whether expected or unexpected, should never be a time of crisis. We applaud those who reach out during this most fragile time for mothers to help support and encourage them,” said Haymarket’s Mayor David Leake. “We are honored to have Carried to Full Term as part of our community, and as they pour into our community we hope to give back in any way we can. We encourage residents to help support them by volunteering their time, donating needed items, and/or giving monetarily.”
When Robin received the keys from St. Paul’s Reverend Sean Rousseau in June, the little yellow house was empty. Now it is fully furnished with a library and overflowing closets of diapers, baby clothes and rocking chairs.
Robin raved about partnerships with businesses like NOVANT Health.
Carried to Full Term recently partnered with NOVANT Health. NOVANT has agreed to take over doctor appointments, counseling and other health needs of all the mothers in the three-bedroom yellow house.
While Carried to Full Term was founded by Robin, it is run by volunteers and overseen by a board.
One of Carried to Full Term’s board members is Supervisor Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville.
When asked why she became involved in the nonprofit, Lawson said, “As an advocate for the pro-life movement, I love giving my time and personal resources to support this maternity home.”
Though the local community is giving generously in resources to the organization, Robin says they still need help.
Carried to Full Term is accepts donations, but money isn’t the only need.
Volunteers, house parents and mentors are needed and welcome. Volunteers, mentors and house parents will receive training. Mentors will undergo background checks funded in part by The Town of Haymarket.
“You really can’t do anything without another person assisting you,” Robin said.