I asked Director of Because Every Mother Matters, Steffany Boster, a few questions about her organization and why she decided to team up with Project HOPEFUL. Steffany dished all the details of Because Every Mother Matters’ successful campaign to raise $5000 for Project HOPEFUL’s HOPE+ Sisterhood for our blog readers. Enjoy!
PH: Tell us about your organization Because Every Mother Matters.
BEMM: Every time I meet someone and they ask “the question”….you know the one: “What do you do”? I seem to struggle with an answer. Do I say, “I’m a stay at home mom”? or “I’m the chief administrator of a small organization (my family)” or “ I have a very important job that involves very special people and supporting their growth (my children)”.
The truth is, I guess you can parallel what BEMM does and what a mom does. I find a need and seek to meet it to the best of my ability. As a full time mom to 6 children, I still lack the response to questions about what exactly it is I do. The same is true as I try to explain my role as a full time head of an organization.
The thing is, whether I’m answering a question about what I personally do or what Because Every Mother Matters does I have the same response. “Whatever needs to be done.”.
PH: How did BEMM get it’s start?
BEMM: After my daughter died of malaria in Liberia, I finally understood. You see, for me, the decision to adopt was personal and I only focused on the children I thought God called me to. Little did I know, God called me to two children because they were all I could focus on at that time.
From the beginning, I wanted to adopt two children. I thought of nothing else really. Then, when they died, I was able to look beyond my two children to see the millions who suffer as well. When Marion died alone with no one to hold him and nobody to really notice, I understood. I saw the face of EVERY SINGLE ORPHAN in the loss of our children and I realized they all have names, a story, value.
I knew then that God called me on a journey beyond just the two we had planned to adopt. I remember reading about how mommas gave birth in Uganda. My heart was disturbed by the images of women like me, biting through umbilical cords, burying their babies after failed deliveries, or worse yet, families burying their young women who died during child birth. We started raising money for birthing kits immediately.
Then, my journey to care for mother’s and their children became personal again. I met a sick pregnant stranger in Ethiopia when we were adopting our twins. She had recently lost a baby at 8 months gestation due to pre-eclampsia. Now she was 3 months pregnant again and in trouble. She needed medical care she would never receive in Ethiopia. So, I brought her home with me and my sick twins. (That is another story) A year later this pregnant stranger was now my best friend, and her child was my god-daughter. And, Because Every Mother Matters had a HEART BEAT!
PH: What was the connection between BEMM and Project Hopeful?
BEMM: Other than a spiritual connection…I’m not sure. I remember going to the Orphan Summit a few years ago and sitting behind Carolyn with her hair strapped in a black headband. Other than the back of her head and the whisperings of women around me I had no clue who or what she stood for. I know this sounds ridiculous, but until I sent her a “friend request” on a whim through Facebook a few years later I never thought about Project HOPEFUL. I remember her response! Something like…” I love headbands and mommas. How is it I don’t know you?”
I met Carolyn for the first time at Together 4 Adoption. I had dreams that we would stay up all night planning and talking. Um…no. I talked to her for maybe 5 minutes…
Before any of this I didn’t know if Project HOPEFUL even had a program for mothers. I only knew I wanted to help. I stepped out in faith and God led me to a place where I could make a difference.
PH: Why was supporting Hope+Sisterhood Project Important to you?
BEMM: Bottom line: it has to do with mommas. The more we can support mommas the more impact we can have on the overall orphan population. In Ethiopia alone, 1 in 11 women will die due to pregnancy related causes. If every woman has 10-12 children…do the math! For every mom we invest in that is potentially 6-12 children. HIV affects more child bearing women than any other disease. It is 100% preventable and completely manageable. The stigma and shame that follows a positive mother, not to mention the lack of support for women with HIV, should concern us all. If you are an adoptive parent, I believe you have the responsibility to support not only adoption but ways to prevent other children from being orphaned. Because Every Mother Matters is my way of trying to prevent mothers from dying and their children from being orphaned.
PH: Has God given you any spiritual insights or faith building lessons through your partnership with Project Hopeful and the HOPE+Sisterhood Project
BEMM: Oh my gosh! I knew I would face obstacles while raising fund sin faith for Project HOPEFUL. And, I must say I faced more challenges with fundraising during the World AIDS Day Campaign than I could have anticipated. I found myself discouraged, doubting and discouraged again (What I call the 3 D’s of not believing the Word.)
I started fund-raising the weeks before People Magazine released their article covering Carolyn Tweitmeyer’s family. I was humbled to watch how Carolyn handled herself in the midst of challenges she faces. She never wavered from the direction God took her. My respect, love, and commitment grew everyday as I witnessed God through her.
PH: What is next for Because Every Mother Matters?
BEMM: Right now we are in the middle of the Orphan Bead Project we started to help Funky Fish Designs collect donated beads for her upcoming trip to Ethiopia. ( BEMM will be there to video the whole thing) To learn more visit here.
In the new year BEMM will be traveling to Ethiopia to support the maternity health center we raised funds for DOMA to build. We’ll also be establishing relationships with several community outreaches and non-profits in Ethiopia. We also hope to visit the HOPE+ Sisterhood project will be and bring home the stories of the women who live there to help create sisterhood connections. It is these sisterhoods that will personally connect HIV+ mothers to organizations and people here in the US who will support them as they strike out in pursuit of a better future for their family; a future free from suffering, stigma and loss.