Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Arms of An Angel

Mary and Brian Glynn are proud parents of four healthy children; but they have seen their fair share of the inside of hospitals’ NICU’s (Neonatal Intensive Care Units). In 1990, before she met Brian, 17-year-old Mary gave birth to Justen. He was several weeks premature and had many complications. (Justen gets his name because he was born “just in time.”)

Two years later, Mary met Brian and they quickly got engaged. After their marriage, the couple learned Mary was pregnant and it was soon clear that they were in for a rough ride. At just 8 weeks gestation, Mary had a miscarriage. The couple prayed and tried for the next five years to get pregnant again with no success.

Finally, their prayers were answered in 1998 when Mary conceived Julionna. Then, just three months after the birth of Julionna, Mary conceived again. Within weeks of the pregnancy, Mary began to have complications. At only 26 weeks gestation, Mary gave birth to a 2 pound, 10 ounce boy, Gabriel. During the following two months, he was required to remain in the NICU, so Mary drove to the hospital every two hours to nurse her newborn son.

In April 2000, Mary learned she was pregnant again, and three months later, Mariah Belle was born at 21 weeks gestation weighing only 10 ounces. She was too early to save and died just an hour and a half after her birth. Paul, their sixth conceived child, was born healthy and with no complications in 2001.

Mary and Brian Glynn have had their fair share of heartache, but as we all know, God’s plans for our lives are not always what we expect. In the two years following the loss of baby Mariah, Mary says God was assuring her that her daughter did not die in vain.

In 2002, Mary began to knit hats for babies in local NICU’s, and, shortly after, Heavenly Angels In Need (“HAIN”) was born. HAIN eventually morphed into the non-profit charity organization it is today, donating items to families who have children who have passed on and to those who are clinging to life.

As Mary knitted hats, she realized there was a much bigger need. Items such as caskets, blankets, memory boxes, baby care items, and burial garments were also desperately needed. So in April 2003, Mary began a group website and by June of the same year, demand encouraged the group website to become a public one. In 2004, the memory box, casket and children’s divisions were created to get more items to those who needed them.

As the ministry expanded, “Angel Stations” were born, allowing HAIN to reach people in all parts of the United States, as well as other countries. Angel Stations are divisions of HAIN set up to produce and provide items, as well as deliver those items to local hospitals. The Angel Stations coordinate with the different divisions to access needs in each area and make sure they are being met.

As their most requested item, the memory box division is unfortunately the biggest part of HAIN. Memory boxes provide a place for families to preserve prized mementos of a baby who has passed on. These boxes are generally hand-made and donated to HAIN, then distributed to the hospitals or the individuals who request them.

The casket division was inspired after Brian Glynn built baby Mariah’s casket because of the family’s inability to purchase one. Like the memory box division, caskets are handmade and donated to HAIN by caring individuals, and then distributed.

HAIN also accepts the donation of new or used wedding, prom, and brides maid dresses to make burial garments for families who cannot afford them. For many who have lost a child or an infant, this is an irreplaceable gift.

HAIN realizes there is a need for items for babies who are born to impoverished individuals, as well. This is why they accept items such as diapers, clothes, blankets, toys, formula, and other much needed baby care items. These are distributed to local hospitals and Social Services to help families who cannot afford to provide these necessities for their baby and those in emergency situations.

The children’s division donates items to children in emergency situations, and to children residing in the care of Social Services. “Special Kids Bags” are put together, which is a pillow case filled with specific items pertaining to the child’s situation. This past year, HAIN sent Special Kids Bags to Texas to help the children affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Donations of materials are needed to make caskets, memory boxes, burial garments, and Special Kids Bags. Patterns are available online for those who would like to knit, chrochet or sew baby items and craft projects will also be available soon. HAIN also knows some people may wish to help, but do not have the time or ability to make things to give. Therefore, they also accept monetary gifts. A full wish list of wants and needs for the organization can be found online.

Mary and Brian Glynn have let God use their own family tragedy to help others who have found infant death to be a very real and unfortunate event. Mary says, “Someone has to let these parents know that they are not alone…parents and children need to have something to let them know that they are loved and cared about.”

To learn more about Heavenly Angels In Need or to make a donation to the ministry, visit

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