Rest in His Arms is registered with the IRS as a 501c non-profit charity and incorporated in the State of Illinois. Our initial mission was and still is to provide funeral and burial for babies who are found dead after having been illegally abandoned. Our other work includes advocating for and educating the public about the Baby Safe Haven Law and also converting donated wedding dresses into baby burial garments called “angel gowns.”  These angel gowns are then donated all across the US to hospitals, funeral homes, other non-profits, and to individual families grieving the loss of a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth or other infant death.

It all began in the summer of 2005 on a warm August day. On page 5 of the Metro section of the Chicago Tribune, there was a story about the body of a baby that had been found in a landfill in Grayslake, IL.

My heart ached. A baby had literally been thrown away. I didn’t know what to do, but knew I had to do something. With my own baby playing at my feet, I wept for and mourned this abandoned child. Then I prayed for guidance.

A few days later, I found myself calling the number listed in the article to ask if I could give the child a proper funeral and burial. Once the sheriff’s department determined I was not the baby’s biological mom, the coroner’s office worked with me to plan a funeral for a child I did not know – I had not even known if it was a boy or a girl. They told me he was a full-term boy who had taken at least one breath. And I knew I would be the mom who would love him.

I went about planning a funeral for a child I did not know but who nonetheless was my son. He needed a name. I picked Michael because it means “He who is like God” and thought it would be good to have one of the most powerful archangels looking after him. I chose Gerard as his middle name after St. Gerard Majella as he is a patron Saint of unborn and newborn children.

Then, as his mom, I needed to find him something to wear. I found another mom online who makes Baptismal gowns and asked her if she could help.  Marceil Brumaghim from Heaven Sent Baby gifted us the most gorgeous embroidered silk gown I had ever seen.

With a suitable name and precious burial gown, Baby Michael Gerard’s funeral was planned for noon on September 23, 2005 at Avon Cemetery in Grayslake. I put an ad in the same newspaper where I first learned about Michael and sent out emails to family, friends and prolife groups and approximately 100 strangers showed up to mourn his loss. Mr. Rich Gattis from

Strang Funeral Chapel & Crematorium Ltd. donated the casket along with his time and services to prepare and transport little Michael. Reverend Lisle Kauffman officiated the graveside service. Angie Adler from

Save Abandoned Babies came to share information on the Safe Haven Law. People brought flowers and man named Jim came playing the bagpipes. I held a teddy bear for my son and cried.

Even if Michael Gerard lived for only a few seconds, and even if he only took one breath, his life has dignity, purpose and meaning beyond what we might ever be able to comprehend. As people left his grave, I set down the teddy bear and sung him a lullaby so my Michael would know he is loved.

He would be 16 today. (Sept. 23, 2021)

I never knew if he was White, Hispanic, Black or Asian. And it really doesn’t matter because he is mine. I wonder if he would be a typical teenager. I wonder if he’d like the Blackhawks as much as his sister does and if he’d be pestering her for rides to the mall or to go get French fries or Taco Bell.  I also wonder if he knows what he started and the legacy he left behind…

Just a few weeks after we laid Michael Gerard to rest, the Lake County Coroner’s office called. They had two more babies and would I help?

Of course. How could I not?

Around that time, I saw a pencil drawing of Jesus Snuggling an Infant by artist Jean Keaton and I imagined it was Christ holding my little Michael. I could almost hear the phrase “don’t worry – they are resting in My arms.” I knew what I was being called to do. . . .to provide funeral and burial for abandoned children that honors the great dignity of their brief lives. And at the same time, God was setting things into motion and writing on the hearts of other people who share in this work including Judi Seguy, Bob Seguy, Deacon Jim Pauwels, Rosalyn Popham, Jim Skaar, John Glueckert Jr., Susan Dyer-Hultgren, Suzy Freimuth, Nadine Berczynski, and so many, many others.

Rest in His Arms has buried 53 babies in Illinois the last 17 years. These sweet little ones were children you might have heard about on the news for having been left in horrific places like dumpsters, under train viaducts, in trash cans and toilets in women’s restrooms, thrown off highways, thrown out of apartment windows, and left in plastic bags. We have also consulted on cases like these in other states.

We have been working closely with our friends at Save Abandoned Babies to share the word on the Baby Safe Haven Law. Every State in the Union has such a law so that no child ever needs to die alone.

We have been converting donated wedding gowns into baby burial garments that we donate to other families who experience the loss of a child to miscarriage, stillbirth or other infant death. These garments allow grieving parents to dress their baby in something gorgeous and know they are not alone in their sadness and that our volunteers care.

Why do we do all of this? Because life matters. Because all life is precious. Because losing a baby is a pain like no other that never really goes away. Because all children who leave this world too soon deserve the dignity of being given a name, dressed in a beautiful garment, mourned and buried with respect.

The loss of a child is a tragedy. There is no other way to say it.

I miss you Michael. I know I barely knew you, but you changed the trajectory of my life. I’m thinking about you today. I remember exactly where I was with you 15 years ago. I’m grateful for you, that God put you in my life and how you impacted me. I hope you are praying for all of us who are working to end the illegal abandonment of infants. And most of all, I pray you are resting gently in His tender, loving arms and that we will be reunited one glorious day. . . . .