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Sisters convert heartbreak into a unique civic organizationDate: 06/05/2017
Through an unexpected loss, a beautiful program was created.
“It’s a total God-thing,” Sarah Adams said. “He has had his hand on this situation from day one.”
The “situation” Adams referenced is Mamie’s Poppy Plates. She, along with her sister Britney Spees, founded the organization not long after a tragedy occurred.
“There are a lot of hurting people who want to recognize their children,” Spees said. “Through Mamie’s … God has given us creative ideas and surrounded us with talented people to provide the outlet so many parents need.”
What is the recognition of children in which Spees alluded to?
The loss of an infant.
At 37 ½ weeks into Adams’ pregnancy, doctors were unable to detect the heartbeat of her daughter Mamie. Sarah gave birth to Mamie, who was stillborn, hours later.
After she returned home, Adams found an ornament designed for Mamie’s footprints. At that moment she had an epiphany, and the mission of Mamie’s Poppy Plates was in full bloom.
The plates provide a lasting memory for parents who endure the stillbirth of an infant or the loss of a child. Various people volunteering their services and providing finances, help to keep the organization running. Through generous support from the community, Mamie's now has a presence in hospitals statewide and is slowly expanding beyond the borders of Arkansas.
The plates are a unique and highly sentimental way to both honor the life, and deal with the death of a child.
“When it first happened, I felt so alone,” Adams said. “But through Mamie’s Poppy Plates, it’s been great healing for me. It’s been a pleasure being a helpful ear to families who are grieving. We’ve also realized that a lot of moms who are grieving have found comfort in coming here and helping us by participating in our volunteer nights.”
“This is just a way to remember Mamie and also help people,” Adams said. “Helping people is what we’ve been called to do. I feel like that’s the reason Mamie existed.”
Adams and Spees were recently at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock as part of a select group of Arkansans who were honored during the 2017 Community Service Awards. The CSA was sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Communications and Community Engagement (OCCE) and KARK Channel 4, in cooperation with McLarty Automotive Group, the Office of the Governor, and the Governor’s Advisory Commission on National Service and Volunteerism.
Spees – Adams’ older sister – is comforted in knowing that Mamie’s Poppy Plates provides heartbroken people with a source of hope and comfort.
“Grief is such a taboo subject, especially with parents who have lost children,” Spees said. “But there are so many people touched by the loss of a baby … unfortunately.”
The sisters’ generosity and goodwill toward parents who have lost a young child is a beautiful act of humanity.
“Dealing with the loss of a baby, and turning it into a civic service program like Mamie’s Poppy Plates is an admirable act,” said Kim Simpson, OCCE Volunteer Program Coordinator. “The work of Britney and Sarah is heartwarming.”