The following comes from an October 25 Angelus article by Casey McCorry:
Six years ago, 17-year-old Brandi Moore lay in a hospital bed after a 30-foot fall over a highway overpass onto concrete — an unsuccessful attempt at suicide. The woman who had found her sat in a chair beside Moore in the hospital. When Moore woke, the woman handed her a teddy bear smiling brightly and whispered, “You are a miracle.”
Those four words shifted Moore’s perspective on life forever.
Moore’s father had left before she was even born. From her earliest years, Moore’s mother was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. At 9, Brandi was placed in foster care and moved to over 25 homes within seven years. But the foster homes weren’t any better. Brandi remembers one foster mother forcing her to bathe outside so she wouldn’t use the house bath.
By age 17 she had been in five different high schools and juvenile detention four times. She was suffering severe depression. Life seemed to have no value, so she decided to end it. But things didn’t go according to plan.
“March 17, 2010 changed my life. That day woke me up and made me realize that I’m on this earth for a reason,” Moore said. “That day made me realize that I have a purpose and I just had to figure it out.”
Six years later, Moore stood in front of a crowd of over 20,000 at OneLife LA touting the significance and value of human life. Moore’s entire existence has been a glimmering lesson in the miracle of life, survival against the odds and the power of redemptive suffering.
“The definition of survival is to continue to push through life in spite of what you’re going through. Take your pain as an opportunity to grow, to achieve, and succeed,” Moore said. “I learned to value my life because of people around me who valued me.”
The people who “valued” her include the woman who stood tearfully next to her on stage, the one she has come to call “mom,” Tracie Shepard.
Shepard, Corpus Christi Respect Life Ministry Coordinator in Pacific Palisades, met Moore through an event organized by KidSave, an organization that pairs foster teens with families who want to adopt or mentor them.
It was through this moment that an unlikely friendship between a ward-of-the-state teenager and Palisades woman ensued. For six years, Shepard mentored Moore into adulthood doing everything from raising her eyebrows at less-than-ideal boyfriends to helping her buy her first car.
The two got ready for Moore’s prom together. Shepard helped Moore graduate from high school and get certified for skilled nursing and Moore is a regular guest in Shepard’s home for Sunday dinners and holidays. This relationship took a girl just two months from being pushed out the foster homes, a girl who believed her life had no value, and showed her that she was valuable, she was beautiful, she was loved. It summarizes what Shepard, believes being pro-life is all about.
“The elderly, an unborn baby, a foster child, they all need the same thing,” Shepard said. “They all need God. And God is love.”
“I’m a survivor because of all of these wonderful people who’ve been around me. They made a difference in my life,” Moore said. “All of us can make a difference in the life of a child like me.”