THE MEANING OF G.R.A.C.E.
Grace McVicar was stillborn on December 20, 2001. She was the first-born child of Candy and Stephen McVicar. It was through their grieving and feelings of missing their daughter and missing the chance to hold, love and raise their baby Grace, that the inspiration for the name “Missing GRACE” was realized.
Additionally, the name is an acronym with a meaning which is central to the heart of the mission of Missing GRACE Foundation. It stands for:
Grieve, Restore, Arise, Commemorate and Educate.Missing GRACE Foundation provides help to:
- Grieve in healthy ways by giving comfort, support and resources while validating the significance of the baby’s life and the right to grieve for the child
- Restore holistically in a person’s emotional, relational, physical and spiritual health, which can each be affected through the trauma of the grief experience
- Arise from the ashes – the dark place of deep sorrow and discover there is hope for a brighter day
- Commemorate their loved ones
- Educate others through sharing their own stories of loss and by providing education for families and professionals that will help bring babies into the world safely
Missing GRACE Foundation’s mission is to provide support, resources and education for families and professional care providers when there is loss of a baby, infertility or adoption challenges. We offer hope and healing opportunities to G.R.A.C.E. – Grieve, Restore, Arise, Commemorate and Educate.
To be healing hands of GRACE that:
- love and support families in their grief journey so they can heal and have hope for a brighter day.
- affirm each baby’s life matters no matter how brief a time they were here.
- create a safe place for the bereaved to experience community with others who understand.
- advocate for mothers to receive care that will improve good outcomes.
- build awareness about ways to prevent miscarriage and stillbirth.
- help educate hospital staff in the best practices of care for patients who experience a perinatal loss.
In 2002, Candy and Stephen McVicar founded Missing GRACE after the umbilical cord related stillbirth of their firstborn daughter Grace. The McVicars started Missing GRACE with the desire to support families who had experienced a pregnancy or infant loss and a passion to educate, raise awareness and further the research of stillbirth and its prevention.
Shortly after its inception, the organization began offering online support groups, support group meetings and GRACE Care Baskets that were given to comfort and help newly grieving parents in the hospital at the time their baby died.
In addition to delivering the GRACE Care Baskets to hospitals, Candy, began serving the hospitals on-call as a patient advocate and grief support person for parents delivering a miscarried, stillborn or neonate baby with a poor diagnosis. She offered birth support, professional photography, live video filming, memorial service planning and home visits with follow-up care. Stephen compiled the photos and videos and created a Memorial DVD for the parents to have as a treasured keepsake. There was high demand for these specialty services and Candy grew the program through a partnership with a Minnesota hospital, which assisted in the recruitment and training process for what became the Missing GRACE Crisis Care Team. The team grew to have 24 volunteers who served throughout Minnesota and the Mid-west five-state region. As news spread, more hospitals requested the services in other states. Bereaved parent volunteers were trained to begin providing Missing GRACE Crisis Care Team services in their local hospitals and to facilitate GRACE Support Groups in their communities. Services have been offered in Texas, New Mexico, Kentucky and Missouri.
Missing GRACE hosted seven national conferences annually in Minnesota for bereaved, infertile and adoptive families. The conferences also had a medical track and provided CEUs/CMEs for Care Professionals.
In 2003, Candy ventured out to the Capital in St. Paul, Minnesota with the mission to help parents of a stillborn receive their baby’s birth certificate. Through the hard work of Candy together with volunteers (also parents to stillborn babies) and the collaborative bipartisan efforts, the bill received incredible legislative support and unanimous votes in both the House and Senate Health committees as well as on the floor of both House and Senate. This was a true coming together by the Minnesota legislature for an excellent and worthy cause. The bill was signed into law and enacted August 1, 2005. Parents have shared that receiving their certificates has brought rightful recognition and dignity to their baby and peace and comfort to their hearts.
In September 2005, the first Kaila & Grace's Hope & Hearts Run was held at Lake Harriet. The beautiful memorial event for babies and children and benefit for Missing GRACE has been held every fall since, and includes a 5K timed run, memorial walk, kids fun dash and remembrance ceremony. The event helps to raise awareness about pregnancy loss and stillbirth prevention. Now called the Minnesota Hope & Hearts Run/Walk, the event draws bereaved families from all over Minnesota and other Midwest states. Hope & Hearts events have been held in Texas in memory of Payton, in New Mexico in memory of Blakey, and in Kentucky in memory of Gracie.
The Organization became Missing GRACE Foundation (MGF) at the time of receiving status as a 501 (c) (3) Nonprofit in June 2006.
In 2010, They Were Stillborn – Personal Stories About Stillbirth a beautiful collection of essays compiled and edited by Janel Atlas was published which included a contribution by Candy.
For nine years, Missing GRACE was operated out of Candy and Stephen’s home. They also had to utilize several storage units for holding Care Basket and event supplies and two churches for holding meetings and events. As the needs grew, a vision developed for a space that could not only be an office and storage place, but also a special gathering place for bereaved, infertile and adoptive families.
The vision became a reality, thanks to the incredible support of individual donors, a large grant from Home Depot and Best Buy, and the generous donated supplies and incredible volunteerism of local businesses. The Center for GRACE opened its doors to the public in June of 2011. The Center, was located in Rogers, Minnesota, and for 4+ years provided a serene and beautiful place of refuge for families.
January 2016, Missing GRACE relocated and had it's offices, GRACE Care Baskets and Rogers Support Group at 10925 Trail Haven Road, Rogers MN.
April 2017, Missing GRACE opens new Center with library, gift shop, meeting room, GRACE Care Baskets and support services for grieving families on Main Street in Rogers, MN.
August 2017, New GRACE Grief Support Group for Pregnancy Loss and Child Loss begins monthly meetings in Lihue, Kauai.