Every Child
10/26/15 at 04:13 PM 0 Comments

A Cup of Water in Jesus' Name

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The following was written by Kris Faasse, senior vice president of clinical operations for Bethany Christian Services, and originally appeared in Lifelines, the organization's quarterly magazine.

Maggie was 17, pregnant, and had been kicked out of her family’s home. A friend let her “crash” on the sofa, but she needed a more permanent living arrangement as well as prenatal care and basic necessities. Not only was she holding her jeans together with safety pins, she didn’t even have a winter coat that would fit around her expanding figure. Maggie spent all her energy figuring out how to live; she had nothing left over to think about what life would be like after her baby was born.

It is common for women facing unplanned pregnancies to experience day-to-day challenges that consume all of their energy and resources. Many need housing, prenatal care, and material resources for themselves and their children. Seeking these out on their own can be stressful. Our goal at Bethany Christian Services is to walk alongside these women, offering support and care as well as resources and information.

Many expectant mothers need financial assistance, but providing it is seldom a simple matter. Most states allow prospective adoptive parents to pay for certain expenses for an expectant mother who may be considering an adoption decision. These are often categorized as “living expenses,” but could also include needed medical or legal services. While this financial assistance is certainly helpful to the mother, involving money in what is already a difficult decision can further complicate the situation.

Suppose a couple who would like to adopt a child offers to pay living expenses for an expectant mother during her pregnancy—a common and perfectly legal arrangement. From one perspective, this is a noble gesture. But put yourself in the expectant mother’s shoes. Even though she is under no legal obligation, in almost every state, to make an adoption plan with that supportive couple, should the fact that they covered her living expenses influence her decision to place her child for adoption—and further, to place her child in that couple’s care? What seems generous and right to one party may feel like an obligation to the other.

Our first goal in working with each expectant mother is to give her support and counsel so she can make an informed decision about the outcome of her pregnancy. The decision is hers; our role is to ensure that she knows she has options and what those options might mean. Yes, we can help her identify the adoptive family that she wants to consider for her child; but if she decides to parent her child, we will help her weave a support net so she has what she needs to meet her and her child’s needs long-term.

We feel strongly about allowing financial assistance to influence or obligate an expectant mother’s adoption decision. That’s why Bethany established the Life Impact Fund. The fund helps expectant
mothers with their financial needs as they decide what is best for themselves and their babies. It offers these women that cup of cold water (Matthew 10:42) as a witness to what Christ has done for all of us. They don’t have to prove that they are somehow deserving of help or talk about considering adoption. If they have needs, we are there to help. The beauty of the Life Impact Fund is that it sustains pregnancies without influencing outcomes. It empowers our counselors to say “We can help you with that!” to an expectant mother who needs help paying her heating bill, putting gas in her car, or even purchasing a new pair of shoes.

Many of our generous donors and partners give to the Life Impact Fund because they have personally experienced God’s grace, and they want to extend that grace to others. Their gifts enable Bethany to offer care and tangible support to pregnant women facing financial challenges. This fund allows us to come alongside an expectant mother and say, “We want you to have a successful pregnancy. We don’t want you to worry about basic needs, like how to stay warm or get to the doctor. We’re here. We can help.”

If financial help, given graciously, can help a woman like Maggie have a less stressful pregnancy—if it can help her decide to give her child life—I’m grateful that our counselors have the ability to offer that assistance. Thank you, donors, for impacting the lives of mothers and children with your generous giving.

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).