You make a difference
October 26 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

You make a difference | Friday, Oct. 26, 2001

Friday, Oct. 26, 2001

You make a difference

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor The schoolteacher sat down in a colleague's office and began to cry. The divorced, hard-working mother of three had reached her wit's end. Her 16-year-old daughter, the oldest of her children and the source of relentless stress for some time, had been diagnosed with a variety of emotional and psychological ailments. The young woman took a handful of medications, but she was still difficult to live with, rebellious and disrespectful. And now she had announced that she was pregnant.

That was one brick too many for an already-overloaded mom trying to feed and clothe three children on her modest salary, trying to provide guidance and security and homework help with little or no support.

Nearing despair, she found a friend at school, collapsed into a chair and shared her burdens. What could she do? Some would consider abortion, but not this family. What were the options? Her daughter was neither prepared nor emotionally stable enough to care for a child. How could she add a baby to the heavy load she was already carrying?

Her friend listened carefully and compassionately, then offered to help in the search for resources.

Fortunately, the friend was married to a Baptist director of missions (DOM), who put in a call to Baptist Children's Homes (BCH) of North Carolina. After locating the proper official, he explained the basic situation and asked if BCH could possibly help.

The answer was "Yes."

"You need to know that the family can't pay anything," he said.

"That's not a problem," he was told. As long as the young woman applied through an adoption agency, 100 percent of the expenses would be covered. She would have the option of putting the baby up for adoption but would not be required to do so.

"But she also has some emotional problems and is on medication," the DOM added.

"That's okay," said the BCH official. "We have relationships with a network of doctors and mental health professionals here. She will get appropriate care and supervision."

"Now for the big question," said the DOM. "Do you have any room?"

"Yes," came the answer. "We have several spaces open."

He was referred to the Baptist Maternity Home in Asheville. Since it was established in 1970 the home has offered refuge and security to more than 900 young pregnant women seeking safety and hope during a most challenging time in their lives. Staff members at the home offer prenatal, delivery and postnatal support, strive to increase the self-esteem of each young mother-to-be, help her develop goals, plans and daily living skills, and teach basic parenting skills for those keeping their babies.

Can you imagine the mother's joy and relief when she learned there was hope for her family? There is a place of security and help for her daughter, a place where life is cherished, where Christian values are lived out, where life skills are taught.

That place exists because N.C. Baptists have cared enough through the years to establish and support Baptist Children's Homes.

The annual Thanksgiving Offering for BCH is underway. Last year's offering exceeded $1 million for the first time ever, and this year's goal is $1.1 million.

Reaching the goal will be harder this year, however. The economy isn't so good, and many people who have already promoted or contributed to relief funds following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks may feel they've done their share already.

But the need is no less. Indeed, when the economy is bad and families are under greater stress, children are more likely than ever to need a safe and caring place.

There are many of those children in North Carolina, little ones and big ones, boys and girls, quiet and loud, sweet and not so sweet.

They need our help, and BCH is positioned to provide it - so long as needed funds for staff, supplies and other needs are available.

The traditional "mile of pennies" might seem longer this year, and we'll need some folks to go the extra mile.

Of course, the miles go quicker when we use bigger coins.

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10/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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