By Jim Wright, Founder, President & Volunteer
A Personal Passion
My passion for helping women who face unplanned pregnancies stems from personal experience.
On July 30, 1991, a fourteen-year-old high school freshman gave birth to a boy. The birth mom had a difficult journey. Neither she nor her family had the resources to parent her baby properly, and she approached a pregnancy care center about placing her child for adoption. Scared and confused about the many choices available and the conflicting sources of information she received, her feelings of fear and isolation grew. She struggled to make an adoption plan.
Personal connections brought my late wife and me together with that birth mom, and she selected us to be her baby’s adoptive parents. Our son has been an overwhelming blessing to us.
But the hopelessness the birth mom experienced in making an adoption plan left scars of anger, frustration and helplessness. I realized then that a woman in crisis has two critical needs: resource information and one-on-one support.
A Special Burden
That experience gave me a special burden. Women who face unplanned pregnancies don’t know where to turn for accurate information. They are repeatedly left unaware of the many viable options for choosing life. Confusion and fear add to their dilemma.
Over the next three years, many people affirmed to me the need to support women who face unplanned pregnancies. Our son’s birth mom, for instance, wrote us a letter sharing her joy in helping a close friend choose adoption. My late wife befriended a young pregnant woman who had been abandoned by her family and the birth father, gave the birth mom clothes, took her on outings, provided a listening ear, and even helped arrange legal assistance when the young woman decided to place her baby for adoption.
Then in late 1994, I shared my story with Tom Starnes, a friend in my businessmen’s Bible study. He and his wife were considering adoption. I articulated my specific vision for providing a program of constructive, positive help to pregnant women and offering adoption as an option, when appropriate. Tom responded with great conviction, “You’ve got to do it!” I felt I had just heard a message directly from God. At that point, I surrendered my will, and focused my energies on doing what I knew God had unmistakably called me to do.
A Defining Moment
I consulted with Focus on the Family’s Crisis Pregnancy Center Resource staff (Colorado Springs, CO) in order to understand the resources that are available to women, and visited a major crisis pregnancy phone center in Dallas, TX. Women call the helpline toll-free, 24/7 and talk with a counselor who makes referrals to pregnancy care centers in the woman’s geographic area and shares information about pregnancy symptoms, medical care, abortion, adoption, STDs, housing and counseling. Telephone services like these are invaluable.
But as I watched the phone lines at the center light up, I recalled the experience of my son’s birth mom and the friendship my late wife offered the abandoned pregnant girl. A woman in an unplanned pregnancy needs much more than a long-distance counselor. She also needs focused, individual love and attention — an advocate who will show compassion and connect her to whatever life-affirming resources she needs. The idea of the “Friend” mentoring program was born.
A Church-Based Ministry
Pat Fagan of The Heritage Foundation shared startling statistics with me: abortion rates had increased in the U.S. for 20 years, while barriers to adoption had multiplied. Pat pointed out the merits of recruiting an army of volunteers from America’s 400,000 churches to connect women in need to resources that offer adoption.
Birthmother Ministries was incorporated in 1996. I mobilized those with a passion for life and began by building relationships with local churches to recruit Friends. We put together our first Resource Manual and Friends Trainings. Since then, Birthmothers has continued to work hand-in-hand with local congregations to grow Church Teams that minister to pregnant women in their communities.
How Birthmothers is Different
Over the years, we have trained hundreds of Friends and supported countless pregnant women. Churches recruit volunteers and Friends, who are the heart of Birthmothers’ ministry. We provide information, resources and training. By working together with churches, pregnancy care centers and agencies, we provide information and support that women need to choose life. We complement agency services in two distinct ways:
- One-on-one, long-term relationships. Our relational support for birth moms is targeted, personal, and lasts as long as the woman needs or chooses – often extending beyond pregnancy and delivery.
- Church-based services. Our organizational structure and philosophy are specific and unique in that we minister through the local church, cutting across denominational lines to serve women and families with Christ’s unconditional love.
But more than anything, we strive to offer what my son’s birth mom didn’t have – a Friend who loves at all times.™
Copies of Birthmothers’ articles of incorporation and bylaws are available upon request.