…preventing children from becoming aborted or orphaned…
There are many reasons for a young girl to become pregnant…rape, incest, promiscuity, lack of attention, no boundaries, momentary lapse of judgment, to name a few. The fact of the matter is, in the United States, “roughly 200,000 teenage girls under the age of 18 become pregnant each year.”1 Furthermore, “the impoverished circumstances of teenage mothers are exacerbated by the fact that many have limited academic skills, have dropped out of high school, and come from backgrounds with few role models or opportunities for improving their livelihoods.”2 "For youth within the child welfare system, teen pregnancy is an even greater challenge. Teen girls in foster care are 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant by age 19 compared to their peers not in foster care. Early pregnancy and childbearing can exacerbate the challenges faced by youth in care – particularly for youth who age out of care. (These young mothers) face increased challenges related to educational attainment and employment, often affecting their ability to become self-sufficient."3
Let me share with you the stories of a few of the children born to young mothers. These stories, among others, are the inspiration to open a place for these young mothers to go, where they can develop healthy babies and be under no judgment, where love and acceptance will abound and for these girls to have the opportunity to learn self-discipline, get an education along with respite and spiritual guidance…a place called Jericho.
Jonathon was born to a 14 year old victim of rape. He was not a mistake…God does not make mistakes. God had and has wonderful plans for him. God blessed him with the best adoptive parents and again as an adult with a beautiful family and a very successful career. His biological mother did not have an option to keep him. She had no support and was not allowed to even discuss him with her family. Having a child at such a young age damaged her body to the point that she could not have any more children of her own. Since she had no support, releasing her son was a good decision and Jonathon has had an amazing life, lots of support, and lots of love. If she had had the support she needed, if she had had a Jericho, maybe SHE could have been the one to have given him an amazing life.
Julio was born to a young mother who had three children by the time she was 21. She was in an abusive relationship and surrounded by bad influence. Child welfare removed the three children from her home. She went to court several times to fight for them…she loved them so much; however, she never had enough support to prove to the courts that she would start making the right choices for the children. Her rights were eventually severed, as was the fathers. Two of the children were adopted by a family member; however, the youngest had been neglected to the point of being deemed unadoptable. He was in and out of therapy and foster homes for four years. He was almost seven when he was finally successfully adopted. This home was his tenth home. After much brain therapy and a whole lot of love, he is a happy, thriving teenager now. In his case adoption was the best choice. If his mother had found a Jericho, maybe SHE would have made better choices for her family and would still be able to enjoy watching her boys grow up today.
Baby A would be eleven now. Baby A’s mother was 16 when she became pregnant. There was no support at home to bring her baby into the world…no support…no joy…no hope. Baby A was terminated at nine weeks. Baby A’s mother still aches for her child. The abortion did irreparable damage and now Baby A’s mother is unable to have any more children of her own. If Baby A’s mother had had a place to go, where no judgment would fall, where unconditional love and acceptance resided, where self-discipline was taught and education was encouraged, where childcare and spiritual guidance were offered…if Baby A’s mother had a Jericho…would abortion have been her choice?
Allison is three. Allison’s mother was 17 when she was born. While they did not have the best support, they did have some support, enough support to allow Allison’s young mother to keep her. Allison has a new step dad now who loves her very much and considers her his own. Allison also just became a big sister. Their life has been a roller coaster and very unsettling along the way; however, since Allison’s mother was adamant about keeping her, they continue to persevere through the tough times and are making it work. If Allison’s mother had known about Jericho, a place where love and support are given freely and unconditionally, would SHE have chosen to come stay a while to reap the benefits of Jericho?
Samantha’s Story (aka Sam)
Samantha just turned one. She is loved, she is healthy and she is very happy. Sam’s mother is now 18. It wasn’t much of a surprise when Sam’s mom found out she was pregnant…she was already trying to grow up too fast…in a relationship and wanting her high school education to be behind her. While it has not been easy and her mom had to change her plans two or three times – they are making it. The difference between Sam’s story and the stories above, you ask? Samantha’s young mother had good solid support. Grandpa was there to help and had strict rules on what needed to happen while they were living in his home. Sam’s dad also stuck around and is there to love and support the two of them. The high school made special accommodations for Sam’s mother so she could finish her Senior year early, prior to giving birth. It was hard but she had family and friends that encouraged her and stood by her.
There are 200,000+ of these stories every year in the United States. Some young mothers get the support they need and are able to keep their children. Some young mothers choose to release their child to older more experienced parents where they know their child will have a good life. Some mothers try but do not have the support they need and end up losing their children – left heart broken and desperate. Some never take their precious child to full term, knowing they do not have the support and feeling they are not capable of dealing with the situation at all…they just want it to go away…it never really goes away.
It is our calling to give young mothers the support they need to carry their child to full term and have the option to raise their child if they so desire. We will focus on young mothers who are homeless and/or in foster care as these are the mothers who truly have no support and most often very little hope. We feel led to provide a longer term commitment to the young mothers who choose to raise their child and feel it is essential to equip them with the love and support necessary to develop them into stable loving successful parents.
Our purpose and intent is to provide young mothers with enough love, acceptance, encouragement, self-discipline, education, child care, and spiritual guidance in a family atmosphere to empower them not only to become great young mothers but to equip them to do more than just get by…to equip them to become successful and excellent leaders.
Love – to love young mothers unconditionally showing them how to love and be loved
Acceptance – accepting young mothers just as they are by showing them they have value
Encouragement – encouraging young mothers to do better than just get by
Self-Discipline – teach young mothers the value of self-discipline in their life
Education – give young mothers an opportunity to further their education and value it
Childcare – to provide young mothers with time of respite
Spiritual Guidance – to demonstrate to young mothers that God has their best interests in mind and wants them to succeed, prosper and have a personal relationship with Him
Family – to bring all of the above Core Values together and BE the family they need
It is our hope that you in some way have caught our vision. We are passionate about what God has called us to do. YOU will be blessed when you join with us to bring this vision to fruition! You will also bless so many young mothers and caregivers along the way. As you pray and ponder how you can participate in this exciting and blessed journey - we are praying this prayer for each and every one of you and for each and every young mother that crosses our path:Page Break
For this reason I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
I pray that out of his glorious riches
he may strengthen you with power
through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people,
*** how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, ***
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
Ephesians 3:14-21 (niv)