(January 21, 2001)
Teri Brown remembers her moment of decision in Minnesota as if it
"I was 19 and pregnant," she says. "Those who were
close to me did not support my decision to continue the pregnancy.
Out of frustration and hopelessness, I scheduled an abortion.
|New parents celebrate
finalized adoptions coordinated by Crisis Pregnancy Outreach.
She called a friend in Oklahoma. The friend had the courage to counsel
her against taking her babys life and promised he could find
The next day, Brown received a call from Cheryl Bauman, director
of Tulsas Crisis Pregnancy Outreach.
"It was amazing to me," Brown says, "that when I couldnt
get the support I needed in [my community], a stranger in another
state would help me."
Brown moved to Tulsa, gave birth to her baby and made arrangements
for the adoption. She received continual support throughout her pregnancy
and in the months following his birth.
Crisis Pregnancy Outreach is saving lives, both the physical lives
of unborn children conceived out of wedlock and the spiritual lives
of young mothers. Originally started by Christian Chapel (Assemblies
of God) in 1982, Crisis Pregnancy Outreach is incorporated but still
relies heavily on the church for financial support and volunteers.
Families from the congregation have housed numerous young women, confronting
them with the love of Christ in tangible ways. Services offered include
gifts of maternity clothes, professional counseling, transportation
to doctors appointments, childbirth classes, labor and childbirth
coaches, and a Christian attorney to assist with adoption if they
choose that avenue. According to Bauman and Greg Davis, pastor of
Christian Chapel, many lives are being transformed because of the
"One family in our church not only adopted a child, but took
the mother into their home as well," Davis says. "Her life
was still troubled when she left, but she trusted them so much that
she turned over to them the parental rights for another child she
had. They are now processing that adoption. We have also had one young
woman go through the program who is now pursuing a graduate degree.
She hopes to open a crisis pregnancy center herself."
Bauman has been involved in pro-life work since the early 1970s and
is the founder of CPO. She has uncovered a disturbing trend over the
years: Christian families encouraging their daughters to get abortions
because they are concerned with reactions from people in their church.
Bauman, her staff and the families of Christian Chapel work hard
to ensure that girls in their care have their self-esteem restored
even as they confront the reality of poor choices. Girls participate
in 12 weeks of purity classes. "It teaches them how precious
they are to Jesus and that He died for them," Bauman says.
About 300 women are served each year, half of them teen-agers. The
first decision the center encourages is the preservation of the babys
"I dont believe theres a girl weve met who
has gone ahead with an abortion," Bauman says. The center schedules
an ultrasound for arriving mothers. Girls who see pictures of the
baby do not go ahead with an abortion.
The center is a licensed adoption agency, and resources for placing
a child in a good home are readily available. No girl, however, is
coerced into making that decision.
"I was, and still am, so blessed by the Crisis Pregnancy Outreach,"
says Missie. "It meant so much to have people who really do care
to stand beside me, with no pressure on the decisions I had to make.
It was a blessing to have the love and support of the other girls
who have been through this."
Among those "other girls" ready to link arms with Missie
and the young women who continue to go through the program is Teri
Brown. Now married with three children, she sees Gods hand in
her decision 15 years ago. She believes the love of committed Christians
was the avenue through which Gods hand could act.
"You never accept sin," she says, "but a church must
start where the young person is at. We need to help her make right
decisions from that point on. She needs to recognize that sex outside
of marriage is sin and she needs Gods forgiveness. But the life
she is carrying is not sin. God has a plan and a purpose for that
Assemblies of God promotes adoption and offers ministry to unwed
mothers through Highlands Child Placement Services and Maternity
Home. Highlands was established in 1966 and today is located
on a 12-acre campus in Kansas City, Mo. For more information,
visit the Highlands website at http://ag.org/benevolences/highlands/index_highlands.cfm,
send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call 1-816-924-6565. A toll-free pregnancy hotline is available