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Women who answer God's call provide valuable local ministries (1/11/04)

Pastors predict bleak future if local casinos open (12/28/03)

Soap, figurines, candles keep books company in Christian stores (12/21/03)

In order to form a more perfect union (11/30/03)

Federal Marriage Amendment receives Fellowship’s endorsement (11/23/03)

Drug czar congratulates Teen Challenge (11/16/03)

Christian fiction no long back-shelf item (10/19/03)

DREAM3 benefits churches (10/19/03)

Youth rise to DC03 challenge (10/12/03)

Ministry uses drama, music to touch city for Christ (9/28/03)

Displeased viewers protest raunchy programs (9/21/03)

Grit, determination key to cities blocking cable pornography (8/31/03)

Economic slump doesn't always derail giving (8/24/03)

Ruling threatens family, Christian leaders say (8/17/03)

Anti-aging options require balanced approach to health, beauty (8/10/03)

Convoy of Hope reaches out to inner-city neighborhood (7/27/03)

Fight for the flag moves to nation’s schools (7/20/03)

Drama speaks volumes to alienated veterans (7/13/03)

Church's integrity well received following nightmarish ordeal (6/29/03)

Tornadoes cut wide swath across nation's midsection (6/22/03)

Accountability partners provide human feedback that filters don't (6/15/03)

Checking out your horoscope? God advises you to skip it (6/8/03)

Christian filmmakers pursue wider market success (5/25/03)

Intervention is key to preventing suicide (5/18/03)

Adoption often right decision for young expectant mothers (5/11/03)

Dallas-based ministry keeps inmates out of jail (4/27/03)

Medical analysis of Jesus' death generates interest (4/20/03)

Small-town church reaches community (4/13/03)

Young married couples lulled by false sense of security (3/30/03)

Virtual gambling days may be numbered (3/23/03)

Contemporary Christian music copes with its continuing success (3/16/03)

A/G prayer event set for gathering in nation's capital (3/9/03)

Volunteers give church voice in community (2/23/02)

Federal law protects churches in zoning battles (2/16/03)

Singles find cyberspace dating not always match made in heaven (2/9/03)

Predators often plan strategies long in advance (1/19/03)

The Cross and the Switchblade still makes impact 40 years later (1/12/03)

Frontline Reports

2002 PE Report stories

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Adoption often right decision for young expectant mothers

By John W. Kennedy (5/11/03)

Caron was a straight-A student who never caused trouble. She attended an Assemblies of God church with her parents every week. But at 15, she started hanging out with the wrong crowd and soon became pregnant.

Tara, although 20 and in college, felt she had nowhere to turn when she learned of her pregnancy. She knew being unmarried and pregnant would make it difficult to remain in the small town where she attended college.

Jo, 19, had a 19-year-old boyfriend, William, who wanted to marry and keep their baby. But William didn’t have a job and Jo didn’t think marrying would by itself provide a good start for the baby.

All three young women ended up at Highlands Child Placement Services, a 12-acre campus for expectant mothers in Kansas City, Mo., that has helped facilitate more than 725 adoptions in its 37 years. There, a decade ago, these three bore their babies, made adoption placement plans, continued their education and survived the most difficult phase in their lives. They all now are married and have had another child. Their last names and cities of residence aren’t being revealed because of confidentiality concerns in adoption cases. (All three stay in touch with their adopted child.)

Highlands is a residential maternity home that covers the housing, clothing and food costs of expectant mothers. The dozen staff members under the direction of Administrator Edward M. Crawford ensure that the girls and women receive proper medical care and legal services for adoption.

Caron says Highlands, which is under the auspices of the Assemblies of God Benevolences Department, helped her to make an informed decision on whether to keep her baby or allow an adoption. Because the baby’s father signed away parental rights, Caron realized she would have difficulty raising a baby by herself at age 16.

“Placing my daughter for adoption was the hardest thing I have ever done,” says Caron, who lives in Kentucky. “I prayed and prayed that God would help me make the right choice. Once I made the decision, Highlands supported me 100 percent.”

At Highlands, Caron says she learned a pattern of seeking God’s wisdom in daily decisions and the importance of Bible reading and prayer. In addition, she says Highlands staff members helped solidify her relationship with the Lord and instilled basic life principles that kept her from making the same mistake again. “If you make a really poor decision you feel like you can’t be forgiven,” Caron says. “But my housemother always reminded me that God forgives us and that He can turn a bad situation into something beautiful.”

The expectant mothers at Highlands are involved in the selection of their babies’ adoptive parents. They review adoptive couple portfolios, which include background information about the couple, a letter and a photo album. The amount of contact the adoptive couple has with the birth mother varies — from correspondence handled by the agency as an intermediary, to occasional visits.

Caron has a semi-open relationship with the adoptive parents and she receives pictures of and letters from her firstborn, with Highlands ( acting as the intermediary for all correspondence to keep residency undisclosed. Caron believes God confirmed that she made the right choice because the adoptive parents — without realizing it — gave the baby girl the same first name as Caron’s surname.

After living at Highlands, Caron not only finished high school but also graduated from a state university, obtaining a full scholarship because of her good grades. Caron, who is now a public schoolteacher, and her husband of two years have a 6-month-old daughter of their own.

“Pretty much everything good in my life I can attribute to Highlands in one way or another,” Caron told PE Report. “God really used Highlands as a way to move my life forward.”

Tara dropped out of nursing school when she learned of her pregnancy. A physician and nurse repeatedly urged her to obtain an abortion, telling her a nine-month pregnancy would ruin her life.

Instead, she lived at Highlands for eight months, staying after her delivery to finish dental assistant training classes. She remembers being impacted by Highlands Bible studies.

“During that part of my life I was wrapped up in the pleasures of sin,” says Tara, who lives in Montana. “God picked me up out of a mud puddle, cleaned me off and said, ‘I have something better for you.’ God showed me the importance of studying Scriptures and really living the way He wanted me to live, rather than just branding myself a Christian and not really knowing what that entailed. I grew a lot spiritually.”

She says Highlands staff helped her through the trying times. “They were there for me 24/7, willing and able to serve God by tending to me,” Tara recalls. She saw several young girls change their minds and decide to parent their baby right after giving birth. But Tara didn’t believe raising a child on her own without support from her parents or the baby’s father would be fair to the child. “I prayed every morning, God give me strength and the knowledge that this is Your will,” she says.

“God blessed everybody in my situation,” says Tara, who has volunteered at a Christian pregnancy care center. “Highlands met my need. My daughter needed someone to be good parents. And her mom and dad were unable to have children of their own, so this was the answer to their prayers.” Now, Tara and her husband have a 4-year-old daughter.

Unlike Caron and Tara, Jo ended up marrying William, the father of her baby boy — five years after she had selected an adoptive family through Highlands.

“I wanted to keep the baby, but it would have been a bad decision,” William says now. “He got a much better start in life than if we had tried to raise him.”

William initially balked at relinquishing parental rights, but he relented after two months. Subsequently, he quit attending church and turned away from the Lord.

The couple, knowing the grim divorce statistics for young people who marry because of an unexpected pregnancy, believe they wouldn’t be together today if they had married as teenagers.

“I was just a punk kid without a job or motivation to work,” William recalls. “It was the right decision.”

The couple, married for five years and living in Missouri, now have a 3-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son. Today, William has a good-paying job and the family lives in a beautiful new home.

While the ordeal over the decision to place their first son for adoption split the couple apart, William believes the Lord ultimately restored their relationship and in the process renewed his spiritual commitment.

“God brought us together a long time ago as teenagers,” Jo says. “We were just in too much of a hurry. But God took our bad choice and turned it into something good. He brought a blessing — our son — out of a bad circumstance.”

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