Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy New Year!

Another year has come and gone.

This time of year ushers in a wave of hope for a better year -- this year. Sadly, many people believe that "new beginnings" start only with resolutions in January. As if some kind of magical force exists to bring forth drastic changes during this month alone. Now, I must agree that there is indeed a powerful force that brings amazing change in our lives. That power comes from God alone. His love, grace, and power, are the perfect ingredients for new beginngings and fresh starts.

For the women at Bethany House, the minute they walk through the doors, a fresh start has, well, has started. As they prepare for motherhood they uncover new new ways to live and improve their lives.

The staff and volunteers at Bethany House help them embrace the process of change that seems so daunting in the beginning. After all, the idea of change is bound to cause some discomfort ... even postive change. We tend to get stuck in what's familiar, even when what's familiar isn't what's best for us. Thankfully, in a safe evironment, women are able to learn that change brings joy and confidence. It is a new lease on life for the residents of Bethany House.

Ultimately, after nine months of pregnancy, the women end up with the ultimate new treasure -- a baby. There is simply nothing "newer" than new life. The baby in the above photo was born to Jennifer. She is one happy mama. We think baby's pretty happy, too.

So, you want a new beginning? Great! Any time is a good time to start fresh. There's no need to wait for next year when today is as good a time as any. Go on! Grab your new beginnging.

God bless you!

For more information about Bethany House or to give online, visit:

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Baby Luvs

Have you ever seen such adorable baby girls? Well, if you have children of your own ... of course you have! -- your own. But, seriously, these to baby dolls were born in the last two months at Bethany House. There mothers were able to find a safe home and personalized program that allowed them to deliver healthy babies and embrace motherhood. Their successes give us great reason to rejoice.

The Christmas Season and subsequent New Year celebration, remind us of new beginnings and fresh starts. This time of year, every year, most of us find time to evaluate our lives and set goals for the future. These precious little ones have their whole lives before them. Thankfully, now, they their mothers have the tools to provide safe homes and better tomorrows. There is nothing more significant than life. Life is the ultimate example of God's love. Jesus' birth demonstrated that love in a very tangible way. God's love for us resulted in the birth of His Son, who would later pay with His life for our sins.

Most of us would die for our own children, yet can you imagine that same child/ren dying for you? I can't. The pain God the Father must have endured watching Jesus in such agony. The pain Jesus felt with the weight of our mistakes weighing on His perfect heart. Such love. '

What do we do as Christians? Do we exhibit Christ's love to the world around us? or do we "look" like everyone else? Sadly, many of us are not much different from our unbelieving neighbors. We say we're against abortion. We say we feel bad for those homeless people. We think about visiting someone in prison. But do we really do anything?

Believe me, I don't write this stuff to shame anyone. If you're convicted, that's the God talking to your heart. I know He talks to mine every time I share a message like this one. Why not help a beautiful baby experience the best new beginning possible. Support life. Call Bethany House, or another maternity program in your area and give something. Anything will help. Can you imagine if everyone gave just two dollars a month to a program of their choice what a profound difference that would make.

Let's start our New Year out on the right track. Giving for God's work.

to give online. There are lives depending on this ministry. We can make a difference one life at a time. God bless you and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

When the Flower Finally Opens

So, here we are in the middle of winter with Christmas just around the corner, and I'm posting a colorful flower. There's just no better illustration of new life than a flower in its natural glory. God's creations are simply breathtaking. When a broken, hurting, young woman finds a new life in Christ she, too, shines with God's beauty.

No matter that the wind chill makes it about zero outside and there's stills snow on the ground, for the women at Bethany House, their lives are blossoming into beautiful bouquets. Cold weather can't stop a heart from experiencing renewal.

I'd like to share another story with you from our archives. Yet another weed-filled life turned into glorious bloom of hope.

Christina's Testimony

I was born in Cluj, Romania and raised in a Christian family. When I was 6, my father decided that living in a communist regime wasn't what he wanted for this three children. Less than a year later we ere living in southern California., I was baptized at age 13 and walked with the Lord. We moved from California to Monroe, Washington, and finally to Portland.

In may sophomore year, with no church to lean on, I began to try drugs and drinking. My curiosity led me to marijuana and I began going to nightclubs. By 17, I was addicted to crank which almost destroyed my life. I was completely engulfed in sin. Somehow I quit crank and moved on to alcohol, drinking until I would black out.

Then I got pregnant. I wanted an abortion, but I feared God. The idea of going through a pregnancy and parenthood was so over whelming and confusing. My friends were encouraging me to have an abortion, but I knew it was wrong and didn't like the idea of being a murderer all my life.

I tried to go ahead with it anyway, but I saw the ultrasound picture and knew I couldn't do it. I went to Crisis Pregnancy Center where someone prayed with me, and I felt such peace. I decided to look into adoption for my child because financially and emotionally I knew I couldn't raise a child on my own. Though a facilitator I found a couple to adopt my child.

About that time I decided to look into Bethany House and, after the interview, I know it was where God wanted me to stay. The thing I remember about Bethany House is the living relationship the house parent's Mat and Tina, had and thinking. So this is what God wants marriage to be. The house mother touched my heart. Her patience, kindness and love were abundant, but it was her gentleness that I loved the most. She'll always have a special place in my heart.

I gave birth to a beautiful girl and I will never forget the pain, sadness, and emptiness I felt as I had to say good-bye to my daughter. I started drinking again to numb the pain and fell into a deep depression. Then the Lord got a hold of me and I have never know such fulfillment. His mercy, love, grace and forgiveness is mine. My craving for drugs is gone, I crave Jesus now!!

I look back with sadness at all the time I wasted serving sin instead of God. I marvel at the Lord's awesomeness. Every day I have hope though him and he is mending my heart. I see my daughter once a year and I have a great relationship with her adoptive parents. I am involved with an incredible church and plan on walking with the Lord every day of my life.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Babies

If you're wondering where we've been, the answer is simple -- helping two new moms with their newborn babies. I consider that an acceptable reason for not blogging.

The lovely mom picture above is Mary, and her new daughter, Bethlehem, Beth for short. Perfect holiday names! Right now, I'd like to share a brief summary of Mary's story. I hope you enjoy. I'm sure you'll discover why Bethany House is so important to the community.

Our very own Mary was born and raised in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. Although a poor country, Mary was able to attend school. As a young adult, eager to embrace a better life, she entered a lottery that would allow her to immigrate to the US. Mary “won” one of those coveted spots and arrived here in March. She hadn’t been traveling alone, though. Unbeknownst to her, she was carrying a baby inside.

Her pregnancy was a tremendous shock. Pregnant without a husband, in her country, is absolutely unacceptable. Now, not only is Mary ashamed - She is in a foreign county. She has very limited English skills. Her condition has placed her in a financial dilemma with no way to obtain employment. Uncertain what to do, she confided in one person, who confided in yet another, who knew about Bethany House. This person made the call to inquire about Mary entering the program. During the initial interview it was obvious just how much Mary needed the assistance and acceptance Bethany House offered. She was literally lost with no one to help.

While at Bethany House, Mary has grown immensely and in so many ways. Her language skills have improved. The family like environment and her commitment to taking ESL classes have helped this process. She has gained a greater understanding of American culture, including how to navigate public transportation! She has become a much more confident woman, and all in time for the arrival of her precious daughter, Bethlehem. Yes, Mary and baby Bethlehem.
Beth - for short - was delivered via an emergency C-section on 11/14/08, weighing in at 6 lb 12 ounces. Both mom and baby are thriving. Thank goodness they are here!

Right now, Little Beth is receiving so much love from her own enat (Amharic for mother). Let us celebrate this happy new beginning.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Finding Love ... the real stuff

Love ... something every person on the face of the planet desires. Something we all need whether we believe it or not.

Unfortunately, many young girls grow up without healthy male role models and they end up seeking love and attention from the opposite sex, often times, doing things that compromise their emotional, physical, and spiritual well being. Hungry for approval, teenagers and young women end up compromising themselves all in the name of love.

A "side effect" to this searching for love is often sexual relationships resulting in pregnancy.

Becoming pregnant is often the wake up call that rings loud enough get a girl's attention. Despite cases of women refusing to accept their pregnancies, a majority of pregnant women quickly discover and accept that they are indeed "with child." Then comes the whole "now what?" syndrome.

When a woman comes to Bethany House, at least 95% of the time, she has experienced a lack of healthy love, and, has more often than not, used her sexuality to obtain love and affection. For the most part, the other half of this equation -- the man -- has vanished from her life or is far from enthusiastic about becoming a daddy.

While at Bethany House, women are nurtured, loved, and supported in a way that allows them to regain or find hope for future relationships. They learn to identify the painful patterns that have held them captive, leading to the cycle of one broken heart after another. The staff works to gently guide and direct the residents to make better choices in the relationship department. This is no easy task. But it's possible, and it happens.

We are amazed, years later, when clients return to share the major changes they've experienced in the quality of their relationships. We are honored to attend weddings where former residents have made healthy choices and are marrying men that value and adore both them and their children. Wow! That's exciting.

It's our hope that you will discover that Bethany House accomplishes so much more than providing food, shelter, and supplies for single pregnant women, we provide the tools that help these women to rebuild their lives one step at a time.

Won't you join us?

After all, nothing compares to helping heal a broken heart and provide the neccessities for a young mom and her infant. We know. We've been doing it for two decades, now. We can't do it alone. Visit to learn more and partner with us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Education at Bethany House

Without education, it is difficult to succeed in today's world. With fewer jobs and a very competitive market, "getting ahead" takes at the very least a high school diploma and some specialized training program.

Unfortunately, many teen or young pregnant women have not completed high school, let alone college. Even with more supportive services within high schools, often times, these girls still feel out of place, or judged by their peers. As their bodies change their shame increases, leading them to choices they later regret. They quickly discover as they seek employment that opportunities are not easily available for uneducated individuals. They find themselves stuck in dead end jobs with little room for advancement. We all know that in this era a minimum wage job does not provide enough for a mother and her child. Not to mention, the added financial stress of daycare and health insurance, benefits that these women often lose by working full time in a low-paying job.

Talk about a catch 22! Thankfully, one of the areas that Bethany House puts such great emphasis on is education. This included education about parenting, the birth process, motherhood, life skills, and so much more. It also means helping residents return to school to obtain a GED or diploma and making plans for future education goals.

At times, financial supporters have partnered with Bethany House to pay for advanced learning for residents. These generous providers realize the impact an educated woman will have on the workforce and the community, and, of course, in her own home. Breaking the cycle of poverty is process. It takes community partners, organizations, and individuals that care, working together to help young mothers achieve success. In turn, their successes touch the lives of their children, leading to future change -- for the better.

If you care about young, pregnant women and their futures, you will want to learn more about partnering with Bethany House. There's a great opportunity to do just that in the upcoming month. On November 14, that's a Friday, Bethany House is presenting a "Keep the Dream Alive" Fundraiser. The cost to attend is FREE. Yep. Free. You come and eat, learn, and enjoy an evening of fellowship and fun, while learning about the amazing life saving and life changing work of Bethany House.

To learn more visit: You can make a secure donation online at the website. Help us educate women allowing them to become the women they were created to be. Thank you!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Keep the Dream Alive

Yes, this sweet little bundle of love was born at Bethany House.

She is but one of 340 infants, who, right along with their mothers, received new leases on life because of their Bethany House experiences. For so many of them their nightmare existences have become dreams come true.

We want to keep the dreams alive for every pregnant woman who hopes for healing and hope in our program. Without partners, people who care about what happens to these moms and their future families, we, like several other programs, will have to close our doors.

To raise funds for our program, we are hosting an evening of fun, friendship, and did I mention great desserts? Here's the scoop:

Where: The Gresham Evening Event Center - 257 SE Roberts, Gresham, OR

Date: Friday, November 14, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Cost: Sponsor a table of eight (8) guests for $80.00 or purchase a single seat for $10.00

Contact: 503.667.8409 to reserve your space or email Every child deserves a good beginning. Your support of Bethany helps provide that and so much more.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tough Times

When you look at the above photo, what do you see? An adorable newborn and her tired, but proud mother. Without Bethany House, this baby would not have received proper prenatal care, nor would she have a solid start on life. I'd like to share Tonya's story with you and let you judge just how much change took place in her life.

Baby Blessing for Tonya – A Modern Miracle - as told by Tonya

I was born and raised in Idaho. The first few years of my life were very lonely. My real mom was a meth addict, as was my dad, when he wasn’t in jail or prison. Unfortunately, my loneliness wasn’t replaced with something better. Instead, I was taken by the state and placed in one abusive foster home after another.

Finally, when I was 8, I got the wonderful news I was finally going to be adopted. Was it possible that the nightmare I had been living would soon come to an end? Little did I know, that my so-called dream-come-true was just the beginning of a nightmare that would last 8 long years. The abuse I endured from the adoptive parents made those 18 foster homes look like heaven. One afternoon, I was late returning home and was hit with an object so hard that I only remember the first blow. When I worked I was being rushed to the hospital. After this incident, I was placed back in the foster system where I went to four more homes and a group home.

After I turned 18, my read dad got out of prison, found me and we moved in together. I honestly thought that this was my chance to have a real family. This was not the case; instead we did drugs together, and committed crimes right up until I was arrested. Then my dad was locked up again, this time for murder. Lost and confused, I jumped head first into the drug world.

A lifeline was thrown out to me by a high-school friend, who invited me to move to Portland. The offer came with a job and housing. Since I was 5 months pregnant, homeless, jobless, and hopeless, I agreed and hopped on the first bus I could, but discovered that due to my criminal history, I was not allowed to live in the place I had planned to call home. I was ready to just give up, but this friend had already donated to Bethany House and knew about their ministry. She asked me to give it a try.

Well, that was in November of 2007, and thanks to Bethany House giving me a chance at a different life, I am now the proud mom of a beautiful baby girl named Jozlyn Marie. Jozlyn was born on February 26th 2008. While living here at Bethany House, I’ve learned the importance of living a life that includes God, making wise choices, and I am working on building healthy relationships with trustworthy people. I honestly believe if it weren’t for Bethany House I would be neck deep in the drug world, and my daughter would be in state care. I can’t find the words to properly describe how incredibly grateful I am and will always be to Bethany House and their supporters.

Just recently, Tonya and her beautiful, healthy, girl moved out of Bethany House into their own cozy apartment close by. Tonya has found awesome daycare nearby allowing her to work in retail management at a local kitchen supply store. This is just another "miracle story" from the pages of Bethany House's book of changed lives.

We want to keep our doors open and make sure that every young woman seeking maternity services will have them available. Unfortunately, due to the economy, for the first time in twenty years, this past year as brought this program to the verge of closing.

Bethany House needs financial partners to keep its program alive and families thriving. Is our mission important to you? If so, put your investment where your beliefs are and give. If radical giving does not happen within the next month, we will close. Three other local maternity homes have had to shut their doors in the past year making keeping ours open even more critical. As pregnancy rates again rise, women who choose to have their children need a safe place to embrace motherhood or consider adoption. Won't you help?

You can donate safely online at:

Watch for yet another dramatic story soon.

God bless you!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

About our residents

Bethany House is in the dream-restoring business. Every few entries, we will share a personal story about one of our current or previous residents. A link or links will be provided for you to visit the "main website" where you can enjoy an amazing individual story of dreams (and babies) that are birthed at Bethany House.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Teen Pregnancies on the Rise ... again

The statistics are in. Teen pregnancies are again up. There is a new surge of young, single, expecting women in our country. For years, the USA has remained at the top of the list for teen pregnancies. That is one result that hasn’t changed.

So, what’s happening? There are a number of theories floating around out there. Some point to Hollywood and the popular films like Juno and Knocked Up. Others believe teaching abstinence has failed and that more sex education is required to combat this increasing trend. While another group points back to Hollywood and the growing number of single, famous, stars, many very young, who are choosing motherhood.

Another group believes all the accommodations made for single mothers has made the option more attractive for school-aged teens who now have options like onsite school daycare at their disposal.

Okay, I’m no statistical expert, but I’ve worked with single, pregnant women for some time now, and there is one thing in common. These girls are heart hungry. At Bethany House, we have monitored this situation for close to twenty years. Over 90% of our residents come from some form of past abuse. Many are missing a healthy father’s love and a majority lacked strong guidance and love from their mothers. They also falsely believe that a baby will magically “fix” their problems. Here’s a sampling of statements that we’ve heard over the years:

I didn’t think I could get pregnant.
I thought he’d (the boyfriend) would stay with me.
I thought he’d stop hurting me.
I wanted someone to love and need me. Me!
I was using drugs (or drinking) and didn’t take care of myself. I got pregnant.
I thought he’d marry me.
I wanted to start a family, not like my family, but better.

As you can see, these statements reflect a very self-centered ideal. Somehow, someway, a baby will be the glue that holds things together, the one thing that will truly love and make the woman feel better. Others have somehow believed the age-old teenage lie: it won’t happen to me! While many, caught up in the party life have failed to plan for much of anything, let alone a pregnancy.

Recently, I read about a group of girls at a small high school that purposefully tried to get pregnant. They somehow believed that a baby would be the answer to life’s problems, their problems.

When we see stars like Nicole Richie and Jamie Lynn Spears plastered on magazine covers holding their swaddled little darlings close, well, it looks good. It makes motherhood appear glamorous, even easy. For those of us longtime moms we can attest that glamour is not a big part of the parenting process.

I believe the best way for readers to learn about why’s, what’s, and because’s of teen pregnancy is to hear from the mom’s themselves. Check back soon. We will begin posting stories about the Bethany House girls and what led them to motherhood.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bethany House welcomes new residents

Picture of Tonya and baby Jozlyn.

Today, Bethany House is almost full to it's capacity. We currently have three young ladies --Jennifer and Mary, both of whom are approximately four months pregnant, and Tonya, who is the mother of 4 month old Jozlyn.

Jennifer is one of our newest young ladies. At barely 18 years old, like many teenagers, Jennifer found herself pregnant. The day before Jennifer graduated High School, with the sudden and unexpected news of her pregnancy, she found herself, homeless, as she was no longer allowed to reside in her families' home.

Upon arriving at Bethany House, Jennifer started spending her mornings volunteering at our local branch of Loaves and Fishes, where she has quickly became known and appreciated as being a very hard worker. Jennifer enjoys helping out others at Loaves and Fishes and likes meeting the people who come for lunch, as well as, getting to know those she volunteers with. She also helps to pack and prepare meals to be delivered.

Besides volunteering, Jennifer is actively making every effort to find a paying job. This is not an easy task for a very young and pregnant woman, fresh out of High School, with some learning limitations, who with each Doctor's appointment is finding that she is further along than expected. In the few short weeks that Jennifer has resided at Bethany House, she has gone from being due in January, to expecting a Christmas baby, and, finally, with her ultrasound complete, is now looking at having a Thanksgiving baby.

Knowing that someday, sooner than thought (and definitely sooner than any of us expected) she will be the mother of a baby who will be completely dependent on her for everything, Jennifer has a mixture of emotions. But, she's working to prepare herself, as we are, for the task ahead that comes with great blessings, as well as tons of responsibility.

Another resident, Mary, has only been with us for a very short amount of time. Mary is a very gentle and kind young lady, who arrived to the US from Africa just a few months ago. It is amazing watching her natural charisma and abilities with children. Mary never hesitates to take the opportunity to hold and play with Tonya's little Jozlyn. Tonya is totally relaxed and confident with Mary, allowing Jozlyn to bask in her love and attention.

Mary is a very smart young lady, who had attended almost two years of university (in the area of business administration) before having the opportunity to come to the United States. Much to her surprise, she discovered right after leaving Africa that she was pregnant. Mary is currently working on her english skills, putting to use the skills she learned in school. However, speaking the language is a new challenge. But, Mary is very quick and is she is improving rapidly. She is excited about finding a job so that she can support herself and her child, when he/she is born. She is a fun and extremely interesting addition to Bethany House. As far as we know, Mary is expecting her baby in December. But who knows? Like Jennifer discovered, those ultrasounds can reveal a whole new story.

We'll keep you posted on Jennifer and Mary's progress in the days ahead.

Tonya, our long-term resident, has become an absolutely wonderful mother, not an easy task with Tonya's upbringing and past. See her story:

Tonya is also an absolutely tired mommy and is the perfect example of why Bethany House allows young mothers to stay for an extended period of time after the birth of their baby. As soon as she was able to find a job, Tonya began working. While she was only given approximately 10 hours a week, at the start, God blessed Tonya with a babysitter who would not only watch her little one at no charge, but who would also save her having to take the bus to and from her job. And, as wonderful as that sounds, Tonya is still a single mother who is not only trying to take care of a baby who has dealt with a number of medical issues. Also, Tonya has gone from having one part-time job, to two jobs, as after proving herself on her first job, Tonya was given the opportunity at a full time, supervisory position in a nearby store, (with the recommendation of the manager from her first job, and isn't that an awesome story, in itself?)

There's not another mother who can't relate to the tiredness that a young mom experiences, and while Tonya knows first-hand what a blessing a baby can be, she also knows that they are not a temporary pleasure or a part-time job, nor does she have the luxury or support of a life-partner. Like every mom, she has discovered motherhood is full-time, permanent position. We are thankful that although Tonya is exhausted, she has embraced her new and most important job: Motherhood.

Helping Bethany House help moms like Jennifer, Mary, and Tonya can be a joy and challenge. Programs like ours always need funding. If you feel called to partner with us, you are welcome to donate online at or call: 503.667.8409

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New and Improved Bethany House Journal

Welcome to the new Bethany House Blog!

For those of you who are new to our site, welcome. Bethany House is one of oldest maternity programs in the Pacific Northwest. For over twenty years, we have been serving single, pregnant, girls who have nowhere to turn.

For many women, a pregnancy is an exciting moment. It's like receiving a special delivery in your mailbox. You can't wait for the gift to arrive.

Unfortunately, this incredible blessing is more like a nightmare for an unprepared woman who sees her pregancy as an unexpected detour in life.

Bethany House helps women make the transition from confused girl to mature mom.

We help women embrace the tangible skills needed to raise a child, as well as, help them manage those other not-so-concreate things -- emotions. Many of our residents have been abused, neglected, and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Often times, these young women have been homeless or have lived in poverty. They have been forced to halt their educations. Bethany House gives these young women a safe place away from any abusive relationships, allowing them to make better choices and set goals for their futures.

You may not agree with their past decisions, but the fact remains that single moms make up a huge percentage of our population. These women need our help and support. Their children deserve a future filled with love, protection, and hope. Bethany House helps provide those very things.

We hope you will visit regularly to learn more about our program and the personal stories of our women. You will amazed by the miraculous changes that take place in these women's hearts and ultimately in their lives.

Please take a peek at our previous blog (we will not be posting there any longer) and our website.