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Unexpected pregnancy

Bethany House, a loving home for single pregnany young women

















Why Bethany House is Needed
Bethany House was founded because of the desperate need of a home that would minister to, encourage, and prepare young women for motherhood or adoption in a timely manner.

How was the need for this program determined and how will this program respond to the need?

Four years prior to officially opening Bethany House, Beth Rhinehart, the program’s Founder and Director, worked as a counselor for women experiencing crisis pregnancies.  During this time, the major obstacle facing these young women was safe, affordable housing. Many girls had been abused and were asked to leave home by parents or boyfriends, and they simply had nowhere to go. Mrs. Rhinehart did the research, and officially discovered what she was already aware of – a huge group of single, expectant, young mothers without secure housing, living skills, or hope for a better future.

Statistics continue to demonstrate the growing need for programs such as Bethany House. In 1996, one million teen pregnancies were reported.  Described another way, more than 100 US girls became pregnant each hour. Forty percent of these women were under 18, and the other 60 percent were ages 18-19. Bethany House will continue its mission to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of these high-risk women and their children.

A recent study shows that from 1996 through 2000, Oregon had an average of 3,052 teen pregnancies per year for a rate of 16.7 pregnancies for every 1,000 females between the ages of 10 and 17. Over 40 percent of adolescents will become pregnant before reaching the age of 20. By age 18, one in four young women will have a pregnancy.

Some of these young ladies grew up in healthy loving homes, but a majority of them have no concept of a loving, safe home. When they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant, they are often asked to leave the only home they have ever had, the only support they have ever known, and move into a new world full of uncertainties, fear, and despair. There is no “system” in place to guide and direct these women, much less give them the love, nurture and comfort they so desperately need. Many of these ladies are already living on the streets, or are moving from one abusive situation to another, because there is no place to go, and returning “home” is not an option. Others are still at home, but are rejected as soon as the pregnancy is discovered. In almost 95% of all the cases we have seen, there is no potential spouse on the scene. Therefore, the girl is left on her own to face the critical issues concerning the baby, as well as uncertainty about her own future. These are just some of the reasons Bethany House is needed.

One in three teen mothers drops out of high school. Pregnancy and parenting is cited as a major reason for females dropping out of school. With her education cut short, a teenage mother may lack job skills, making it hard for her to find and keep a job. A teenage mother may become financially dependent on her family, or on welfare. Teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty than women who delay childbearing, and nearly 75 percent of all unmarried teen mothers go on welfare within five years of the birth of their first child.

We firmly believe that education is a primary key to success. While at Bethany House, each young woman is required to obtain a high school equivalency, which includes resume writing and job skills training. If they have already received their diploma/GED, we seek financial sponsorships for college classes at our local community college. Graduates, who do not wish to further their educations, are required to seek employment or volunteer in the community. It is imperative that these moms-to-be understand how to be responsible, thus learning how to successfully become the sole supporter of their children.

Approximately 70 percent of all pregnant adolescents do not receive adequate prenatal care. In reality; this is the group that needs the most care. Once the baby is born, most teens are not equipped with good parenting skills, or have social support systems to help them deal with the stress of raising an infant.

We have an effective, two-phase approach to address these issues at Bethany House. First, we immediately help the young woman deal with her issues at hand. This includes proper prenatal care, shelter, seclusion from the abusive elements, and helping her get settled emotionally. Then she will have this time to decide whether to keep her baby or adopt. That alone is a huge decision. Regardless of the decision, we must use the time each woman has in the program to demonstrate a healthy home environment — a safe home where they receive grace, mercy, and unconditional love regardless of their past choices. For most, this is a brand-new experience; in fact, it takes them some time to adjust to this new living environment. Our goal is to enable these young pregnant women to become successful young women, loving capable mothers, and productive members of our community.

Please visit our testimony page to discover more reasons we are needed.