Maternity Homes, and their special services
- Curtain lifts on decades of forced adoptions for unwed mothers in Canada
- Despite Progress, Forced-Adoption Practices Persist Throughout the United States
- Shotgun Adoption
- United Church of Canada to hold mirror to its role in forced adoptions as families push for national inquiry
- 'Our babies were abducted' on the delivery table: North Vancouver woman
- US Adoption Center Set to Help Bulgarian Orphans
Maternity Homes are dorm-like residences (with or without a birthing room) for pregnant women. The residence directors would staff these homes with social workers and nurses, and they would assist the female facing a crisis-pregnancy. Volunteers would also be available to provide transportation when needed. At the maternity home, the mom-to-be would be cared for and educated, and she would be given regular medical care until delivery. In theory, this living arrangement would provide expectant mothers a reduced stress atmosphere, ensuring a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery. It's important to note, during the Closed Era of Adoption these 'homes' were seen as a place where young pregnant women could go in order to escape the stigmas associated with unplanned and unwed pregnancies. The best benefit of all is the cost. Staying in a maternity home during a pregnancy is often free of charge, most of the services provided during that stay are free, and in this day and age, some service-providers even offer a clothing allowance and a little spending money.
Maternity housing is a great option for expectant mothers who wish to make a decision regarding their future as well as the future of their unborn child, without the pressure that can come from friends and family who may not be supportive. http://maternity-home.adoption.com/
In truth, however, because certain family members were so angry or so disappointed in the girl who made a terrible choice/mistake, (having pre-marital sex), many residents felt forced, shamed, and punished for having unprotected sex. These fears and emotions are known as, stressors, and studies prove stress can put a child's development at risk.
While paid Maternity Home directors and select staff-members may still not see their practice to provide as "coercive", it's hard not to question IF the chosen methods used to "teach" mothers was or is in "a child's best interest". Procure infants (for the infertile) from unwed mothers in a moment of personal crisis, or provide education for the mother to be? Coerced adoptions? Or well-informed (educated) choices and decisions, made by confident and supported women? You be the judge.
Rights Were Violated
Many of these mothers were never told about government programs nor were they advised about child support. They did not receive psychological counseling or legal advice. They were not directed to read surrender documents nor asked if they understood them. These mothers never spoke to a lawyer. Instead, they signed legal papers drafted by adoption agency attorneys. Many mothers now question the ethics of this arrangement and raise issues of signing under duress, lack of informed consent, and conflicts of interest.
Marriage was discouraged by maternity homes. Maternity home "inmates" were forbidden communication with the fathers. Most homes censored mail according to "approved lists." Were these restrictions designed to ensure that fathers could not propose a marriage that would allow them to keep their babies?
Many mothers were forbidden to see their newborns. Some were told to sign surrender papers before giving birth. Others were told to sign while heavily drugged or still recuperating. Some were drugged to unconsciousness during the birth while others were given no medications at all. These mothers now raise issues of coercion, pressure tactics, and abuse.
From: Setting the Record Straight, Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh
As domestic foster-care programs developed and the days of large institutional living came to an end in the United States, many organizations affiliated with adoption agencies donned a new-look for the sake of the scared, alone and with-child. The cold austere grim institution turned small, warm and friendly, and in some cases, depending upon budget, the gestation protectors went resort-like for the ladies in confinement. Why, it's a dream come true! (Some might even say it's a modern-day miracle).
One writer describes the new look given to the old Maternity Home routine:
Today's maternity group homes tend to be much smaller, typically housing between six and ten clients at a time. Some just house women for the duration of the pregnancy, others allow mothers to continue living in the home after the baby is born. Homes are more likely to offer heavily structured programs that may include life skills, high school coursework, and Lamaze classes.
Maternity homes got a second look from federal legislators during the welfare reforms of the 1990s. Under the new rules, pregnant teens ceased to be eligible for welfare benefits unless they were living with their families. So-called "second chance" homes were created to provide a stable living environment for pregnant minors who couldn't live with their families.
In 2003 Congress changed the federal Runaway and Homeless Youth Act legislation to make maternity group homes eligible for funding through the Transitional Living Program for homeless youth. Approximately $10 million per year is set aside for maternity group homes. Of the transitional living programs funded in 2004 and 2005, 19 identified themselves as maternity group homes. Maternity homes are also eligible for funding through the Administration for Housing and Urban Development. Some homes receive support from state and local governments.
Private donations and user fees are critical sources of revenue for many homes, especially for the smaller religious maternity homes. Even homes that proudly refuse direct public funding apply for federal benefits for their clients, including food stamps and Medicaid.
Private boarding schools for pregnant teens may charge upwards of $2,500 per month in tuition.
One private maternity home owns a coffee shop where residents work, which it says provides job training for the clients. Another home owns a flower shop where clients work. http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/06/21/sent-away-a-new-look-at-maternity-group-homes-today
In exchange for help, some expecting mothers are told they must agree to an adoption plan and/or receive religious instruction. Some websites are very clear about the Maternity Home's role and mission....
1. Abortion is wrong. Harbor House will do everything possible within the law to prevent abortion. (Ex. 20:13; Job 10:8; Ps. 22:9; 139:13-16; Prov. 24:11; Is. 49:1; Jer. 1:5; Luke 1:41)
2. God wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Him. (Jn. 3:16; 2 Pe. 3:9)
3. Single-parenting does not fit God's perfect plan for the family. God designed the blueprint for the family: A male father and female mother living together and united in marriage, raising their children to love and to fear Him (Gen. 2:23,24; Ps. 127:3-5; Eph. 6:1-3; Deut. 6:6-9).
4. Adoption is preferred and in most cases the best choice for a minor birthmother. Adoption is a biblical choice and mirrors God's relationship with his children (Ex. 2:10; Esth. 2:7; Is. 63:16; Jn. 1:12; Rom. 8:15; 2 Cor. 6:18; Eph. 1:5).
5. Children must honor and obey their parents in the Lord, even if they are about to become parents themselves. Only marriage supercedes obedience to parents.
(5 more rules can be found at Harbor House page, http://www.harborhouse.org/about/principles.htm)
Other websites try to appeal to a more fun, easy-going gal.
We have a large, beautiful home that was designed for girls 18 and over that are experiencing a crisis or unplanned pregnancy.
We have a loving staff committed to helping you during this time in your life. A caring pregnancy counselor will help you understand the choices of adoption and parenting. Our child-birth educator will prepare you for giving birth with her weekly, in-home class. And, there are two women on staff that live in the home. They are here to help you with your day-to-day needs and to assist you with things like: getting medical insurance, arranging for pre-natal care, learning the bus system in this city so you can remain independent, and help you make a plan to improve your life.
The house has 4 spacious bedrooms, each with a set of twin beds. You might have a roommate while you live here but each room has its own bathroom, so no waiting in line! And another great thing about living here is that it does not cost you a cent. We provide everything you might need to get by!
We like to live in a family environment. We all eat dinner together and attend church together. We go on outings, get pizza on occasion, watch movies, lay outside on the lawn and talk into the wee hours and sometimes just sit around and laugh our heads off!
We have all the things a “regular” house would have. You can bring your car, but we have a large green van, sometimes known as the Emerald City, that we use when we travel as a group (the kind of large van that would have caused you embarrassment in Jr. High). And, hey, did we mention we have a kitchen that is NEVER closed?
You do not have to share our Christian faith. We are just looking for respect in the way we live our lives, which is the foundation of our ministry at Bethany’s House. However, the most important thing during this time is that you feel safe and cared for while making these important decisions for your life and the life of your unborn baby! We hope and pray you will call us soon for help! http://www.bethany.org/A55798/bethanyWWW.nsf/0/E6FAE2F5B7D0A7AE85256E3F005177BD
No matter how it's presented, there is enormous money being gifted and granted to private adoption and family-services working to help facilitate an adoption-plan. This funding issue can create a moral and ethical dilemma when one remembers a very simple truth -- there are those working very hard to keep a family tradition/reputation and maintain a religiously-motivated mission... a mission that must first break a family-bond, before it can try to create a new (and not necessarily better) family-bond.
Sometimes assisting unwed mothers is not as altruistic as it may seem. One must remember, the mother who agrees to receive such maternity services is expected to leave empty-handed.