Nov 3, 2009

Liberty Godparent Home: changing two lives at a time

by Sarah Blanzy

The names in the following article have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

For most of her pregnancy, Anna Bentley woke up every morning around 6:45 so she could be the first one in the kitchen to eat breakfast without competing with other girls for her favorite cereal.

She was usually the first to take a shower in the enormous bathroom she shared with about 10 others. At precisely 8 a.m. every morning she reported to the dining room where the group of girls would gather for devotions.

This may not sound like a typical morning most women would experience during pregnancy, but Bentley is not at her home in Arizona. She is at the Liberty Godparent Home in Lynchburg.
The late Dr. Jerry Falwell founded the Liberty Godparent Home (LGH) in 1983 when he was challenged to put action behind his pro-life beliefs.

“My heart for each girl who walks through our doors is to not only find a place where they can find help and direction for their lives but that they find the true love that they are so desperately looking for in Christ,” Director of LGH Debbie Musselman said.

The home serves about 30 girls each year, provides classes on prenatal care and counseling on parenting and adoption options and allows the girls the opportunity to take online classes with Liberty Christian Academy or Liberty University or to earn their general education degree.

Every day the girls go through a structured routine. Their days are filled with exercise, classes, meals, chores and free time for naps and fellowship. They go to bed at 10 p.m. every night. On the weekends, the girls get to go out to eat and shop at Wal-Mart and Target. On Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, they go to church.

The ministry that began as a local church ministry 26 years ago now draws in girls from all over the country.

Lindsay Cook, a LGH resident from northern Virginia, found out about the home when her youth group came to Liberty for a Student Life camp and she volunteered there. Bentley’s church secretary in Arizona told her about LGH.

Many girls are drawn to the idea of living in a Christian group home while they are pregnant so they do not have to face judgment from their communities at home. Some want to escape a bad environment and seek a fresh start. Others just want to be taken care of or given the opportunity to learn about their options for parenting or placing their child for adoption. Whatever their reason for choosing LGH, they are making the decision to give their babies life and the godparent home supports them through the reality of that decision.

Bentley and Cook are both thankful for their experience at LGH.

“[The home] gave me a respite to be able to break ties with those who were harming my walk with God,” Cook said.

She is thankful for the ways God worked in her life during and after her pregnancy.

“God used my pregnancy to help me stop abusing substances. I don’t know that I would have stopped for myself, but I did stop for my son. It also put my life in a new direction. I had to rely on Him as I never had before,” Cook said.

Girls come to the home for different reasons, but the biggest benefit they receive is being able to move into a loving Christian environment where their minds can be quieted from the world so that they can reflect on past decisions and how best to move forward, according to Musselman.

Cook placed her baby with a loving family so that her son could have two parents who live together and grow up in a financially stable home. It was an incredibly hard decision to make, but she believes she made the right choice. Her adoption is completely open and her little boy’s adoptive parents keep Cook involved in his life.

Bentley, on the other hand, is parenting her 18-month-old boy.
She had decided to place him with a Christian couple, but just hours before her delivery, her lawyer told her that the birth father would not sign the adoption papers and she would have to parent her baby.

She had no choice in the matter, but believes it was God’s will that she parent.

“I prayed and prayed and was torn because I just did not know what God wanted me to do with this blessing that he had given me. So I gave my little boy all to Him,” Bentley said.

Both Bentley and Cook agree that the home is a life-changing experience, but really only helps girls who want and allow themselves to change.

This ministry has changed many lives since its inception and will hopefully continue “Changing Lives — Two at a Time” for years to come.

Contact Sarah Blanzy at seblanzy@liberty.edu.


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