Saturday, September 22, 2007

I Was Born.

I was born in a home for unwed mothers.

Lest you think that I’m angling for either a) an appearance on “The View” or b) an award as a great Dickens parody writer, let me explain.

My parents, not surprisingly for the Greatest Generation in the 1950s, bought their first house in what was then the new northwest suburbs of Oklahoma City. When Mom was pregnant with me, her doctor (a g.p. by the way, not an obstetrician) wanted her to deliver with the best available close-by medical attention. At that time, the best obstetrics facilities in that area were located at the Home of Redeeming Love, a home for unwed mothers which was co-located with Deaconess Hospital, both of which were missions of the Free Methodist Church. I was told that my Dad was the only father at the hospital the night I was born. I’ve heard this story all my life, but I don’t think I fully appreciated it until the past few days.

If you may recall, Doug posted on September 7th on policies to promote adoption. Doug and I have been kicking around ideas along the way, and yesterday I decided to check out if there was anything on the web about the Home for Redeeming Love. There is. Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City has a wonderful tribute to their history. I hope you will take time to read the article, and meditate on and pray about the history of these dedicated men and women (mostly women) who for decades made this their ministry to the lonely and fatherless (what could be more Biblical?). Note a couple of things about the history. The first line really caught my attention:

“Decades before the advent of welfare, Medicaid, food stamps and other government programs, a few dedicated Free Methodist women evangelists responded with Christian concern to the plight of unwed pregnant women and girls who had been betrayed and abandoned by society.”

The women farmed their property to support the home. No one was turned away.

There are undoubtedly institutions similar to this with similar goals. But it is another symptom of the secularization of our society that Christian institutions just like this have become less visible. However, having read many “Christian” hospital webpages recently as background for this blog, I find that Deaconess Hospital is probably the best at maintaining a Christian identity and mission.

I read this and marvel at the faith and dedication of these women. This is what Christianity is all about.

1 comment:

Scott Drury said...

I noticed your post through a Google alert. I work for the Free Methodist Foundation. Our foundation supports the ministries and agencies of the Free Methodist Church including Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services.

In light of your personal story I thought you might be interested in some additional facts.

1) As you and your colleague kick around ideas about adoption, I would encourage you to check out Deaconness Pregnancy and Adoption Services which is the continuing adoption ministry of the Free Methodist church which served your family through its hospital years ago. Diedre McCool is the executive director and I am sending her a link to your blog to possibly facilitate a connection. You can retrieve her e-mail from the link above.

Considering your academic interest in developing policies that would encourage adoption, you might benefit from some dialog with Diedre.

2) In 2005 a for-profit company, Triad Hospitals Inc., purchased an 80% stake in Deaconess Hospital. The proceeds as well as the remaing 20% were placed in Butterfield Memorial Foundation to continue to support Christian health and welfare ministries. Incidentally, Ralph Butterfield would likely have been the hospital administrator when you were born.

In the early part of this year Butterfield sold its remaining 20% to Triad. Here is the press release.

I would encourage you to check out the Butterfield web site. In particular the section on Allied ministries which discusses the continuing adoption services as well as a free health clinic.

3) Having been adopted and also, as an adult, having adopted my youngest son, I would encourage you and your colleague to continue "kicking around ideas" to promote adoption. May God bless your thoughts and provide opportunities for you to publish those thoughts to the widest possible audience.

Scott Drury
Azusa, CA
sdrury at fmfoundation.org
(e-mail form to discourage spam)