For women who are dealing with a crisis pregnancy, life may seem like a footbridge that has collapsed, dropping them into the swirling currents below; all they can think about are the nine months ahead of them. These brave mothers carry their beloved babies with troubled hearts and weary bodies, mustering all they have to give their children the best lives possible. They enter Ray of Hope, experience the physical pain of giving birth, and then must immediately go through the legal procedures of adoption. These procedures are intended to ensure the child’s future, but to a mother, it still takes superhuman trust to hand over her child. Not uncommonly, these mothers spend the month after childbirth (in traditional Chinese culture, a time when the new mother is nursed back to health) in tears. After these mothers have done everything to ensure the welfare of their child, they may still find themselves in the raging river, struggling to keep from sinking beneath its waters. Some women return to the workplace and, when coworkers discover that they have placed their children for adoption, are criticized for their cruelty. Sometimes the criticism drives these mothers to resign their jobs and look for another livelihood. Some women have lost their families because of the crisis pregnancy and are starting life over again.
A crisis pregnancy is the beginning of two lives—that of the baby and that of the mother. When the baby is settled in a new living situation, the mother may finally summon the courage to look at herself—only to discover that she is seriously wounded.
Bedwell Home is like a stone house in the mountain villages of Taiwan: it is a simple living space (six private rooms) that provides shelter for women who are coming out of life’s rushing waters. The house is warmed by grace and stocked with tools that will enable these women to survive (nearby employment at Ray of Hope’s secondhand store and social support in local churches) while they go about the work of constructing a boat (receiving counseling, inner healing, training in job skills, and discipleship)that will take them to their next destination.
The most prominent feature of Bedwell Home is women caring for and supporting one another as they learn the art of living together; each one brings her own life experiences and special personality to the home. Making sure that this place of refuge has a home-like atmosphere is a group effort. Ray of Hope’s executive director, Juanita Hebard, recently asked the first mother to move into the home how it could be improved, and Ray of Hope staff members have also stayed in the home to ensure that residents have everything they need. No one would expect the stone house by the rushing river to be a luxury hotel, but it provides a place of safety for women in need. This is Bedwell Home, a training center that will equip these women to move forward to their next stop in life.