A recently opened Texas maternity home offers women the resources and encouragement they need to choose life for their babies, providing for their needs in ways its founder wishes she could have experienced when she traveled the same journey many years ago.
“Women choose abortion because of economics,” said Billie Beasley, founder of Journey Home. “They have a lack of support, they have a lack of income, and they have a lack of education. In my opinion, if we can come behind them and support them in those three things … this is exactly why we formed.”
Journey Home, located near Houston, collaborates with pregnancy centers, other maternity homes, and adoption agencies; women also find the organization online. Sheltering is not the only resource offered.
“We will take in ladies who already have a child,” she said. “We don’t just take ladies, we take families. We can have three in one room – the mom, her child, and newborn.”
Support is crucial, she added.
[Click here to subscribe to Pregnancy Help News!]
“The women I see coming into this maternity home generally do not have support of a family or community,” Beasley said. “They have aged out of foster care, maybe they are from a very small family, and they just don’t have anybody. Generally they don’t have that support, so they didn’t have the housing, baby daddy isn’t in the picture.”
“If we have the housing and the support and the education,” she said, “not only about abortion, but education so they can support the child on their own, it solves a lot of the reasons why women have an abortion in the first place.”
Beasley, who served at a pregnancy center for many years, said her heart was tugged several years ago to start a maternity home. However, she felt God tell her she wasn’t yet ready. In 2019, opportunity knocked, and upon receiving non-profit status in April of that year, a board of directors formed, and fundraising began.
“By December 2019, we had enough funding to operate for six months, which is what my board required of me,” she said.
They rented a home and opened in January 2020. Eleven months later, Journey Home relocated due to the massive freeze that hit Texas in February 2021.
“That home had a lot of damage, a lot of water damage,” she said.
A church allowed use of a building on its campus.
“We stayed there for eleven months while we raised money to buy a home,” Beasley said.
They raised enough funds to put a down payment on a home, which happened in January 2022, and Journey Home moved again the following month.
“We’re really new, and we’ve gone through a lot in the last little bit,” she said.
The home features seven bedrooms, and an apartment above the garage provides housing for the resident manager.
Since opening three years ago, 18 women, 13 babies, and eight children have been served by Journey Home, Beasley said. Some moms-to-be stay a short time, others longer. The home also provided shelter and support for a mom who miscarried, Beasley added.
Helping women to move forward
No matter the woman’s circumstances, the goal of Journey Home is to provide support and encouragement as well as practical programs.
“We want to help them spiritually, mentally, physically, financially, all of the above,” Beasley said, “because we believe when we help the whole person, then they’re going to be more successful.”
That includes tools to help them deal with their past, she said, such as counseling, and a mentor who meets with the women and talks about their hopes and dreams.
A plan is created between the woman and her mentor on how to meet those goals and achieve those dreams. For example, if the woman wants to attend college but didn’t finish high school, a first step would be for the woman to get her GED.
“Our approach is one little bite at a time because they’re so overwhelmed at this point,” Beasley said. “We take it easy and slow with all of them at first because they need a calming period. We write out the steps of their goals and maybe how to accomplish that, and, one-by-one, we’ll just go after that.”
Tweet This: One maternity home's approach with residents is a little bit at a time, writing goals and how to accomplish them one-by-one
Each woman is required to take Bright Course parenting classes. They do that on their own, however, another mentor that comes alongside them and calls them once a week to see how they’re doing, Beasley said. The mentor ensures her client is taking the classes by asking what she learned from each lesson and how she will apply that knowledge.
Journey Home residents also attend mom’s groups at local churches where they meet other single moms, she added.
A similar journey
Beasley’s experience gives her an understand of the women she serves.
“I was this mom,” she said. “I was homeless and pregnant at 17. I was living in an apartment with three other girls. I lost my job (because of the pregnancy) and I could no longer afford to live with these women. My home was abusive. So, I had no place to go.”
A friend worked at the hospital and knew of an elderly woman with a terminal disease who needed a live-in caregiver. Beasley took the job, and with the money she made, she began saving.
“I was determined to buy my child a crib and whatever he needed,” she said. “But I didn’t know where I was going to put the crib because I didn’t have a place.”
Her personal experience generated her desire to create a maternity home.
“I’ve always wanted to have a place where women could come and live and be safe,” she said.
Her experience on the professional side included work at a pregnancy center and in a juvenile detention center.
“I met a lot of young women who didn’t have a place to stay that was safe, who were pregnant,” she said.
Unity in purpose
Unification among pro-life people and organizations and provision for those experiencing unplanned pregnancies are keys to help more women not only choose life but embrace life, Beasley said.
“There are different people on all fronts of this (pro-life movement),” she said. “We need to unite; we need to be a body.”
That includes volunteering at pregnancy centers and praying, and also donating and providing necessary resources, such as housing and opportunities for counseling and mentoring.
“We’ve got to reach out to the young people in our society because it’s the only way to turn that ship around. They are our rudder because they are our future,” Beasley said.
“If we come together and we all do our part, and not just say ‘Choose life,’ if you’re going to ask them to do that, come alongside them in some way,” she said. “Everybody can do something.”
Editor's note: This article has been updated.