The Lifehouse Maternity Home program is designed to help women discern God’s plan and purpose for their life and the life of their baby. Many of the women who come to Lifehouse for help have been mistreated, neglected and abandoned by many people.
Joan Smith is the Founder and Executive Director of Lifehouse. Her background is in obstetrical and emergency nursing. Lifehouse was incorporated in 2007 and is the only maternity home of its kind in Kentucky and possibly the USA.
Lifehouse is proud of the fact that it exists and functions without any government funding and depends totally on private donations and grants. This independence allows them to tailor the approach based on their objectives, without unnecessary interference or control. If a mother chooses adoption, Lifehouse does not charge for the adoption. The adoptive family pays only for a home study and the court costs associated with the placement. A woman can remain in the program for up to 4 years as she develops the skills and maturity, along with an education, to support herself and her child, if she chooses to parent. Of the 78 births to date through the program, 11 mothers have chosen adoption for their child. All of the babies were born 100% drug free. Many of Lifehouse’s first residents are now college graduates and living successful and independent lives.
Some organizations focus on pregnancy counseling and some help with temporary shelter from an abusive situation, while others offer various forms of financial and educational assistance. You may be surprised to learn that no other organization offers the holistic, residential programs and services found at Lifehouse.
The approach that Lifehouse residents find does not focus on how to obtain free material items; rather, their focus is on teaching young women to become self-sufficient. Lifehouse realizes that to truly impact lives on a long-term basis, multiple areas must be addressed. Beginning with the most basic issues (food and housing), Lifehouse expands into life-skills training that involves personal financial training/planning, educational assistance, job search/placement, and counseling. Their goal is to form the woman as a whole — emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. By focusing on multiple developmental areas, Lifehouse will make a lasting difference in the lives of the women who choose to follow their proven program … a voluntary program.
Lifehouse services, including a place to live, are offered free of charge to all young women. If they are old enough to work, they help them secure employment. Once they are receiving a paycheck, they are asked to contribute 10 percent back to Lifehouse, along with meeting their other financial obligations, including saving for their baby and their future. At Lifehouse, they believe this encourages them to become responsible. For the women too young to be employed, their main focus is on their education. For those who have high school diplomas, employment is mandatory.
Expectations are set for the women at Lifehouse, while at the same time providing an important safety net. Their approach enables them to position Lifehouse as a full-service maternity home. As part of the Christ-centered home environment, their house mothers, who also live 24/7 at Lifehouse, interact with the women daily, ensuring that everyone is on schedule, that personal issues are being addressed, and that the environment is both comfortable and safe. Whether it’s having dinner together or going shopping, their house mothers help to establish lasting bonds that some of the young mothers may have never experienced in their pasts. Lifehouse sees this as an important element of overall development.
For more information, please visit Lifehouse Maternity Home online at https://lifehouselouisville.org .