With the cutting of a ceremonial ribbon, the transformation of a historic, residential home, brought back to life after nearly being condemned, is complete. Much like the women this new ministry will serve, the house is prepared for a bright, new beginning as The Emmanuel Home.
Approximately 200 people attended the dedication ceremony on Tuesday, April 25, to celebrate the opening of the completely restored home that is the next step in Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina’s (BCH) commitment to providing compassionate support to birth mothers – women who have chosen adoption for their babies through BCH’s Christian Adoption Services (CAS).
“This is a heartbeat ministry,” BCH President/CEO Michael C. Blackwell shared with those in attendance. “Emmanuel Home is giving courageous birth mothers a glorious opportunity to be partners with God in affirming life with all of us. We are in the business of sharing the hope of God in Jesus Christ and restoring the lives of those who accept Him.”
The new ministry for birth mothers came together through two lead gifts. The residential home was given to BCH in 2021 as an estate planning gift by Thomasville resident Charles Franklin Finch. Once it was determined that the home, which sits directly on the outskirts of BCH’s Mills Home campus in Thomasville, was perfectly located for this new effort, CAS supporters Chris and Darci Horne of Charlotte made a lead financial gift. They donated funds from the sale of a piece of property that was willed to them by a friend from their church whose name was Emmanuel.
“I am humbled to be here to see Emmanuel – God with us – at work and that He will be the head of this house,” said Quintell Hill, president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and lead pastor of Multiply Community Church in Monroe.
The Horne’s lead gift, N.C. Baptist volunteer efforts and donations from others made it possible to completely restore the 1914 homestead which had become uninhabitable. Rich Fork Baptist Church, which is located less than four miles away from Emmanuel Home, was one of the many churches that helped.
“Its purpose aligned itself with our mission to reach our community and to help shape the future of these women,” said Rich Fork senior pastor Michael Bowers. “For our work volunteers, who value the sanctity of life, this is a means to also show value to these ladies and what they are walking through. It‘s a tangible way for us to say that life is important.”
The restoration of the residential property mirrors the ministry that will take place inside. Emmanuel Home will serve as many as five birth mothers, supported by a live-in caregiver, providing them a safe place where they can find healing and support in the aftermath of placing their newborn with his or her adoptive family.
“Some of the women we come alongside find themselves without the support and resources they need to live a healthy life,” said Regina Keener, senior director of adoption and international ministries. Keener oversees Christian Adoption Services’ efforts. “By connecting them to the resources they need and helping them establish a supportive community, we will be able to see these ladies transition into safe living situations and equip them for success.”
CAS offers domestic and international adoption services in North and South Carolina. One of the key aspects of its adoption ministry is its outreach to birth mothers. CAS works with Christian couples who desire to adopt as well as the expectant mothers choosing life for their unborn child. CAS domestic adoption coordinators support the mothers by helping them make the adoption plan that connects their babies with the adoptive parents. Emmanuel Home adds another option in the efforts to provide ongoing support and resources to birth mothers post adoption.
“One of our greatest assets through the totality of BCH’s many ministries is the ability to provide a complete continuum of care,” Blackwell said. “Through our adoption services, we offer the best possible support to our adoptive families. We ensure that these babies are provided with the caring homes they need. And we show the greatest measure of compassion to these courageous mothers who have chosen life for their children.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Blake Ragsdale serves as director of communications with the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina. A photo gallery of the Emmanuel Home dedication is available at bchblog.org.