LifeHouse is a Christian residential facility providing care, counseling and support for young women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.
News · 05.19.2010 Meet a Former Resident
Life Comes Full Circle
Seventeen years ago, Jennie Shirley was freshman in college when she was faced with a crisis pregnancy. Her mother was loving and supportive but placed the responsibility directly on Jennie’s shoulders: “What are you going to do about this?” Jennie says today that the decision for adoption was “an obvious one” – she loved her baby and wanted the best for her, and she knew that she did not have the resources to provide for a child.
After much prayer and having talked to various agencies, her mother heard about LifeHouse Houston from a radio program. Jennie visited LifeHouse and felt that God had led her here; when she learned that space was immediately available, she completed the admissions process and joined LifeHouse as a resident.
Jennie does not minimize the concept of “crisis” in regard to her pregnancy. “It was a surreal time,” she says. Yet, she was able to grow emotionally and spiritually, while continuing her college education through independent study. She lovingly recalls Beth and Pat, the houseparents, who modeled the kind of home she wanted one day to be able to provide for a child. LifeHouse was “a saving grace and a shelter”, a place to reevaluate her own self-worth, a time for growth and healing.
At LifeHouse, Jennie met with a representative from an adoption agency, who helped her understand the positive benefits of adoption. She learned that a couple who had already adopted a biracial child was ready to adopt a second. It was reassuring to know that her child would be in a loving family where she would naturally “fit in.”
After the birth of her daughter Amanda, Jennie completed her college education. She has worked in drug rehabilitation and has taught middle school. She has remained involved in LifeHouse, acting as a labor and delivery coach to residents and sharing her own story with young women facing the choices she once faced. She has stayed in touch with Amanda and her family, and has the joy of knowing that she has been loved and given opportunities she would not have had without her adoptive parents.
Jennie has been married almost ten years now and has three additional girls ages 7, 3 and 9 months. In January of this year, within a week, she experienced two important milestones: Amanda, the child to whom she gave life and loving parents, celebrated her 17th birthday; and final papers were signed for the adoption of her own “new” 3 year old daughter!