In 1977, Julie West Sorrelle found herself in a frightening predicament that is faced by many young women in today’s society. At the age of eighteen, she was dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and decided an abortion might be her best option. Days before the event was to take place, and with the support and guidance of her parents, Julie’s future and that of her baby took a radical turn for the better. Julie decided to keep her child. She left South Florida and traveled to Pennsylvania to live in a Christian maternity home run by Jim and Anne Pierson. This change in plans would ultimately reroute the lives of thousands.
God’s seed of hope
During her stay in Pennsylvania, Julie had a great Life experience that turned her life around. After rededicating her life to Christ, she made an adoption plan for her child. Her newborn baby son was eventually adopted by a loving Christian family and Julie returned to South Florida. Shortly after her homecoming, it was clear to Julie and her family that a seed had been planted by God within their hearts to reach out and help other young girls in the community who were struggling with the choice of abortion or adoption. With heavy hearts, the West’s were deeply moved for these young women who felt hopeless and abandoned and had no choice or help, especially if they decided to parent their child. The West’s knew that there was only one way to respond – the same way Jesus would respond to those in need.
His Caring Place
After many years of thoughtful and careful planning, the West’s became involved with their church and decided to house pregnant girls within a pregnancy Life – and so, in 1986, His Caring Place was born. The Christian non-profit maternity program is proud to announce that they will soon be holding their 25th anniversary celebration. The maternity home, set on two acres in Coconut Creek, has housed and helped thousands of women over the years. His Caring Place also has two aftercare homes and a growing community outreach group called MomsLife. It is estimated that over 300 women per year are helped in person, and even more are counseled over the telephone. Katy Mills, Director of Development and Outreach, describes the homes as “a place where girls are provided a safe environment where they can be encouraged, counseled, saved, baptized, trained in parenting or assisted with an adoption plan, and helped in regards to their education and work placement skills. Our mission is to live out the scripture in Isaiah 40:11, which states that God promised to ‘gently lead those who are with young’ and we believe that God can be glorified through any circumstance and that all life is precious to Him.”
Working together towards growth
“There really isn’t direct government funding for His Caring Place – it is completely run and funded by volunteers and donors from churches and the community,” explains Katy. “We currently have 20 local churches partnering with and supporting us.” Even with the help of the community throughout the years, things haven’t been easy for His Caring Place, especially after Hurricane Wilma came through the area several years ago. At the time of the hurricane, the house was already an older home and had become dilapidated. The roof was severely damaged from the hurricane as well as other areas of the home, causing us to have to make the decision to demolish the maternity house and start over.” Katy goes on to share that Christ Church, Calvary Chapel and a local family each donated a home that could be used to house young women while His Caring Place was being rebuilt. “God brought us over 100 local community partners and construction companies, all who have helped donate supplies, labor and volunteer time to rebuild this Life home,” tells Katy. “Everyone rallied behind us. Our new maternity home will be able to house even more young women and we hope to have it complete by this Christmas.”
In addition to looking forward to their new home and celebrating 25 years of service to thousands of the young women and families that they support, a surprising new development brings His Caring Place more reason to celebrate.
Earlier this year, Katy recalls Linda Lukasik, Director of His Caring Place, saying to her, “I have a letter that you have to read.” The letter was from a young man named David. After learning that he had been put up for adoption and having searched the internet for his birthmother’s name, he discovered the website of His Caring Place, where he found her story. “In the letter, David stated that he is Julie’s son who was given up for adoption over 30 years ago,” shares Katy. “He went on to tell us how impressed and pleased he is to see how God is using this Life and his desire to help and become involved and reestablish contact with his biological family. He also sent us a check to put towards ‘Julie’s Room,’ one of the bedrooms in the new home, which will honor his biological mother. The most amazing part of the letter is where David shared with us that he is now a Pastor and professional public speaker, who has spoken out regularly on pro-life issues. The bottom line is that God worked all of this together for His glory, so that lives would be saved. It was all birthed out of this one young woman and her family, who took her crisis pregnancy experience and turned it into an amazing Life, helping other girls that are going through what she had gone through. God has redeemed all of their lives in a might way.”
His Caring Place’s Saving Two at a Time Celebration will take place on September 17th at 6:30 p.m. at Bahia Mar Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale. The evening will consist of an exceptional interactive walkthrough experience of the past, present and future of His Caring Place and a dinner program.
More details can be found at www.HisCaringPlace.org under the News and Events Section. To learn more about volunteer/sponsorship opportunities, donation drop offs, how to become a houseparent or counselor, or if you need information about counseling/housing for a young pregnant woman, please visit the web site or call 954-429-9222.