Bethany Christian Services

Bethany Christian Services began in 1944 as the fulfillment of a dream shared by two young women, Marguerite Bonnema and Mary DeBoer, who wanted to establish a Christian residence for homeless children. With the assistance of businessman Andrew VanderVeer, they established the Bethany Home . Their humble ministry has grown into an international team of nearly nine hundred dedicated professionals actively ministering to children and families. For more than sixty years, Bethany has set as its goal responding with compassion, integrity, and commitment to the needs of children and families. Today, the children who found shelter in the Bethany Home are grandparents, making the impact of Bethany Christian Services multi-generational.

Headquartered in Grand Rapids , Michigan , Bethany is a not-for-profit, pro-life, Christian adoption and family services agency. Bethany ‘s support comes through reimbursement for services and from gifts received from individuals, churches, corporations, and foundations that share Bethany ‘s commitment to improving the lives of children and families. With over 75 locations nationwide and international ministries in 15 other countries, Bethany touches the lives of more than 30,000 people each year.

The agency adheres to the following principles: Bethany will serve children and families, regardless of their cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds; Bethany will expand the knowledge of its board members, staff, and clients regarding cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity; Bethany will recruit board members and hire staff who affirm the value and equality of individuals from all cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds; Bethany will be culturally and racially diverse and sensitive in all its forms of communication, both internal and external. Bethany employs a Nationwide Network of Experienced Adoption Professionals.

A foundational principle of Bethany Christian Services is that ethnic and cultural diversity is taught and commanded by God and that Christians have a responsibility to reach out to each other across racial, cultural, and ethnic boundaries in order to further His kingdom. On this basis, the organization believes that cultural diversity and cultural competence within their staff and boards are strengths that protect children, empower individuals to grow, and help Bethany achieve excellence.

Bethany is widely known as an adoption agency, but its Christian care program extends to people struggling with unplanned pregnancies, infertility, and a multitude of other challenges. It is estimated that 400,000 human embryos are currently in cryopreservation in the United States . When the genetic parents decide that their family is complete and embryos are still available, they are faced with a dilemma: donating their embryos to research, thawing them and letting them die, or donating them to a couple that is unable to conceive. Many believe that embryo donation and adoption is the most life-honoring solution to this difficult choice. Bethany Christian Services has the resources and the technology available to help couples donate their embryos to a family in need.

For those couples facing unplanned pregnancies, Bethany advocates considering the option of offering infants for adoption by infertile couples. Bethany ‘s c omprehensive, professional birthparent counseling is designed to assure both adoptive families and birthparents that the adoption plan, determined by the birthparents, is the best decision for the child’s future. Birthparents’ rights are fully discussed in advance of the release of parental rights. The intent is that birthparents and adoptive parents experience peace of mind knowing that Bethany ‘s professional staff has facilitated an adoption plan that meets both their desires. Bethany ‘s staff is available after the placement to provide c ontinued s ervices for birthparents. Bethany works with families to address the l egal details and regulations that apply to their adoptions. Bethany ‘s a doptive parent orientation, education, and family assessment are structured to give families confidence in their ability to parent an adopted child.

Bethany Christian Services
5001 West Broad Street, Suite 140
Richmond , VA 23230

Organization website
Bethany Christian Services staff members

Profiled prepared by Shenika Smith
November, 2007