Help line a blessing in many lives

During the past two years, hundreds of unmarried people have received competent, caring assistance regarding pregnancies through a confidential Help Line operated by LDS Social Services.

Help Line toll-free number: 1-800-537-2229.

Whether a couple's decision is to marry, place the child for adoption, or parent the child singly, the LDS Social Service's Help Line is there to assist. Hundreds of young men and young women have been helped through this service. Some of the most rewarding and important help comes when those young people begin the repentance process with their bishop and begin reconciling with parents and others. To see individuals begin the process of straightening out their lives is very rewarding, according to volunteers and others involved with the Help Line operation.

Started in 1991, the toll-free line is staffed around the clock by women volunteers recommended by their priesthood leaders and trained by professional Social Services staff. The sisters are trained to provide information to callers about where and how they can get help from LDS Social Services personnel in their areas to assist them through their emotional, physical and spiritual challenges related to unplanned pregnancies.

Much of the service rendered consists of providing an understanding ear to people in distress, and in giving out information regarding adoption services provided through Social Services. Callers are not asked about their religious affiliation, but the Help Line is available for anyone needing assistance. Callers include unwed parents and their family members as well as Church leaders who are helping people in distress.

Outside of the Church, the Help Line is publicized primarily through posters and pamphlets and in telephone Yellow Pages in the United States and Canada. Within the Church, information is shared with leaders through established channels. Leaders are informed about help available to unwed parents and family members.

Following are several success stories compiled by Social Services personnel and Help Line volunteers throughout the United States and Canada:

A referral of a non-LDS teen from a maternity clinic resulted in the young woman's baby being placed with "loving, eager parents in an eternal home."

Three weeks before the referral, Help Line materials had been distributed and explained to officials at the clinic. The birth mother was five months pregnant at the time. She was put in contact with LDS Social Services, and the agency provided continuous casework services throughout the remainder of the pregnancy and after placement of the baby.

The birth mother felt confident about her decision and moved ahead with her life. She was also assisted by LDS Social Services in finding reliable employment and reported enjoying her work.

LDS adoptive parents were blessed with a child they had longed for, who has been sealed to them for eternity.

A 19-year-old college student in Utah called the Help Line indicating she was pregnant and didn't know what she should do. Her boyfriend was uncertain about marriage and thought that adoption was the best solution. The LDS Social Services counselor helped the young couple arrange a visit with the young woman's bishop.

As the bishop and an LDS Social Services counselor met with the couple, it became clear that the two were committed to each other and wanted to marry and prepare themselves through sincere repentance for the blessings of the temple at an appropriate time in the future.

Following their marriage, the counselor helped the couple work through some adjustments that come with marriage, and the bishop assisted them with the repentance process. Eventually, they were sealed as a family in the temple.

A 23-year-old woman in Maryland called the Help Line. She was pregnant, unmarried and unable to care for the child. She realized it would not be in the best interest of the baby to attempt to raise it herself.

She contacted many agencies. Through LDS Social Services she worked out an adoption plan that blessed her life, that of the baby, and the adoptive family.

A 4-year-old child was abandoned and placed in the care of her grandmother. The grandmother did not feel she was able to properly care for the child and called the Help Line.

The child and grandmother were not Church members, but the grandmother believed the child should be placed with two loving LDS parents.

A Relief Society president gave a card with the Help Line number to a co-worker, which led to a distressed young woman getting needed help.

Another referral resulted in the prevention of a planned abortion and led to placement of the baby with a loving family.

A 26-year-old woman in Michigan called the Help Line one evening to ask about adoption services. The volunteer explained briefly the help available and referred the woman to a local LDS Social Services agency.

The woman contacted the agency the next day, visited with personnel there and was pleased with the services offered. She decided to place her baby for adoption.

An eighth-grade girl became involved in an unfortunate situation that resulted in pregnancy.

Her mother saw a pamphlet about the LDS Social Services Help Line in a doctor's office. She immediately called and was referred to a birth parent worker near her home. This began the counseling process.

The prospective mother went in regularly for counseling. In the fall, she was placed with a caring Church member family in another community. There she attended school and received needed help. When her baby was born, the infant was placed for adoption in a loving home.

The young mother returned home to her own family, where she continued to receive compassionate support and is happily attending high school.

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