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Mothers-to-be taught how to care for kids

July 30, 1998

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

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Mothers-to-be taught proper carBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Hidden away down a rocky dirt road off Pa. 416 south of Mercersburg is a vinyl-sided, two-story frame house that is more than a family home.

The interior is made of wood from an old barn in Boonsboro. It is the home of Elena Bain, 32, a single mother, her son, David, 16, and daughter, Dannielle, 13.

Bain and her children built most of the house themselves. It's decorated with an eclectic collection of antiques and old items that Bain found in her family's attics, and at yard sales and auctions.

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The house also serves as Kingdom Choices, a place where pregnant single women who, because of various circumstances, are alone. Here they can find shelter, sustenance, love and even a new beginning for themselves and their babies.

The women are sent to Bain by area churches and advocacy agencies like Pregnancy Ministries Inc., of Franklin County, Pa., or Birthright of Washington County.

Bain limits her residents to pregnant women ages 18 and older who have been abandoned by the fathers of their children, are homeless, substance-abusers or victims of abuse.

"These women either get abortions, which I oppose, or they choose to have their babies rather than put them up for adoption. The women I encounter say they just want someone to love. They don't understand what they will have to go through, that it's about dirty diapers and not having money to buy what you want and having no place to live," Bain said.

"I try to teach them how to be a mother. It's one-on-one. I'm doing what their mothers should be doing," she said.

Bain said she believes she was called by God to set up Kingdom Choices.

Her duty, she said, is to teach her residents to become "Proverbs 31 women. They have to learn to cook and sew, to be submissive, be quiet and obey. In other words, to be ladies," she said.

She also teaches them to become responsible for themselves.

Bain, who grew up in Mercersburg, said she was into drugs in high school, got pregnant at 15 and married at 16. She quit using drugs seven years ago.

"I know what some of these women are going through," she said.

She started Kingdom Choices in March. Women can live there for free for up to one year. They can leave at any time, but if they do, they can never return. They also must follow house rules that forbid them to have cars or boyfriends or use drugs and alcohol.

"They don't even drink soda pop," Bain said.

Only two women live there at a time. Bain drives them to medical appointments and goes with them to the hospital when their labor begins.

"I can't handle more than that. I still need time for my own children," she said.

She hopes to hire a staff person or two, either a retired couple or single person who would live on the premises, so she can take in more pregnant women.

Money and food for the shelter comes from contributions from area churches through the Kingdom Choices Board of Directors, Bain said. She has her own income to support herself and her family.

Bain is planning an open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22. For information and directions, call 1-717-328-4512.

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