Cradle of Hope

By Curt Swarm


Peggy Knudsen walks the talk. After having over 100 foster and six adopted children with her husband, Monte, who is pastor of Faith Christian Outreach Church (FCOC) in Mt. Pleasant, she is the ideal person to be Director of Cradle of Hope in Mt. Pleasant.

Twenty years ago, after realizing how many abortions were being performed in the United States, Peggy said to her husband, ?We have to save these babies!? But as she well knew, ?You can?t really save the babies unless you help the mammas.? Being a pastor?s wife, she had a lot of opportunities to speak with women who already had had an abortion and couldn?t live with it. They were so guilt ridden over their decision, and regretted it for the rest of their lives. The primary goal of Cradle of Hope, in the beginning, and still is today, is to help women make wise choices that they and their baby can live with. Cradle of Hope does this one woman, one baby at a time. It has evolved into, not only helping mothers make a life choice for their unborn baby, but helping mothers through the whole pregnancy cycle and beyond. It?s way too easy to say, ?Choose life for your baby,? and then just turn the mothers loose to fend for themselves. Expectant mothers come in saying, ?Oh, my goodness, I?m pregnant. What am I gonna do? My boyfriend has dumped me and I don?t have any money.? The expectant mothers are counseled by professionals such as Peggy. They are told, ?Right now, you don?t have to worry about diapers, you have some time to figure things out.? Cradle of Hope has an extensive curriculum of classes that covers everything from prenatal care, pregnancy, changes in the mother?s body, how to take care of themselves, and what not to do, to, labor, delivery, and new-born care?all the way through seven years of age for the child. Cradle of Hope has a curriculum on life skills, money, finances and a new-fathers? boot camp. In the early days of Cradle of Hope, they never saw the dads. That has all changed with dads wanting to be involved.

Expectant mothers can earn while they learn. Every time they come in to Cradle of Hope for a class, they get ?mommy money? or ?mommy points.? Every time they bring in a signed slip that indicates they?ve been to their doctor, because prenatal care is so important, they get points. A package of diapers at Cradle of Hope is only $2, a new car seat is $20 to $25. A car seat is usually the first thing the mother works for, which is 12 classes or 12 visits. And every time they attend a class, homework is assigned. If they bring the homework back, they get $2. Cradle of Hope even has a class on knowing your baby?s cries, and bathing the baby.

If the expectant mother is abortion minded, they are counseled about adoption. Having adopted six children, Peggy wishes that the stigma of adoption could be erased. In the 21st Century, abortion is more widely accepted than adoption, which saddens Peggy.

Eighteen to 21 days after conception a heartbeat in the fetus can be detected. Often times, the mother doesn?t even know she is pregnant at this early date. Over ninety percent of the time, if the expectant mother can see a pulse, she will choose life.

Cradle of Hope has their own ultrasound machine. A young woman came in who was at risk for abortion. She was just seven weeks pregnant. Cradle of Hope performed an ultrasound. Peggy sat by praying that a heart beat could be seen. The doctor showed the fetus on the screen. The young mother could see the gestational sack and the yolk. At that moment, the heart started beating. It was a miracle! The young mother chose life, and Cradle of Hope was there to support her all the way.

Cradle of Hope is located in Mt. Pleasant, Washington, Fairfield, Ft. Madison and Burlington. Their telephone number is 319-986-5336. A 24/7 hotline number is 319-931-5759, and they can be reached on the web at


Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at or find him on Facebook. Curt?s stories are also read at 107.3 FM in Farmington.