Today my heart breaks for a mother I do not know. A mother a world away from me who made the most difficult decision of her life just hours ago. The decision to give her child life....but without her. For that was his only chance to live. I simply can't imagine. I weep for her.
You see, the country where she lives, she doesn't have access to medical care the way we do here in the US. When one of my babies was born with something that had to be medically addressed, it was immediately taken care of. No real thought involved. Even times when treatment took place in the comfort of my home. While I knew there would be co-pays, medical bills and our monthly insurance premiums would continue, I had no fear that my child's care would be rejected because I didn't have the money for it. I simply can't imagine.
Now, I sit watching the face of a blue-mouthed baby on my computer screen knowing that somewhere not far from him, his mother is aching for him. I can imagine her heart was shattering around her as she prepared him. Clothed him, swaddled him tightly, tucking in his necessities of diapers and formula and getting in the taxi with him in her arms for the last time. I can imagine the desperation as she lay him at the gate of the children's home, kissing him a final goodbye and leaped back into the taxi to drive away, broken. Fully broken. My eyes blur as it plays out in my mind. This child will be called abandoned, but I call him loved.
This mother knew this was his only chance to survive whatever ails his tiny body and robs him of the oxygen he needs to live. He had obviously been well cared for, had even recently been in a hospital it appears. This was not what she wanted for her precious son. She wanted to be his mother. To nurture and grow him into the person he was meant to be. To teach him, to cuddle him, to bathe him, feed him, love him every day of his life. I'm certain she will love him every day, think of him over and over, wondering what ever became, but she will not be able to do any of the rest.
He is now in an orphanage where he will hopefully get the medical treatment he needs very soon. Then if he does, he will be cared for amongst others with possible similar stories. Then, if he meets the qualifications and has someone to go to bat for him, he may be available for adoption one day. Hopefully, his medical condition will not cause him to be overlooked and he will find a "forever family" quickly. Hopefully, he will grow up surrounded by their love and support. Hopefully, he will only have limited long-term effects of his medical condition. And hopefully, when he sees the scars on his body caused by his life saving surgeries he will be reminded of his mother that made the ultimate sacrifice for him...in love. Hopefully, his confidence in this will outweigh any other doubts.
I'm one of those that in the past naively believed that all children in orphanages were "abandoned", "unwanted", even "unloved". I am severely convicted by these thoughts now. While I'm not foolish enough to believe that there aren't children who fall into these categories, remember, I've worked with the US foster system...I do now consider the possibility of a parent who felt there was no other choice. A parent forced to make a decision that makes my insides clinch within me. This is true injustice.
It leads me back to my thoughts of Family Based Care. What if instead, this mother had a place to get the medical/financial assistance needed to care for her son? What if instead of providing for him through the orphanage and adoption system, supporters were able to contribute to his care while he remained with his family? What if the heart-wrenching scenario just described never had to play out again? That families who truly loved and wanted to care for their children were given every chance? Then, only those children who desperately needed someone to stand up and fight for them would remain in orphanages awaiting families. Perhaps this would impact the overwhelming numbers of the current orphan crisis? Perhaps this would allow for fewer parents who carry the guilt of their difficult decision the rest of their lives and children who always wonder why? I can't help but think so.
I am aware of one organization that has earned such privileges in China, Love Without Boundaries. They have been able to assist families in getting and funding healing surgeries for their children. This excites me!
And until there are no more orphans, there are also amazing organizations like the Starfish Foster Home who spend their lives daily caring for these children in need. For them I am eternally grateful!
Pray for God's hand at work. Support those making the change. Spread the word to others.