Two times have I witnessed family leaving their children, the moment of departure. Once, I was working in my job with children many years ago. A mother whispered to me she was planning on walking out because she couldn't take care of them anymore. Walking out without her 4 and 6 year old daughters. As she broke down she sobbed that she wanted to say goodbye. And she asked me to call social service so they weren't left alone before she left.
Another time I was in the mountains of eastern DRC. It was one of the first visits of many to the orphanage (which we now support). There was a family, a father and aunties. Women sobbing as they held the newborn after recently saying goodbye to their sister, the mother of the baby. A father bent and hidden in pain. A desperate act to save a small life. Their only hope. They put the baby in a blue crib. Alone. And walked away.
What if it could be different?
What if instead of abandonment or relinquishment or adoption or foster care, there was a different kind of hope? What if instead of rows of cribs in an orphanage, or social services arriving in a hospital and driving girls away in a taxi, or foster care for years, there was a different choice? What if instead of giving away, of handing over, of letting go, there was holding and clutching and life giving care in the moment of crisis, of dire poverty, of hopelessness. What if there was love and life and hope?
Here are three examples of programs that do just this: help families stay together. Please check out their inspiring work. There are many many more around the world.
Abide Family Center