Wednesday, April 2, 2014

certian heart cries

There are some agonies and suffering that it is impossible to turn towards.  Perhaps this is one of them.  A parent desperately leaving their child.  The photos here and the small stories accompanying them are almost too hard to look at and too hard to read.  Certainly too hard to read without breaking.   Here:  Chinese parents abandon children at Guangzhou Baby Hatch

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?

What if we committed to bridging the chasm that is ripped open when there are a no social safety nets or emergency family care or access to health care or a place to get formula or to shelter from a storm?  What if after a mother dies in birth, the church has the strength to come around the family and give them the help they need?  What if there is a center or an emergency home that offers a temporary place to rest, to learn, to gather strength and skills to face the storms of life again?  What if there is a community that would gather around a family so that a child is never left alone as a mother or father or auntie weeps in despair.  What if there is a place that helps vulnerable mothers during their pregnancies, birth and child rearing?  What if there is a way to never leave a child in a crib alone. 

What if we believed that we should help families stay together?  What if we believed that extreme poverty should never be a reason that children are separated from their families?  What if all our decisions were radical enough to embrace a family an ocean away and commit to them, to lay down our lives for them?  This is the Bible I read.  The words that inspire me.  The God that inspires me.  One that placed us in families, that gave us those to love us and care for us.  And then placed us in communities, so that in the broken, dark times of life, we know the love of God through the love of our sisters and brothers and we are never ever alone.

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.

Reunite Uganda
Abide Family Center
Heartline Ministries


Laurie said...

Holly, thank you so much for writing this, for telling the stories of these babies and these families who don't have a voice and are all too easy for us to ignore sometimes. We miss you guys.

Amanda said...

YES! I was just given the name of your blog and YES. We have adopted 3 children and waiting on the DGM to open up to bring home our son. The cry of our heart tho is to help KEEP families together. Thank you for the 3 organization names who do this. We will be checking them out.