Baby B was born two weeks ago. On Monday she weighed 3 pounds, 10 ounces. She is, for sure, a premie, but we don’t know how much of her small size is due to prematurity and how much is due to low birthweight.
Whatever the cause, her skin hangs from her emaciated, bony arms and legs. Her face is gaunt, her skin translucent.
And I was told she is looking better than she did a few days ago.
Baby B had a week with her mama before Mama died. Mama was very young and very small. When Mama died, Dad just didn’t know what to do. Dad and Mama aren’t from here, they come from another, close by country. Dad has no family support system, no church, no help for Baby B.
One of Dad and Mama’s neighbors is a Christian. She works for an orphan facility here, and she has many friends who were able to help Dad with Baby B. Right now Dad has gone back to his home country to talk to his family and find help. Baby B is staying with a missionary friend of mine. Sweet baby girl needs constant care. If she was in the hospital my children were born in, she would certainly have weeks and months left before she would be released to go home.
Many times, when a Mama dies in this part of the world, the family will send a young teenage girl, often a cousin, to help mother the baby. In this situation, however, the baby is in need of more. Not only does Baby B need lots of quality, nourishing milk; she also needs a quiet, clean, low stress place to rest. She needs every calorie that she can save to put fat on her bones.
This is where I have to pray that my hands can stay clean and my heart can stay pure. Part of me wants to rush in and save the day. Instead of letting Baby B’s culture and family make the decisions about whats best for her, I want to say that WE (my friends and my culture) know what is best for her.
I find myself stuck in a battle between spirit and flesh. In the spirit, with a heart of love and care and concern, I want to see Dad champion Baby B. I want to see this culture able to provide and take care on it’s own. I want Dad to be empowered to love and care for his child.
I also realize that for MY ministry to succeed. WE have to have people to help.
Do you see the selfishness in those words? They are in all caps in case you missed it.
The sad thing about the story of Baby B is that it is told over and over in this country in different shapes and forms. In many cases, parents and families and birth mothers don’t have anywhere to turn. They love their babies, but they don’t know how they will manage the job of parenting on their own.
God wants families to be whole and healthy. I believe that when they are not whole and healthy, that is where He is asking us to step in and help. There is a difference between helping and taking over. From my perspective, one is centered in the love of Christ. The other is centered in pride and arrogance. I’m not, in any way, saying that adoption is taking over. Sometimes adoption is the best decision for everyone. The truth is, though, sometimes it is not. Many children, here, live in orphanages and foyers (welcome centers) because the parents are in temporary crisis.
And so I wait. I wait on God. I wait on brokenness to be brought to us by Him. But I do not want to wait for brokenness. I do not want to hope for people to be unhealthy or families to be in tragedy. I do not love watching children made orphans. I love orphans, but I don’t love that children are orphaned.
I also do not believe that poverty is the enemy or that because I don’t live in poverty, I have rights over children that their parents do not.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is what I believe. It is not my job to rescue. It is God’s job.
There’s a fine line in my heart. I’m trying to write it in BOLD.