The assessment is bleak. Thirteen kids. Baby is sick. Eats once a day. Nobody in school. It speaks of desperation and poverty winning. It’s one of those assessments I read and shake my head and pass it back to the social worker thinking – goodness gracious where do we begin?
The family stays far away but I ask if it’s possible to bring the baby to our office so we can see him. They bring him and we huddle around this adorable bundle of a baby boy.
He’s small. He’s coughing. He’s sickly. But man oh man is he cute.
We assess and discuss and weigh and decide where to refer him to for his medical needs.
Then I go back to emails and paperwork and the boring things on my computer and the social worker goes off to arrange lunch and transport. I look over my shoulder and there they are in the corner of our office waiting. A grandmother and a mother united in this fight for life, raising their baby into the air to get those precious giggles, bringing him close so that their noses touch and smiling BIG. He grins. Just as big.
In the midst of this poverty that is overwhelming one thing does not change- they do not stop loving their baby boy.
They walk each day with this paradox of fear and anxiety and love and joy.
And it is this love that compelled them to the gates of an orphanage, asking for help. Asking if they could leave him there where they knew he would be fed and taken care of and grow healthy and strong. But when they went there they were told- there is another option.
And so they walked into our office and a week in a malnutrition ward and food supplements and six weeks of business class and parenting class and bible studies and a grant to start a small business.
You can get help AND keep your baby. You’re a good mom and he needs you. Look at how much he needs you. How his face lights up when you walk in the room. How much he wiggles and tries to get away from us when we hold him because all he wants is you.
If you dropped him off at the orphanage? He would be fed and cared for and get fat and healthy. But who will bring him close- nose to nose- and make him grin big? Who will raise him into the air to get those giggles only mama gets? Who will make him light up just by entering a room?
Because you see mama- he needs you. He needs his mom. And God didn’t make a mistake by giving you him. He needs you more then he needs nice clothes or a fancy school or new toys. You are his world. And I see it in your eyes- he’s yours too.
So here we are, telling you two things. One, we believe in you, we believe you can do this. And two, we are here to fight with you so you can keep your baby.
Will you join us? If we’ve learned one thing, it’s that the cliché it takes a village to raise a child is so true. These mamas needs their village to succeed and we are asking you to be a part of that.
I am trying to raise the support Mama Kintu and Arafat need to go through our program through monthly sponsors. We need $250 in committed monthly support to get this family fully supported. If you are interested in joining Mama Kintu’s village comment with your email or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Because we believe poverty should never be the reason children are raised by an orphanage instead of their parents
[Maddy Pittman photo credit]