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Please take my baby

What could be more heart-breaking than to hear a woman ask you to take her baby so that the baby  might live? There’s something desperately wrong when mothers who love their children are unable to adequately care for them and would rather give them away than watch them die.   Seeing a…
By Seth Barnes
Lisa Smith kidsWhat could be more heart-breaking than to hear a woman ask you to take her baby so that the baby  might live? There’s something desperately wrong when mothers who love their children are unable to adequately care for them and would rather give them away than watch them die.
 
Seeing a situation like this can wreck you.  Lisa Smith had that happen to her last week and shares this story:
 
I am sitting in the dirt in stunned silence trying to figure out how I ended up in this situation. I look into Thabsile’s tear-filled eyes and finally stammer out a response, “I am so sorry. I can’t take your son. I don’t have a job or a home or any way to take care of a child. I’m so sorry, but I just can’t…”  I cannot fathom the despair a mother must feel in order to offer her child to a complete stranger, but these are the desperate cries of many Swazi mothers.   

I fell in love with Siyabo my first day in Nsoko. He is a precious 7-year-old boy who radiates joy as his huge smile lights up his face. Every morning when I arrive at the carepoint, Siyabo comes to find me, smiles, and reaches up and grabs my hand. We aren’t able to communicate much; only enough for me to know his name, age, and that he lives with two sisters and his mom. I spend my days hugging him, pushing him on the swings, or just letting him sit on my lap.
 
On Sunday afternoon after church, Siyabo was sitting on my lap as we played little games and laughed together. Then a woman comes and tells him to go and get some food (pap, beans, & small pieces of goat entrails). As Siyabo jumps off my lap and runs away, this woman looks at me with a huge smile on her face and says, “He is my son.” I could see the resemblance immediately. She has the same joyful smile and bright eyes as Siyabo. You can see her love for and pride in him. I smiled back and told her, “I just love him! Your son is so precious!”
 
This simple confession gave Thabsile, Siyabo’s mom, the courage to share openly. She looks at me with a fierce determination and says, “Please take him. Take him home with you…” I sat in stunned silence unsure of what to say. She continues, “His father is dead. I am sick; I have HIV. I am working, but it’s just not enough. I have nothing to give him. Please, please take him with you.” My heart broke. I asked with bated breath if her children were also sick. She told me that she doesn’t know; they haven’t been tested. She fears that she will die and her children will be left with no one to care for them.
   
What do you say to a mother who wants so desperately to give her son a better life? I know I am not ready to raise a child (even if my heart is scrambling for a way that I could actually make this work). I hate looking into the eyes of a desperate mother and not being able to do anything other than listen as she shares her pain.
 
There must be more that I can do…

 


Lisa has done a lot just in sharing this story. The irony is that so many childless couples in America would love to adopt a child like Siyabo.  God has put the desire to parent in their hearts.  The opportunity to go and be a parent to not just one, but to a large group of children like Siyabo is always there.
 
My suggestion is that more of us need to pray about going to places like Swaziland in order to become a mom or a dad to the Siyabos of the world. My challenge to you is, don’t assume that your destiny lies in suburbia when the world’s need is so great.

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