We pity the orphan. We care for the orphan. We love the orphan. But so many times I wonder about the orphan's parents. Every child we see has a mother and a father somewhere. Where are they? Who are they? Why did they give up their child? So often I automatically want to judge the birth parents. But then the Lord reminds me, that they (surely) are hurting for their child. What woman can carry a child in her womb just to forget them completely once they are born!? I hardly believe that a woman can 100% forget about that child. I'm sure she never forgets the day that child was born.
There are many reason why a child is orphaned. Maybe the parents died. Maybe the parents couldn't care for them. Maybe the mom was abused and never wanted to be pregnant. And some, okay many, cases the child was probably abused and not cared for properly.
While in El Salvador this past time we met a girl. She was so sad. She cried and cried and cried that day we were at Cipi. I don't have a picture of her but when I get one, I'll post it. A few of the girls sat down and talked with her. Finally, they got her to open up. She told us why she was there. Never have I heard a story quite like this one.
She told us that her mom worked a lot. And while she worked this girl would go out and hang out with gang members. Her mom begged her over and over to please stop hanging around them. The mom knew the danger her daughter was in while hanging with these gangs. But the mom could not protect her constantly because she had to work and provide. The mom started telling her that if she didn't stop hanging around the gangs then she would send her to the orphanage to live. The girl, like most young children, did not take her mother seriously. She kept hanging with these people. Time after time the mom told her daughter the same thing. And time after time the daughter did not listen. So, the mom, not knowing what else to do to keep her daughter safe, decided to send her to the orphanage. The grandmother stepped in and told them that she would take her to keep her from the orphanage. This still did not wake the girl up. She still hung around with the gang members. She did this until the grandmother could no longer handle it. So, they stood their ground and sent her to this orphanage.
Now, imagine this. Put yourself in both sets of shoes. The girl and the mom. The girl repeatedly said that she wishes she would have listened to her mom. Because now, she's stuck in this orphanage with no privacy, without her mom and her grandmother, and with tons of other children. Now put yourself in the mom's shoes. Imagine putting your child in an orphanage only because you HAD to work and your child was not safe. She was doing what she had to do to provide for them but in doing that she could not keep her own child safe. She tried everything she knew to try. I can only imagine what she's feeling. I'm sure she feels like a failure in keeping her child safe. Sure she is hurting not having her child at home where she belongs. I just can't imagine the fear that she had each day as she went to work... not knowing if her daughter was going to be safely back at home when she got there.
I'm not sure if the mom can just come back and get the girl or if the court will have to give her release. I'm sure it won't be as easy to get her out. But I pray for them. I pray that they can make their way back to each other and that the sweet girl will stay away from the gangs.
There are just SO many different types of orphans. You just never know the whole picture. For every orphan there are 2 parents somewhere. And at least ONE of those parents (the mother) knows about the child that was born. She knows and surely she remembers. I think it is important to pray for the parents of these children as well as the children. Some of the parents will be abusers, some will be gone, some will be wondering where their child is, and some will always hurt for the child they had to give up for the child's benefit.