Yesterday, I saw shared headline on someone’s FB feed: Homeless men rescue newborn baby under bridge.
The story broke my heart, like so many of these abandoned baby stories. But, because of the work I’ve done with Trinity Heart, there is one thing I have learned, from all my communications with birth mom’s over the past few years. These cases are often not about callous irresponsibility on the part of the mother but more about desperation, lack of education, about not having a support structure, feeling alone and terrified and not knowing what their options are.
I’ve had birth mom’s contact me from as far as Namibia, desperate for assistance, 18 years old and she’s been living on her own since she was 16! Young women, thrown out by their families. Young girls still in school, terrified and alone. Young women who need a place to stay, who need medical care, who are crying out for help with NO ONE to help them.
One story has stuck with me, a birth mom I was trying to help get into a place of safety, she had no shelter, her family had thrown her out along with her 1 year old child, as this was her second pregnancy and she was still just a child herself. Her story will haunt me after her friend from school took over our communication as I tried to help, she attempted suicide, drank poison and caused immeasurable damage to her unborn baby.
Even I, as an educated women, well versed in all things adoption, didn’t know who to refer her to, how to help her, where to find her a place to stay, a place of safety. So if I, who has easy access to information and the “right” people to help this girl, couldn’t help her, didn’t know where to refer her to, how to find her a place to stay, how is she, a terrified 17 year old supposed to know how to help herself? How should she know where to turn? Her story will haunt me forever.
And she is not alone, there are thousands and thousands of women out there who find themselves in the same situation. Victims of rape, who wind up pregnant, school girls, child headed families, the list of horrors goes on and on.
So I refuse to believe that every woman who abandons does so because she’s callous and doesn’t care a damn about the life of her baby, I believe that in SO many of these cases, their actions are driven by extreme fear and desperation and a sense that they have no where to turn, no one to help them and their situations are utterly hopeless. They feel they have NO alternative.
It’s heart breaking. We have failed our young women. We have failed to educate our youth about their options, I don’t believe our sex education is teaching our children what they need to know, I do believe that preaching abstinence is futile to a teenager, they’re going to do what they’re going to do, lets educate them about their options, about safe sex, about what they can do and who can help them should they find themselves in this position. Lets educate them about adoption and the process, of who to contact and where to go.
Let’s not judge them as callous and cruel but see their actions for what they often are, a desperate plea for help unheard.