Tears welled in my eyes and my nose filled as I read the story.
Of a father in China whose 6-day old baby was in dire need of heart surgery. But he had no money to pay for the procedure that would save his baby boy’s life.
What’s a parent to do in the midst of such terrible choices? Bring the child home to die, or abandon them in the hopes that someone would take and care for them?
In a world where poverty has too much say in what happens to families, I never viewed orphans through the lens of a parent who wants to care for their child but simply can’t.
The deep the agony must cut when the choice is to either watch your child die because you didn’t have the money to help them, or to leave them—near a hospital, a church, an orphanage, somewhere—hoping someone would care and have the resources needed to give your child a chance at living a full life.
Honestly? I’ve heard about the babies in orphanages, in Russia, Ukraine, China, Guatemala. Elsewhere. The toddlers dealing with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome because their mama drank through her pregnancy.
I’ve heard the stories of children left in the care of others. It happens around the world, as well as in our country.
This is the first time I’ve considered seriously that maybe some children were left because their parents loved them too much to watch them die.
Their parents wanted life for them, even if it meant letting someone else raise their child.
When I consider the abject poverty that forces a father, a mother, to choose abandonment so their baby can live? That breaks my heart.
And, I suspect, it breaks God’s too.
Poverty has a wicked way of destroying families.
Abandonment becomes part of the fabric of that child, and of the family that chose a deeper love for their child. Only God can fully heal that wound.
When I read a story like this, I feel so helpless. Poverty is so much bigger than one person. But, God has ways of uniting hearts to do great things.
I don’t normally do this (as my regular readers will attest), but this story impacted me deeply. I’m sharing the link for a ministry that is trying to help families in positions where they are forced to choose between death for their child or abandoning them with the hope that someone else might give them life.
If this plight moves you, consider checking out A Love Project, where they offer ways you can help. Yes, they accept donations, but they also share other things we can do to come alongside them as they work to help families faced with a terrible choice.
What about you? What is the hardest choice you’ve ever had to make? What are some ways you have found to help families in poverty?