Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mommy's Tears

My heart broke this morning.

As I walked into the front office of Kole's orphanage I saw a father sitting on the couch holding a beautiful baby boy. One look at his almond shaped eyes and adorable stubby fingers and I knew right away that the baby had down syndrome.  He looked to be about a couple months old.  He was cooing and looking at his daddy's face smiling while his daddy stroked his arm. The mother was sitting beside them, tears pouring down her face.

My facilitator said it was a sad moment because they were leaving their baby at the orphanage.

Beside the couch were bags full of baby blankets, toys and diapers.

I wonder if there was a day that that young couple was overjoyed to have a son.  I bet they excitedly got a little room all ready for his arrival placing those fuzzy blankets and colorful toys in his crib. 

When did that joy turn to sadness.  Did they know right away that their long awaited son had down syndrome. Did they look at their son and think that maybe it would be ok. Maybe they could parent a child like this.

Just look at him. Look at his sweet face. Listen to his laugh. How can this be a bad thing?

Maybe he has a heart condition they can in no way afford to have fixed. Maybe a family member is telling them that this kind of child is no good. That children with down syndrome are violent and have no chance of having any kind of future here in Ukraine.

Whatever the reason, one thing I know for sure. That mommy and daddy WANTED and LOVED their baby boy. It was ripping the mothers heart out to place her baby in a strangers arms to now care for in this institutional setting.

What can we do to change this mentality? It wasn't long ago that children with down syndrome were institutionalized in America. And even now we put to death 90% of children that are diagnosed with down syndrome while still in the womb.

I wanted so badly to tell this mom that down syndrome is not the end, it can be the beginning! These children are wonderful and beautiful. They can have a great future.

I pray that precious baby boy will know love. I pray that years will not go by living in the orphanage causing him to bang his head just so he can feel. That he will not form the habit of gouging his eyes or rocking strongly back and forth, back and forth. I pray that he will soon have a family that will help him to grow into all that he is meant to be.

I pray for his birth mother and father, that God will heal their broken hearts. 


11 comments:

Mary September 4, 2012 at 6:19 AM  

I'm sitting here crying with you! Is there any way you can get a hold of this family and actually TELL Them these things? They need to hear it. No one there will tell them. We need to find a way to support families like this so the children are NOT left in orphanages. How frustrating for us, but so so so sad for the child!

Jo Ann Coburn September 4, 2012 at 7:23 AM  

Through your (and Maria's) pictures and blogs you have given me a lot to think about. It seems the Eastern European culture has to change so these children can be accepted. They need an infrastructure to support families--Early Intervention programs, their teachers need to be educated to teach special needs children. Once some of these things are in place, then families can be encourage to keep their child at home. In most situations these children can be kept at home. And, yes you are correct not that long ago we institutionalized children. The culture and way of thinking about special needs individuals can change, it takes time and support. Thanks for all your pictures.

DandG September 4, 2012 at 9:11 AM  

Maybe they can be encouraged to at least visit their son regularly at the orphanage? Being held and loved by mama and papa regularly would make a huge difference in his development. If he does need an operation, perhaps he could get it as a ward of the state, and they could then take him home when he is a bit older. I think that's what happened with Nikita R. (13)

travcat September 4, 2012 at 11:02 AM  

How awful, just heartbreaking!

Anonymous September 4, 2012 at 11:28 AM  

Can you obtain this little boy's information and pass it along to Reece's Rainbow, so he can be listed when he is old enough? I am so grieved for his poor parents, who obviously love him dearly. It would be wonderful if they could receive support and encouragement and bring him home, but in their culture - so many, many misperceptions and such lack of knowledge. The next-best solution would be for this baby to be adopted into another loving family who would update his bio. parents with information about his progress...

Thank you so much for sharing this sad story and for making clear how torn parents who give up their children can be.

Susan in Ky
Cousin to 2 from EE

Maria and Family September 4, 2012 at 12:05 PM  

Oh my word. I am crushed for this little family :(
I wonder if this story repeats every week...

Denise Davis September 4, 2012 at 2:25 PM  

11 Years ago while we started to head into the court room for our son's Patrick adoption outside also waiting was his birth father and mother. As my husband and I stood in front of a judge praying our adoption would be granted our son's birth parents signed away their final rights. I could see tears in their eyes as we walked out the court room doors. It is hard knowing that many families have no choice but to give up their children when they have high medical needs. As we walked out the door Patrick's mother came running to us and gave us a hug. She was crying and I was crying. One day I would never forget..

Katie September 4, 2012 at 6:29 PM  

That made me sob. I can't imagine giving up a child I so desperately wanted... we MUST change it, we MUST find some way to put social supports in place so that more of these people might choose to parent their precious treasures. So that they can. Fifty years ago, before there were advanced heart surgeries for kids with DS, before there were social supports in place in this country, a little boy was born to a man and a woman and diagnosed with down syndrome, the youngest of 8 children. The doctors said he'd never walk, never eat on his own, never live to see his first birthday. They took him home anyways. He was the beloved baby of the family for ten years before his heart condition took him to Heaven. They did what most people in our society didn't do, and they buried their son, and not a day goes by that I don't wonder at their strength... they were my grandparents, and the little boy was my uncle Tony. My heart literally tears in half imagining a situation where whey would have felt forced to give him up. But it's a reality for so many people. How horrible. I can't imagine witnessing that. I wish we could do more for families like this one who clearly want to stay together.

Becki Little September 4, 2012 at 9:32 PM  

Oh so hard! I know so many people look harshly on these parents, leaving their children at the mercy of an orphanage. It is clear that this is not an easy decision for parents. Perhaps as people continue to step forward to claim these children, the tide will change. These children WILL be wanted and cherished. These children will be allowed to live and thrive. Let us pray and live what we believe!!
Thank you for posting this! SO POWERFUL! I pray for this boy and his parents!!

shayneswife September 5, 2012 at 11:59 AM  

Today we went to the DAP office and receieved our referral to visit our girls on Frday. I have no words. I know that I grieve for these mothers and fathers and I can not imaginge how it must feel to know that you don't have the option of caring for your child.

Anonymous November 25, 2012 at 8:08 AM  

I am wondering if this little boy could get posted on Reece's Rainbow? Has anyone heard any more about him? I want to rush in and scoop him up in my arms and take him home!

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