Imagine what it would be like to wake up knowing today is the last day you will see your child. I wonder how carefully you would choose their clothes or the last words to share with them. I wonder how hollow it would feel to stand on the sidewalk as they are driven away.
Imagine returning home without your children in tow. They were with you when you walked out of the neighborhood, but now you walk alone. Your world is upended. You’ve lost the title “mom” or “dad.” To make matters worse everyone is watching you from their front step or window. Secrets don’t keep long where you live—especially secrets like this.
People know what you’ve done and they don’t restrain themselves from staring. This is a lonely walk back to an empty home.
You can’t believe it got to this point. How could it? You didn’t have children to abandon them. But then he left, and there were no jobs to be found. The life you dreamed of isn’t visible anymore, and you don’t have anywhere to turn. Somehow the best option became giving them away.
Sometimes when I’m speaking to a group a person will ask how our kids end up in the care of the Children’s Shelter of Cebu. I’ll confess that for most of the children a parent is still alive. “How could their parents just abandon them,” they wonder. It’s hard to explain. In our good-Christian mentality, you just don’t ever give up on your kids.
It’s hard to describe the straight jacket that is total poverty and utter hopelessness. It’s hard to explain not being able to protect or provide for your child. I can’t pretend to understand, but I know it’s easier to demonize the mom who couldn’t care for her baby than to put myself in her shoes. She doesn’t deserve to be understood because of what she’s done. Right?
I don’t know. High horses are easy to climb on when you’re propped up in a world of options. Judgment comes easy on this, but judgment has always been easier than understanding, including when a mom concludes her child is better off without her. Judgment isn’t our job at CSC. Our job is to love that child the best we can. It’s the least we can do for those moms whose seperation is not the mark of selfishness, but of sacrifice.