This is a long post, but we wanted to take this opportunity to give you a snap-shot of our ministry and how our God uses all things – even the abandonment of a baby – to work together for His glory! Every one of our babies’ cases are different; each one unique. But one thing is consistent – God is in the business of restoration and reconciliation and He loves to see His children in loving relationships! When it reaches beyond our baby house walls and into the greater community, His glory is made known and lives are transformed!
Matthew is two years old and has been with us since he was just a few days old. He is one cute little man! When he was younger, just learning to sit and crawl, the aunties called him “Governor,” as he seemed to have a commanding stance and serious face.
As he has grown, his softer side has come out. He is honestly one of the sweetest little guys, always looking to share books or pass toys out to the younger babies.
Recently, we finally traced his mother. She had been making effort to find him, but told he was in a different district. In such a typical situation, out of sheer desperation and fear, certainly affected by emotions of having just given birth – and something that most consider to “not affect African women,” postpartum depression – Matthew’s mother initially abandoned him at birth. With two older children, unable to care for herself and her children, no job, far from family, fear took over and she saw no other way to handle her new situation with a newborn.
This scenario seems so hard for those of us in a Western world mindset to comprehend. It is one more example of how drastically different life is in places like this. Desperation and having “no other options” is a reality on a whole different level, not even considering that any sort of emotional and postpartum healthcare is non-existent.
So, after almost a year of trying to connect, our social worker, Tracy, was able to meet with Mama Matthew. (Mother’s are referred to as Mama So-and-so.) Mama Matthew has come to visit Matthew several times over the past months and we have begun to work together to get a plan for reuniting them. Mama Matthew has since returned to her family home, about six hours drive from Nakuru, and is living there with her two older children. Currently, her living situation is not good. Though she has the support of her father, her step-mother is not welcoming or agreeable to her being there. She currently lives in her family’s outdoor kitchen, a shanty of a building just near her father’s home.
Right now, we are at an exciting juncture with Mama Matthew. This is the time when we get to step in and help create and facilitate a new, healthy environment. It is relationship. It is showing the love of Christ by what we do. It is loving our neighbor, in a broader “neighbor” sense. It is one of the reasons why we are here. We not only want to meet a physical need of ensuring she has a safe, healthy place to raise her children, but we want to encourage and equip her as a mother and follower of Jesus as well. As a professed Christian, Mama Matthew truly desires to do what is right according to the Word of God. We want to come alongside her to help her see God at work around her, recognize Him as her Provider and Sustainer, to begin to live a life of trusting Him to lead and care for her family. In doing so, we are working with Mama Matthew as well as some officials in her own community (the area chief and local children’s department officer) to develop a sustainability plan for her. With her physical needs being met, her heart is less fearful, more confident and excited about her own hope for a future and raising her children well.
Over the next few months, stay tuned to hear about our process with Matthew and his family as the journey to reunification takes shape. God is in the business of restoration – for these babies’ lives as well as the lives of their entire families!