Recently my mind has been going back to the story in 1 Kings 3 over and over. If you’re unfamiliar, the reference is 1 Kings 3:16-28. This is the story of the two prostitutes who lived together and each had a child around the same time. One of the children died, and then they fought over whose child was still alive. This is the part that gets me. They came before the king and disputed their case. The king ordered that the living child be cut in two and each woman would receive half. Then in verse 26 it says “The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”.
That right there breaks my heart. And it breaks my heart because I can’t even imagine how many women here in Tanzania find themselves in similar situations. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean they are prostitutes fighting over a child. What I mean here is there is so much poverty and hopelessness. There are so many women who give birth to a child and then look at the child and say “I can’t do this… I know if I keep you, you will die…” And with that they abandon their babies. I’m not saying that every woman who abandons her child does it out of selflessness. I’m sure there are some women who find these babies as a horrible inconvenience they need to get rid of at any cost.
But what about the young girl, who ended up pregnant. Maybe she was forced. Maybe she did so willingly. Maybe she had to run away from home. Maybe she never had a home to begin with. She’s starving and malnourished herself. She knows she won’t be able to produce milk for her baby. She knows she has no where safe to rest her head. She knows if she can leave her child somewhere they will be found easily, they will be taken in and cared for and fed. They will have a chance. She recognizes she can’t provide any of the opportunities this child deserves. She can’t even feed them… So she says “I will give up my baby”… Not because she doesn’t love them. Not because she doesn’t want to be their mom. But because she knows she can’t.
And my heart breaks. How many women are in this place? I think of our children at Neema. Matilda, whose mother wrapped her up at the hospital to go home and then left her in an empty room. Dorothy, whose mother abandon her in a pile of gravel at a construction site. Dawson who was found along the side of the road. Tumaini who was left by a fence on the way out of town… And these are just a few… Just a few of the many children who we don’t know why their mothers walked away.
Would they have still walked away if they knew there was someone who would help them? Would they have chosen to abandon their baby if they knew their child could stay with them and be fed, sheltered and educated and receive medical treatment if needed? Would they have abandon their baby if they knew they had another option? Would they have walked away if someone had come forwarded and said “We’re in this together.”
Honestly I don’t know. Some maybe would walk away no matter what. But I’m sure there are many who would want to fight for their child’s survival, if they knew they were not alone in this. I don’t know where I am going with all of this, and I don’t know what I am suppose to do. But I know, this is not the end of this story. I know He has bigger plans. I know He is the God of hope, and restoration, and promises. Of GOOD promises. God may you continue to open my eyes to the ways I can be your hands and feet in this world.