(Share this with anyone who thinks adoption is rescuing a child from poverty)
One day I met a beautiful man who brought me to tears.
He told me he and his wife had been in a foreign country. Outside a church they met a young woman with a new baby. The woman offered to sell the child to them for just $20. They were speechless and did not know how to respond. They were childless, but they had decided long ago that they could live with their lot. They had both come from poor beginnings, although they were now able to live with some modest comforts. They walked away from the offer. But, on returning to their accommodation in this strange land, they decided what they should do.
The couple went by the church every day, but did not find the mother and child there. Then the last day, the day before they were to leave this country, the mother and child were at the church again.
The man said to the mother: ‘I will adopt your child. But there are conditions.’ He did not ask about the father of the child, or the circumstances that brought this mother to be trying to sell her child.
He said: ‘You must not have more children. And you must educate the child. When she qualifies for University, she will come to my country, and we will take care of her. When she finishes University she will be free to decide where she wants to go and where she wants to live.’
‘For this, I will send you money every month, and we would like to keep in touch, and be able to visit you occasionally.’
The mother agreed, and in time she brought herself a modest home with the money she received. Then she bought some farm animals so she could earn a small income from their produce. Later she met a male friend, and she consulted her sponsors.
He said: ‘You are free to live the life you want with this man, but should not have more children, because it would return you to poverty. The mother and her new friend agreed to this.
The man had tears in his eyes as he told me the joy of visiting this wonderful child over the years, and shopping for presents to send to her regularly, and now arranging to foster her while she is in his and his wife’s care at University.
I had tears in my eyes as I understood the humanity of this couple. They took a stranger on trust. The mother could have taken the first payment he sent, and not complied with his wishes for the child. She would have more money than she asked for when she was trying to sell her child. But he trusted that she would want to care for her child in the best way possible if she was given this chance. And he was right. He and his wife had the joy of knowing they had given a mother and child the gift of freedom to live their lives together, without the trauma that would have ensued for them both if they had been separated.
This couple could live near you. They might work in your workplace.
Do you know people who have this kindness and respect for the human condition? Where children are born into their mother’s care, and remain in community with their mother then the child grows in the security of familiarity of the sounds and smells and tastes she began to develop in the womb. She does not begin life with the traumatic wound of separation.
Or are you neighbours the sort of people who would need a piece of paper to transfer ownership of a child before they would spend money on her? Would your neighbours want the child to grow up with a fraudulent birth certificate that stated they gave birth to this child from a foreign land? Would your neighbours only settle for an adoption certificate?
And what about you? Could you give a child the gift of freedom that this man and his wife gave to an unknown woman, with a baby she thought she could not keep, in a land that was not your own?