With all the talk about orphaned and vulnerable children and the best way to help, we wanted to answer a frequently asked question: In a place of such great need, why doesn’t GCA have children’s homes? If you’ve supported our work for a long time, you might remember when we used to run longterm children’s homes. So why do we not have them any more?
To answer this effectively, let us tell you a story.
It’s a few months back when our team gets a call from the local health clinic. There is a young mother there with a very sick little baby. They have been at the clinic for close to seven months, but the staff have noticed that she has had no visitors. No father has been present to care for this young mother and her baby. She is clearly angry and frustrated and begins to vocalize her desire to give her baby up to the staff at the clinic.
This is where a miracle happens that we could potentially miss if we’re not paying attention. The clinic called GCA. They didn’t call the police to intervene, nor did they call any number of local children’s homes that might happily accept a new baby. They called us.
And we love getting these calls. We deeply grieve the life circumstances that brought this young woman to such a tough spot, but our team lives to be hope and joy personified in this kind of moment.
So our team shows up and begins asking questions. The young mother opens up to our team. She had been living in Myawaddy, Myanmar (right across the border from Mae Sot) with a man she loved. Over the course of time, he admitted that he had another family in Mae Sot, a wife and several children. He even expressed a desire to have both women as his wives. She begrudgingly agreed to this, not wanting to lose him. She eventually moved to Mae Sot, but when she became pregnant, he became distant. His visits to her home became less and less frequent, so when she went into early labor with her baby, she went to the clinic alone. Unsupported and alone.
So what’s the best answer for this young woman and her infant daughter?
Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who would only see one vulnerable girl in this story: the infant. She’s tiny, emaciated, struggling to survive, so what we ought to do is scoop her up and provide a better life. Right?
Or…are there two vulnerable girls in this story? One is indeed emaciated and struggling to survive. But look a little further. There is another young woman in this story who might be currently alone and unsupported, but actually perfectly designed to transform into the heroine of the story. She’s not disqualified because of her current difficulties.
At GCA, we see both of them.
And here’s where the story gets good. Because the “juicy” hard details are not the highlight. It’s the triumph.
The GCA team stepped in to support both of these beauties in several ways. First, they listened. That might not seem fancy, but remember how alone this young woman was prior to our team’s arrival. Never underestimate the power of just listening to someone facing deep pain. Second, they did not provide her a way out, they provided her a way through. Our team told her of her immense value as a mother. They highlighted some various options for financial support for her and her baby for an initial six month period of time. This allowed her to get on her feet and stabilize her circumstances for her and her daughter. Third, they pointed her to Jesus. They encouraged her to forgive the baby’s father despite him not deserving such kindness. They taught her about bitterness and the incredible power of letting it go.
Today? Our team is still in touch with this young woman and her daughter, who by the way, received their last bit of emergency support from us in December. Why, you might ask? Because she no longer needs it. She’s now earning income on her own. She is joyfully and triumphantly providing for her daughter all on her own.
So why don’t we run children’s homes?
Because we don’t need to.
That baby girl didn’t need a children’s home that day. She needs her mom.
And her mom didn’t need a way out. She needed a friend. She needed some help to get back on her feet.
That’s why we do what we do. That’s why we tirelessly support families. Might it be easier to just raise babies? Perhaps in some ways. But who in their right mind would trade this miracle story simply for easier one?
Not you. Not us.
At Global Child Advocates, standing with vulnerable children means standing with brave mamas. Standing with strong dads. And trust us, there is no place we’d rather be.