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Abandoned Babies, Missing Children! Where have all the Children Gone?

Recently I met a grandmother with a beautiful and healthy baby boy. When she told me that it was her baby, I began to question the validity of her statement because she had passed childbearing age. I looked at her in disbelief but when she saw my puzzled expression she told me the truth about the child.

The mother abandoned this bouncing baby at two weeks old. She felt that the infant was a stumbling block in her future development, and so she decided to leave her newborn baby with the grandmother and departed for home in another island.

The good news is that she did not leave the baby carelessly on the street to die, but the bad news is yet another child was abandon by their birth mother.

Child abandonment occurs when a parent or guardian forsakes or deserts their child without any intention of returning to them. The abandoned child is usually left at a public place such as a hospital, bus stops, train station, or orphanage. Newborn babies are sometimes dumped in garbage or sewage system and left to die of starvation.

One such incident occurred November 2014 when a couple who were bicycling found a newborn baby abandoned in a storm drain. The CNN news reported that the child was only seven days old, and the police believed that he was placed in the drain perhaps the day after he was born. He had spent a few days inside the drain before the cyclists rescued him.

The baby was hospitalized in critical condition, and the mother charged with attempted murder. This incident is not a unique case as statistics showed that millions of children are abandoned worldwide and on a daily basis.

Children are also victims of other forms of abuse such as sexual molestation, hunger, domestic violence, verbal and physical abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. The UNICEF has reported that over 17,000 children die every day mostly from preventable or treatable causes.

UNICEF Logo. Image courtesy of

UNICEF Logo. Image courtesy of

The UNICEF is a global organization whose objective is to give every child equal rights regardless of color or social background. They work with other nonprofit organizations worldwide to ensure that no child is exposed to abuse, exploitation or victimization and that everyone is held accountable for the protection of each child.

The government of some countries such as the USA have established “safe havens” for children of parents who felt that they are unable to support or care for their babies. They can leave their babies up to 60 days old at various facilities throughout the country without fear of being interrogated by the law.

In spite of these organizations’ hard work children continue to be abused on a daily basis.

What could possess a mother to abandon her child?

Throughout every generation, children have been left by their parents for various reasons. Research showed that the majority of newborn babies are abandoned due to postpartum depression of the mother.

The mothers of these neglected children are themselves abandoned by the baby’s father and this along with the culmination of hormones during pregnancy leads to anxiety and depression.  Their feelings of hopelessness and despair force them to discard their infants.

West African children need help. Image courtesy of UNICEF

West African children need help. Image courtesy of UNICEF

Older children are left by themselves because of poverty, drug addiction, and terminal illnesses. The CNN News reported that thousands of children whose parents have contracted the Ebola virus were abandoned in West Africa. Relatives of these children are fearful that they will contract the disease from the children so are refusing to care for them. The fear of Ebola is stronger than family ties.

As a mother of two children, I cannot imagine what would possess me to run away from my children. In spite of whatever financial or social situation that I am experiencing, I know that I could not turn my back on them. I believe that as long as I have health and strength there is hope for a better life.

However, not all mothers are strong emotionally, and even many more do not have a firm spiritual background as myself, so they have no hope. The common idiom states that:

 ‘Where there is a will there is a way;

And the bible also states that;

‘This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil (Hebrews 6:19).  The hope is Jesus Christ who is a security and comfort to strengthen us daily.

God seems so far away but is He closer to us than a mother and child?

The Lord compared a mother’s bond to her child with His bond to us. During the captivity of the Israelites, they thought that God had forsaken them. The Lord asked them this question:-

Can a woman forsake her nursing child and not have compassion upon him? (Isaiah 49:15)

A nursing child is one who is being breastfed. These babies are believed to bond even more closely to their mothers than those who are bottle-fed. Therefore, the obvious answer to this question should be no; a mother would not abandon her precious baby for any reason.

Many parents are alarmed at the very thought of doing such an evil act. But as we see, in the various reports, many mothers do forsake their children and some even murdered them within the womb or after giving birth.

Therefore, the distressing answer to this question, as God rightly said, is yes! Surely mothers may forget their nursing infant, but He would never forget us.

In spite of all our misdemeanor and all our sins, even those of the parents who abandoned their children, the Lord will never leave us, but He will always show us mercy.

Why would God have compassion on people who do not even have compassion or mercy on each other?

The answer to this question lies in Isaiah 49:16 which states that God has inscribed us on the palm of His hands, and our walls are continual before Him.

This statement very powerful and proves God’s unconditional love for us. God made us in His image and likeness, and He counts every hair on our head and He knows our thoughts even before we think of them.

God even knows our shortcomings and our stumbling blocks (walls); He knows that we are only dust who are here today and gone tomorrow so He knows we need His mercy so that we would not be consumed.

I wish we would recognize our frailties so that we would also have mercy on each other.

The trumpet of jubilee that has sounded for this year 2015 is also a call for us to show mercy and compassion to each other. Let us start with the children because they are the leaders and professionals of tomorrow.

Let us help the children who are in need and become an advocate for those who are abused and abandoned.

Let us end child’s cruelty this year.

Children are precious!

Additional references: West African children

Featured Image courtesy of

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