When Abandoning a Child Seems Like the Only Solution

Most of us at the children’s center are used to a routine, albeit one that changes every day as things are prone to with so many kids around. Every now and then, however, things get really shaken up. Last Friday, when we were closing up for the weekend, we received an unexpected visitor – Antolina.

Antolina is from a nearby village called Las Pavas, about fifteen minutes away from Copan Ruinas. Antolina came to us desperate for help – she was escaping an abusive partner, who is also the father of her newborn son, four-month-old baby Sergio.

She was living in a house provided by her employer, the owner of a coffee farm, where she cut coffee for a living and earned about $25 per week, barely enough to get by. She shared the house with her partner, mother-in-law, and her 4-year-old son, Jose Luis.

In a hurry, she grabbed all she could carry along with her baby and headed to Copan Ruinas – without any money or plan – because she just had to get away from her abuser. A stranger on the street told her about Casita Copan.

She came to us looking for a safe place to drop off her baby since she could not provide for him. She had lost so much weight from the continuous trauma she experienced that she did not produce breastmilk; and formula is very expensive. Sergio is very much underweight for his age.

We know it is crucial for a child to spend the first year of their life bonding with their primary caregiver. Our main goal was, and still is, for Antolina to keep her child. She wanted to give him away not because she did not care about him, but because she thought this was her only option. It is a common predicament for many mothers in Honduras, especially those who are leaving abusive situations.

This is not the first time Antolina has experienced incredible hardship. Her first born-daughter passed away at one-and-a-half years old. She was referred to a specialist in Santa Rosa de Copan, a town three hours away by car, but Antolina could not afford to travel and pay for a doctor there. In the end she had no choice but to try to take care of her daughter herself; which ended tragically. Her second son, Jose Luis, is currently still living on the coffee farm. Antolina told us that she really misses him.

Thanks to our emergency fund, we have been able to help Antolina out with one month of rent in an apartment here in Copan Ruinas, formula for Sergio, and a safe place to bring Sergio during the day. In exchange, she is working by helping our cook and cleaning staff, while she gets back on her feet. Her goal is to find a permanent job, somewhere she can cook, so she can provide for her baby.

This is the power of general donations; we can be prepared when situations like this arise. We want to thank all our donors who have made it possible for us to be able to help Antolina. If you would like to make a donation to our general fund so that we are always prepared to help mothers like Antolina, you may do so here.

If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to send an email to [email protected]