Thursday, October 22, 2009

Raphael's Story

A few weeks ago we got a new baby at the orphanage. We called him Raphael because like many of our children he was abandoned and we knew almost nothing about him. He was about six months old and seemed to be healthy. I found it funny that he could practically stand on his own but if someone tried to get him to sit he would just flop over. Raphael is a good baby and he quickly adapted to life at the orphanage.

Then after about two weeks, a women came to the orphanage and said she was Raphael's mother. According to her she "went mad" and was taken to a psychiatric hospital. Two weeks later she was discharged from the hospital and went home to her family. However, when she got home the baby was gone. Her husband is an alcoholic and apparently he did not want to take care of a baby so he just abandoned the baby. She started frantically searching for her son, not even knowing if he was still alive. Eventually a neighbor told her that a baby had been taken to our orphanage. When she arrived at St. Albertos, she didn't know if that baby was he son or not. When she was reunited with Raphael, I could see the relief, joy, regret, and love on her face. She spent the entire day with him. The next day the police released Raphael into his mother's custody and he left the orphanage.

No mother should have to face the pain and anguish of not knowing where her child is or if her baby is even alive. My heart went out to this women, as she described the whole ordeal. Yet at the same time, I worried about Raphael's future. What happens if she is hospitalized again? Will he be neglected by his father again? The police wanted to question the father but he refused to come in for fear of being sent to prison, which I think is exactly what he deserves. When the mother left with Raphael, he took the clothes on his back and we provided a blanket and jacket because he didn't have one. I wondered how many other things this family will do without. Raphael has survived so much in his young life and he will probably have many more obstacles to face in the future. All I can do is wish him well and hope for the best.

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