In the darkness, light shines
Widows, Orphans, and Children | Print
Sometimes, it is dark here—really dark. We see a lot of pain and a lot of evil. There are times when we think we have seen the worst, only to be proven wrong. Yet even then, there are glimpses of hope and in the darkness, light shines.
Sukanya’s* story is one such tale. A family member abused her and then passed her around to be abused by others. By a long and twisted road, she came to us. Sometimes, she is lucid, smart and eloquent. At other times, she retreats to repetitive nonsense and even violence.
When she came to us, Sukanya was pregnant and it was a fight to protect both her and the life growing inside her. That life, understandably, she did not want and tried to end. Private (nicer) hospitals are weary of pending legal cases like hers, and that issue combined with her mental condition and pregnancy meant she had to receive treatment in a government hospital. Due to self-inflicted wounds during her pregnancy, our staff spent many days and nights by her side, sharing her narrow metal bed inside the women’s ward. As our counselor said, “It is like we are all expecting with her.”
At 3 a.m. on Nov. 2, more than 36 hours after her water broke, Sukanya delivered “Baby Esther” by emergency C-section. The little girl became a new life—or light—in the midst of darkness.
The hospital was not equipped to feed this little life for which we fought. Thankfully, we were directed to a pediatrician who told us what formula to buy. (And yes, we had tried to prepare for this earlier, but we had been told to wait.) Don rushed home for boiled water. A dear friend came to assist. The little one ate. Light shone.
The baby, healthy and whole, was delivered to Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity early the next morning, as was originally planned and per the Child Welfare Committee’s (CWC) order. We later learned her sudden delivery in the middle of the night was a blessing because it allowed us to place the child safely in the Sisters’ hands before senior staff at the hospital arrived for the day.
Despite the order from the CWC, hospital leadership was furious that the baby had been handed over and demanded she be brought back, threatening to file police charges against us. One of our staff was visiting the Sisters to see the baby when we received this news. The Sisters made a call to a friend, a man who volunteers at their ministry, who also happened to be a Deputy Inspector General of Police. When he heard the story and learned we had an order from the CWC, he advised the Sisters not to take the baby back with them to the hospital. Just when we needed it, help came. Light shone.
After intense discussions, including threats, demands and accusations, it became clear there was more at stake than just the welfare of the baby. A representative from another organization soon arrived to claim her, but she was thankfully still safe with the Sisters of Charity. Don and the Sisters then went to the police station to resolve the matter. There, our case was quickly reviewed, and police clearly determined the law was on our side. A second call to the DIG was made, and the case was closed. Justice was served, and the best interests for two little girls triumphed that day. Light shone.
Trafficking. Abuse. Greed. Corruption. We learn more and more that this work is messy. We learn to recognize and count the small blessings. Sometimes, it seems like we take two steps forward and one step back. Sukanya’s perpetrators were arrested. Frustratingly, one has been released. Yet, we have recently made contact with a local, likeminded legal organization that will provide counsel for our girls. They will push forward on Sukanya’s case and work to that both of these men tried. Light shines.
Sukanya has recovered from her surgery and is receiving care at the psychiatric ward of the hospital. Our staff is receiving a needed break from round-the-clock hospital shifts. We had been told that longer-term care facilities for minors with psychological problems like hers do not exist. However, we have finally found one such place. We visited, and it is better than we dared to hope. We have plans to transfer her there this week, where we are hopeful she can receive loving care and treatment, and we can visit her. Light shines.
Sometimes, we see the worst of humanity, but we see the best of the Lord because of it; here, we experience the very heart of God.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because He has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Lk. 4:18-19)
Light shines, and it triumphs.
We wish you all a very merry Christmas from 7 Sisters Home to yours!