3 Solutions to The Problem of Motherless Children
One third of African American families are living impoverished lives, and many don’t show it. People of color are very good at hiding their imminent eviction or inability to find consistent work. No one wants to declare themselves poor.
This is why saying one feels “whole and complete,” despite what’s in the bank account, is a revolutionary stand.
Unfortunately, this stand for feeling whole, complete and holistically healthy is not held by the majority.
In fact, the pernicious effects of the malnourishment of body-mind-spirit manifest themselves in behaviors that reveal the emotional state of desperation. Self-medication through alcohol and drugs, and seeking love and familial relationships through sex and gangs, are just two ways of negative coping that are killing children, parents and families.
However, as scripture says, None despairs the mercy of the Creator except disbelievers.
MOTHERLESS CHILDREN SOLUTION
To rectify the situation, you want to accept the issue of motherless children as a treatable concern. Conditions in the community you came from –not necessarily where you live now– are crying out for healing. Since you came from there, you have an inkling what can be done and may want to honor that inkling or thought.
Generally, here’s what people who believe are doing:
- Answering the call of children crying out for help.
- Assuming the role of parents; that is, their nurturing, nourishing, guiding and disciplinary roles.
- Making themselves available as a resource to resolve the causes of motherless children. (see below)
Sounds like adoption, doesn’t it? Adoption is a viable and positive. However, these three steps can come before adoption, and adoption need not occur if these three steps are taken seriously and with constancy.
NOT ADOPTION BUT MOTHERING
All this comes to mind because a fellow believer-sister visited me as part of a planning meeting (to introduce the Cherish product). She had to answer the phone every 10 minutes because her 14-year old niece was babysitting her “new” six-year-old, who was not feeling well and very needy.
We listened as she coached the teenager to act like a babysitter instead of a “perplexed playmate.” The niece acts like age 10 instead of 14, so she needs help too.
The child has been with her one year. A series of dramas resulted in her driving 2 hours to pick up the child and her mother in what amounted to a rescue from a murderous situation. The father is in jail for murder. The mother is recovering from addiction.
The child stayed with my friend’s family for awhile after the rescue, and then was returned to her mother, where she stayed for six months. It didn’t work out. The child insisted on being returned to her “real mommy.” She’s declared she’s never going to live with birth mommy again.
The little one learned behaviors like manipulation and emotional blackmail that she tries to use on my sister with heart but, Not. The child shall unlearn them. My friend has some help from her husband and grown daughters in their 20s (who are out of the house). She has enough love. She calls the 6-year-old “my god-daughter.” Nothing could be truer.
MY MOTHERLESS CHILD STORY
A young woman in high school had just given birth to twins in the hospital, and they died. She had been adopted by a family but didn’t abide by their rules so was kicked out of her home for being pregnant and unmarried. She had nowhere to go.
The father of her twins was my spouse’s nephew. Hubby asked me if she could stay with us. We had the room so I said, Yes of course. There was no thinking about it. The young lady would need one more year before graduating from high school, then she could possibly be on her own. My two were 12 (girl) and 10 (boy). I felt we could do this. I couldn’t fathom what was ahead, and didn’t need to.
This was 20 years ago. It was a tumultuous ride and there is a happy ending. The young lady attended a special high school for hard-to-reach teens. She had animus for her adoptive family and for the nephew who now betrayed her. She was counseled at every turn.
We had high expectations and did all we could to let her know her choices were her own and could affect not only herself but the world. In the end, she did well in high school and completed. However, we had a nasty, almost come-to-blows process on her last day of staying with us. Thus, she excelled in school, was filled with rage in how she related to us and authorities, and we put her out.
IF YOU’VE BEEN ONE…
Fast forward to today. We reconnected even before Facebook and I could see my “niece” had greatly matured. I was thankful and so was she. She has a son by a man she met while living at our house. They still live together. She named her son after our grandson. She fondly remembers being at our house and apologizes for the way she acted that wasn’t righteous.
Now, she is being asked to mother the daughter of her mate, and her response is, NO, I can’t. She cannot see herself mothering a hard-to-manage child, what with her son needing help to finish high school and get into college, and her man not being able to help as much as he promised (financially).
Meanwhile, dad wants to save his daughter from the clutches of her mother’s addictive behavior. He was tricked into impregnating her, and he did it while with my niece. Alas, the 13-year-old has also learned manipulative techniques that threaten my niece’s relationship with her man.
Her son resents his “new” sister. And my niece can’t allow herself to mother this teen because it would deeply sadden her son and be an extra financial and nurturing burden on her. Example: her man brings the daughter’s dirty clothes home for washing. My girl refuses and puts them right back in the car.
He has started staying out all night, ostensibly to father his daughter. Who knows? She doesn’t, and is very unhappy. She can’t take the daughter’s weekend visits. The stress has caused severe stomach problems (cannot digest change) and she’s been hospitalized three times. Her son is very worried. Late one night, I drove 40 minutes to be with her and did a 2-hour session using everything I had.
She needs ongoing help, loves God and keeps praying. Please pray with us.
Meanwhile, what solutions do you see for this level of generational trauma? How can we change this aspect of women’s history in this month dedicated to women?
–Rev. Niamo Nancy Muid
* No. 3 is really augmented by refusing to let cable television, entertainment, Internet and public school teachers be the dominant teacher of children.