I was incredulous. Could nothing else be worked out? Will she just leave him at Seeds of Hope during the day and come get him at night?
No. This is it for this mother and her very small son. He will live here now.
As it turns out, this is the case for many of the children not only at Seeds of Hope but also at the other children's homes in Indonesia. There is no free public education here, so a parent's best hope of helping their child have a better life than they do, is to send them to a children's home where they will be sent to school. The education costs for the children at Seeds of Hope are paid for by a church in Ohio somewhere...
Okay. So the parents can come visit their children here? Do they come often?
No. They can't afford the transportation. But at Seeds of Hope they try to take the children to see their parents twice a year.
Sigh. Sigh. So different from anything we can imagine.
I asked Sandra how the children adjust. It is as you might expect. It is very hard for them at first. But Sandra said she tells the children that she loves them, and that they will be able to get an education, and eventually they are okay.
As she and I were talking, I heard this new child crying. And crying. The mother had left. Sandra directed one of the older girls (did I mention that Sandra had a stroke several years ago and is herself disabled?) to go get the little guy. I watched her carry him around for a little while, and then bring him to the table to join the other children who were cutting colorful paper.
Free public education. What a concept.