This is a follow up to my blog of January 2015 when I wrote about the sad future that those abandoned babies who were found alive in various places and then put into children’s homes. Sometimes they are fortunate enough to be adopted and raised in a secure family home but many stay in the home until they are 18. As soon as they reach that age they are told to leave the home and care for themselves.
The sadness and lack of future love was really brought home to me when my domestic worker, Lungi, told me that she was taking in an 18-year old girl who was in her daughter’s cottage in a children’s home. Mpume had to leave and had no family to go to. Lungi has a firm belief that no child should be without a family so she and her husband accepted this abandoned child into their home as their grandchild. As I mentioned in my earlier blog, Mpume was slightly mentally challenged and had attended a school for the disabled so does not have an academic qualification with which she can find employment. What she did excel at was sport, in particular Netball. In fact, she was chosen to play in the SA inter-schools competition.
Then she turned 18 and was too old for school and the Home. It seemed that she was going to be fortunate and live in a loving Christian home with Lungi and her family. She went there in January 2015 and it was arranged for her to go to a trade school near her new home but this lasted only a few months as the cost was beyond the family’s means.
In the meantime I contacted 3 radio programmes and 2 magazines to try and get the issue of these children highlighted and also to, hopefully, get some sponsorship for her to continue her netball career. I got no response from either of the magazines, one of the radio programmes said that they would follow up if they found a sponsor while the other 2 indicated that they were very keen to interview the family as this is a serious social issue in South Africa. A year later and there has been no interview or even a discussion on the issue of abandoned children.
A few months ago Lungi came to me very sad and forlorn. Mpume was bored at home each day even though she was not there alone. Her “grandfather” (Lungi’s husband) is retired, 2 of Lungi’s daughters-in-law and her physically & mentally challenged son were all there but she wanted to go out and do things with her ‘friends’. Unfortunately these friends have proved to be mainly male and not very stable. Although the family tried very hard to integrate her into their home Mpume wanted fun and had no knowledge of how to behave in this situation. There was no Counsellor or Social Worker to help her or the family which so desperately wanted to care for her.
One day she came in and said that she is pregnant and Grandpa Justus said that she must leave their house. He had had enough and she must now get her friends and the father of the baby to look after her. This may seem harsh but there are other children in the house who they do not want influenced by her behaviour. I know that it has broken their hearts to close the door on her but a year of stress has proven to be all that they can take.
So at birth Mpume was abandoned by her mother, at 18 she has been abandoned by the State and now this loving family has had to ask her to leave because they get no support and she is causing problems in their home. Is it really surprising that morals and responsibilities are becoming a thing of the past?
If this is what has happened to 1 abandoned baby 19 years later what happens to those who do not have the opportunity she had? The saddest part is that there is no counselling fro these children so they do not know how to integrate into society. Also, what will happen to her baby?