Yesterday afternoon at the children’s home I had the privilege of observing a young father with his infant son. During visitation hours most of the visitors are women, so I’m always intrigued when a father comes. After a few short minutes watching Marco* play with Francisco*, it was obvious to me that Marco cared a great deal for his son. Most dads stand awkwardly by their child’s crib and pet them like they’re visiting a puppy at an animal shelter. Not Marco. He laughed, played and cuddled his son. While Francisco napped, Marco put him down and played with the other babies.
After spending the entire afternoon observing their interactions and how Marco tried to make sure the other kids felt included and loved on, I started wondering why Francisco is even at the children’s home. Marco may be young, but he definitely “gets” being a dad. He even hung around to change Francisco’s diaper and dress him in his PJs. When visitation hours ended, I asked the caregiver if she knew anything about his story.
Francisco is almost four months old; born the week I was due to have Silas. His mother didn’t want him, so he was sent directly to the children’s home. Four of the six babies living at the home now have had this experience: they were born, unwanted by their mothers, sent to the home and have never been visited by the women who carried them for nine months. It’s a horribly sad phenomenon I can’t even begin to understand.
Marco works in a mine. In many cases, including Marco’s, working in a mine means working for seven days straight, followed by seven days off. Some miners in our city work a couple of hours away, while others work in mines that are eight to twelve hours away. It’s a good job for a single fellow and it’s a half-way decent arrangement for a man with a family. The seven days away are definitely hard, but the seven days off are a really good chance to spend uninterrupted amounts of time with one’s wife and children.
You probably see where this is going.
Since Francisco’s mother wants nothing to do with him and his father works in a mine, there is no other option but for him to live in the foster home. Jobs are hard to come by, and working in the mine is likely one of Marco’s only options for work. If he were to quit his job, his inability to provide for his son would ensure Francisco’s continued residence at the home. Marco is currently trying to solve his job situation and work out some kind arrangement that would involve his sister helping to care for Francisco. While he figures it out, though, Francisco will remain in the care of the state.
Marco is a rarity among the fathers I normally see visiting their children. He is a loving, caring dad who deserves the chance to raise his son. Please join me in praying for these two—that somehow they’ll be able to live as a family.
*Names changed to protect privacy