July 10, 2007

Abandoned by their mother

abandoned children, HondurasFrancis caring for her newborn sister
All photos: La Prensa, Honduras

July 6: While her 10-year-old daughter Francis waited outside, Reyna Isabel Romero went into the hospital to give birth. She entered the waiting room at 4 p.m. and registered under a false name. A few minutes later, she gave birth to a daughter in the restroom. She came out bloody and told the nurses what had happened.

abandoned newborn, HondurasShe was taken to the recuperation room with the baby. Leaving her newborn naked on the bed, she told the other women in the room that she was going to get some clothes for the baby but she never returned.

At midnight, a female hospital security guard encountered Francis crying in a corner of the hospital, fearing that something had happened to her mother. The security guard took her home because the girl had had nothing to eat or drink the entire day.

Looking for the mother the following day, it was discovered that she had abandoned both children. Francis commented that, with the new baby, there were 11 children in the house. "But I don't want to go back because my mama doesn't treat me well. My father doesn't live with us; he abandoned us when we were little," said the child.

"I don't want to be separated from her," Francis said as she was feeding the baby with a bottle. She said that she had been in the 4th grade in school but her mother took her out of school to work. Her hope is that she and her baby sister can be put in a decent home together.

The director of the hospital manifested his concern that babies are abandoned daily in the hospital.

Honduras mother who abandoned daughtersJuly 8: Reyna Isabel Romero, 33, returned to the hospital saying that it wasn't her intention to abandon her daughters. It seems that no one knew Reyna was pregnant except Francis. Luis Alonso Mejía, her compañero de hogar (companion of the house, common law husband) said that Reyna returned home and prepared his dinner on Friday like normal, saying that the hospital had given her an IV for her stomachache.

Asking where Francis was, Reyna answered that she had lost her and would look for her on Saturday. It wasn't until Sunday that she showed him the newspaper article and confessed the truth. Mejía, who is wheelchair bound and sustains his family by begging from cars at the streetlights, says he doesn't understand why Reyna would hide her pregnancy from him.

"I didn't want to abandon them. I went to look for Francis because I remembered that she hadn't eaten. When I couldn't find her, I went home to see if she was there," expressed the mother. "I registered under my sister-in-law's name because I don't have an ID card. I didn't come back Saturday because I had to sweep the streets. If I didn't, I would be left without a job."

La Prensa reported that communication with Reyna was difficult because she has auditory problems. They reported that of the 11 children, only two live with her and the rest live with relatives. (Different than was reported the previous day.)

Honduran fatherJuly 9: The Fiscalía took custody of Francis, her 5-year-old sister Marisol, and her newborn sister.

"Don't take my daughters! Perhaps the crime is to be poor!" cried Mejía, the father.

Reyna stated that she had to work and that she didn't know that she was pregnant. She also stated that of her 11 pregnancies, six were alive, two died from illnesses, and three were aborted, forced by her ex-husband who mistreated her. (Yet a different story.) After hearing the declaration of the mother, the social worker determined that further investigation is needed.

Francis cried, repenting that she had denounced her mother.

The full articles can be read by clicking on the dates above.

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