May 9, 2007

"I don't want them to take him, he is my son"

Moisés and Norma Carías
Photos: La Prensa, Honduras

On November 1, 2004, a newborn baby, still attached to the umbilical cord, was placed inside various plastic bags and dumped into a vacant lot covered with trash near a junk yard in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The will to live provoked his loud cries. The noise was initially thought to be a cat by some nearby workers, but later they investigated the noise and he was saved.

Continuing his good fortune, the baby, named Angel Moisés by the nurses at the hospital, was placed with a loving madre solidaria (foster mother) at two months of age. Norma Carías has cared for Moisés as if he were her own.

In the seven years that she has offered her home and services as a madre solidaria, she has cared for 17 children. Doña Norma has provided food, clothes, shoes, and medical care for all of these children, but she grew to love Moisés as her own. "I don't know what happened with Moisés, he is special."

Norma has been informed that Moisés soon will be taken away for adoption. "He's the first baby that I was given and he'll be the last. To him I gave everything that a child could need and now I don't want them to take him." Although it is against the rules, she is hoping for a miracle that she will be allowed to be his adoptive mother.

Moisés is very attached to his mother and is shy even around other members of the household. He has slept in her bed since he was a baby. Norma worries about how he will adapt to a new home and new parents. "If he can't stay with me, I am willing to let the adoptive parents stay in my house, at least two weeks, so that he can adapt to them." She even would permit the couple to use her own bed so that Moisés could learn to accept them.

Of the tens or maybe hundreds of thousands of orphaned, abandoned or abused Honduran children who need homes, why has this one child, who is one of the lucky few to be have spent his entire life in a decent, loving family home, been picked for adoption? The majority of children are never adopted and instead spend their entire childhood in miserable centers until they are 18 at which time they are kicked out onto the streets to fend for themselves.

And why now? Moisés is 2 1/2 years old. Why wasn't he adopted as a baby so that he would never know the anguish of being taken away from the only mother he has known?

The Rest of the Story:

This is purely my supposition, but it would take a lot for me to believe otherwise. Norma Carías is the same woman who I mentioned in The Baby has a baby article. She is the woman who spoke out loudly against IHNFA (Honduran child and family agency), denouncing the mistreatment, suffering, and lack of basic necessities that these children receive in the IHNFA state run centers. So now IHNFA is taking this child away from her.

This is the kind of thing that happens in Honduras. Norma Carías spoke the truth to the authorities of IHNFA and more importantly the media, and may have been at least part of the catalyst for the recent government investigation of IHNFA. The scandals have been reported in the newspaper almost daily. And now she is being punished.

That is the way things work in Honduras. People who denounce the wrongdoings of the government, the corruptos, the police, and big business get punished in order to stop them and to make sure that the next person who would speak out will think twice. Often they are murdered, sometimes they lose their property or their job, sometimes they go to jail, but they surely will be punished in some manner.

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