For several weeks now we have been tentatively scheduled to get a new baby here at The Pines. We are currently at our capacity of 24 children, but considering the situation we thought we could make an exception for this case. The lady who operates the daycare in the building where we meet for church, Anne, has been fostering this baby for the last 6 months, along with the baby’s mother.
The mother, Ntabeleng, is 14 years old and from Lesotho. We are not sure how she ended up in this area, but we do know that the reason she became pregnant with this little baby is because she was raped by her own father. He is now currently in prison but she is scheduled to be deported back to Lesotho. She doesn’t want the baby, for obvious reasons, and Anne was adamant to the social workers that the baby be raised in a Christian home. She is the one trying to pull the strings to get the baby placed at The Pines.
We have known of this situation for several months and have agreed to take baby Annah. In the meantime, Brian & Lois received a phone call early one Sunday morning from a “social worker” in Hani Park. They asked if we could take a 4 month old baby because the parents couldn’t be located and the neighbors claimed the baby had been abandoned.
The Niehoffs, along with a couple team members along and Okuhle to help interpret, made a trip to Hani Park that morning. You may remember that this is one of the roughest living areas around Welkom. When they arrived they soon discovered that they would be hoofing it around as the roads/paths mixed with recent rains had become completely untenable. Surprisingly, the directions they had received were coherent enough that they were able to locate the house fairly quickly.
Upon arrival they learned that the mother had been living with her boyfriend, who is the baby’s father, and the boyfriend had beaten her badly enough to put her in the hospital. That is why the baby had been left alone in the shack. The father was nowhere to be found, shockingly enough. Seems like that is the story of South Africa right now.
Brian & Lois agreed to take Zakhona for the time being until things could be sorted out. Obviously, when situations like these come up our long-term hope is to be able to keep the child, but you never can tell what will happen as the details are sorted out.
Throughout the following week Lois worked diligently to get the details sorted out, and we learned that not everything was as it appeared. When she contacted the social offices she found out that the woman who claimed to be a social worker was actually just posing as one in order to get the baby to us. Apparently our cards are being passed around the community as a good place for children to be cared for. While we appreciate the good reputation it isn’t ideal if it will lead to fake social workers trying to put random babies with us.
Lois was able to confirm that the mother had indeed been beaten by the baby’s father. What she wasn’t able to do is locate the mother. She had been discharged from the hospital and was nowhere to be found, at least for several days. After she was finally tracked down we learned that she hails from the Eastern Cape, a province about 6 hours away from here. Apparently she has a husband in the Eastern Cape but has no idea where he is. Eventually, it was determined that she would be leaving her boyfriend and returning to the E.C. to live with her family.
After having baby Zakhona for two weeks Brian & Lois returned her to her mother. At this point the police had gotten involved and it was agreed that the baby wouldn’t be given back to the mother until she was at the bus station. Brian & Lois, along with Wendy – the team member who had been caring for Zakhona for the past two weeks – brought the baby and items for her care to the bus station, then waited until the mother and baby were on the bus and it left the station. The police were concerned that she would attempt to stay in the area and return to her boyfriend.
Situations like this are difficult, but at times like this you trust in the sovereign will and power of God. A week after we got baby Zakhona, baby Annah arrived at The Pines. She is adjusting nicely and it seems that she will be here for quite a long time. We trust that God brought her to us in order to do a mighty work for His name.