Pregnant at 10
Her tiny little hands scooped up her sleeping baby and pressed her to her chest, tightly wrapping her in her warm baby blanket. She gently wiped her little fingers across her baby’s forehead and whispered, “hush, hush, little baby” as she rocked her back to sleep. Then, she kissed her on the forehead and tucked her sweetly back in to her crib, just like a good mama would do. Her baby blanket is an old towel from my closet, and her crib a cardboard box that was on it’s way to the trash. Her baby was a thrift store find, that became one of her favorites to play mommy with.
My Joselyn is 8 years old. I love to watch her motherly instincts as she tends to all of her baby dolls. Following right along, watching her every move is her little 3 year old sister, Valentina. You see, Joselyn spent the first 7 years of her life being a mother to her siblings, taking care of their every need. She tended to them when they were sick, searched for food, gave her portions when they were still hungry, cleaned them, and comforted them when the angry hands of their birthmother lashed out. She tended to their wounds, and did her best to protect them from all the dangers that were around them. She came home to us in May 2017, and now she gets to learn to be a kid. It’s not been easy for my little mama. Even 17 months later, her mothering nature will kick in and I’ll have to gently remind her that I’m the mama. With that sweet, innocent, precious little heart of hers, she smiles at me and says, “Yes Mama. I know,” and with that relinquishes her position to me.
(Joselyn leaned in to me and whispered, "Mommy never forget me." This child that was once forgotten, now surrounded by so much love, still at times needs to be reminded that she's home. She belongs. Forever.)
I can’t even begin to describe the love I have for this child, for all of my children of course. But, this story is about Jos. She got to come home. She’s safe now. She will never have to fear the dangers of the streets, starvation, abuse, and the feeling of being alone or abandoned. And, as much as I know this child will someday be an incredible mother, she won’t have to be one any time soon. But, that’s not the case for all the little girls who have grown up like our Joselyn.
Right now, I have several girls we’ve received in our safe home in Peru who were rescued from human trafficking. They are between the ages of 11-13 years old, and they are pregnant.
I have a 12 year old in the hospital who gave birth via Cesarean because of her age. Then, I have an 11 year old who is due in December, another (11 years old) due in March and a 12-year-old due in August. There was another girl who came to us (age 12) that was pregnant, but tests confirmed that just before we received her someone had given her “jungle herbs” to abort the baby.
The girls didn’t deserve this life. It’s not fair. It’s horrible what they have gone through. They need healing in every area of their lives. This journey will not be easy. But, I’m glad that they were brought to us, and I’m grateful we get the opportunity to help them in the journey of becoming whole.
I’ve had a few people ask what will happen to the girls and their babies. As of right now, the plan is for them to stay together. There are no other homes for young mothers or girls. We are it. We’ve had a few families ask about adopting the girls and their babies. I can’t give anyone a solid answer to this question, yet. We are the first home in the area to take trafficked girls – this is new territory. But, I can tell you that we are working with the local government agencies to receive permission to facilitate adoptions. THIS is what I want to see happen with all of my heart! THIS will be the answer for many of these girls. In the meantime, if you are interested, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and asked to be put on the notification list for adoptions from Peru. Once the program is open, we will send you more info.
For now, the girls are safe with us and we are doing all we can to turn their lives around. It’s not easy. They’ve come from a very dark world in to a new world of people who are trying to bring them back to the light. It’s confusing and foreign to them. Please pray for the girls and those on our team who are working day and night to rehabilitate them. This will be a long journey.
In addition to the mother’s to be, we have other children in our home of different ages, babies and pre-teens. We really need help. We have no clothing for the girls because we’ve not been able to get any donations in by container or volunteers yet. So, we have to purchase clothing, which is an extra expense to our budget. Special formulas for the babies, medicine, Doctors visits, food, educational materials, etc. Just the other day I had to pay a welder to put in another security gate for the girls protection. It adds up and day by day you never know what may come our way. In addition, we pay salaries to our staff. Their salaries are minimal – they meet the standard wages for this region. For example, our tutors, cooks, security, etc. make the minimum wage of $350 per month. In all, at this time, our budget ranges approximately $7,000 a month. We have capacity to care for up to 30 girls in the home.
Every day I wish I could do better, do more, have more, give more to these girls. I won’t ever let my heart become comfortable knowing that there are so many girls like the ones now in our care, who are on the streets or forced in to a life they never asked for. Their plight consumes me. I answered a call that has saturated every area of my thoughts, motives, and ideas. These children are always on my mind. I’m not complaining about carrying this burden, I’m honored, but it’s heavy. My sweet Joselyn is 8. I love her so much. A lump forms in my throat every time I think of what her life would have been had God not brought her home to us. Would she be just like one of these 11 year olds, pregnant, scared, and trapped in a dangerous life? It’s very likely. Not likely. Certain.
I can’t bring them all home, but I wish I could. I’ll never be able to recruit enough families to adopt them all. This is the harsh realty of this work. But, when I take my last breath, I want to know that I tried with all my heart to save as many as I could.
Will you help me, please?
In the fight until the end,